The Philadelphia Phillies RBI and Chicago White Sox RBI teams feature players from the Taney Dragons and Jackie Robinson West, which played each other at the 2014 Little League World Series (LLWS). The game will also be a rematch of the teams' first game of the 2017 RBI World Series, in which Chicago bested Philadelphia in a walk-off, 4-3 victory. However, Philadelphia did hold Chicago, which averaged eight runs per game in the RBI World Series, to their tournament-low of four runs. Mo'ne Davis' tournament pitching stats included a 1-0 record, 9.1 innings pitched and two earned runs. Her 1.50 ERA ranked sixth among ERA-eligible (6 IP) pitchers in the Junior Division. Joe Richardson, another member of the Taney Dragons at the 2014 LLWS, was a standout both on the mound and at the plate. Richardson enters the championship game with an offensive line of a team-leading .467 batting average, 1.233 OPS and three runs scored. In three appearances, Richardson racked up a 1-1 record on 8.1 innings pitched in which he registered an opponent batting average of .161 and an ERA of 0.84 (ranked third in the Junior Division) as well as recording 11 strikeouts (the most in the Junior Division). Chicago's Kendall Ewell registered a team-leading .571 batting average as well as a 1.433 OPS. He tied catcher Brandon Green (.556 batting average, 1.470 OPS, four runs, five stolen bases), a member of Jackie Robinson West at the 2014 LLWS, for the team lead with seven RBI. Chicago pitcher Brandon Tyler heads into the championship game with a 2-0 record on 7.2 innings pitched, in which he registered a 0.91 ERA (ranked fourth in the Junior Division).
Both Nobu Yamauchi RBI, out of Hilo, Hawaii, and Paterson Baseball Federation RBI are competing to earn their city's first RBI World Series championships. The two teams met earlier in the tournament, when Nobu Yamauchi fell to Paterson by a score of 9-2. Paterson is making its second overall appearance, with both of those appearances coming in the senior baseball division. Paterson's Edwin Taveraz racked up a .769 batting average (second highest in the Senior Division) and an OPS of 2.198 on the strength of team-high 10 hits (including two doubles and two home runs), which generated another team-high of six RBI. Paterson's Wilfredo Valenzuela pitched 9.2 innings and recorded 13 strikeouts (tied for most in the Senior Division) and a 0.72 ERA (second lowest in the Senior Division). Hilo is making its first senior division, and third overall baseball, appearance in RBI World Series history. Hilo's Caleb Freitas-Fields hit to the tune of a .500 batting average and a 1.500 OPS. His five RBI was a team-high. David Nakamura appeared three times and recorded 10.2 innings pitched. He finished with a Senior Division-leading 0.66 ERA.
Sharon Robinson - daughter of Jackie Robinson, MLB Educational Programming Consultant, and author - will announce winners of the RBI World Series Breaking Barriers Contest in between Championship Games tomorrow at the P&G Cincinnati MLB Youth Academy.
The RBI World Series is the international baseball and softball championship tournament of Major League Baseball's RBI program, which is designed to provide young people from underserved and diverse
communities the opportunity to play baseball and softball, encourage academic success and teach the value of teamwork. The Cincinnati Reds are hosting the RBI World Series for the second consecutive year. Every baseball team in the 2017 RBI World Series was able to play one game at Great American Ball Park, the home of the Reds. The rest of the games were played at Meinken Park, the P&G Cincinnati MLB Youth Academy, Xavier University's Hayden Field and Withrow High School Field, which was one of the fields renovated as part of the 2015 All-Star Legacy effort between MLB and the Reds.
The RBI program has provided a path for many players to enter the college and professional game. MLB Clubs have drafted over 200 RBI participants throughout the program's 29-year history, and many others have been given the opportunity for higher education through baseball and softball scholarships. There have been more than 75 RBI players selected in the 2013-2017 MLB Drafts. In this year's draft, the Cincinnati Reds drafted both second overall pick Hunter Greene (Venice Boys & Girls Club RBI) and 34-round pick RJ Barnes (Cincinnati Reds RBI). Greene is the second highest selected alumnus of the RBI program (Justin Upton, Norfolk RBI, was selected #1 overall in the 2005 Draft). Barnes, the first player drafted out of both Cincinnati Reds RBI and the P&G Cincinnati MLB Youth Academy, played in the 2017 RBI World Series.
Current Major Leaguers who are alumni of the RBI program include Yovani Gallardo (Seattle Mariners), Chris Iannetta (Arizona Diamondbacks), Nomar Mazara (Texas Rangers), Anthony Rendon (Washington Nationals), CC Sabathia (New York Yankees), Hector Santiago (Minnesota Twins), Steven Souza, Jr. (Tampa Bay Rays), Justin Upton (Detroit Tigers) and Chris Young (Boston Red Sox). Gallardo (Fort Worth RBI - '03) and Mazara (Dominican Republic RBI - '11) have each played in the RBI World Series. NBC News senior food analyst and former White House chef Sam Cass is also an RBI World Series alumnus.The RBI program is administered by Major League Baseball and has served approximately 2 million young people since its inception. RBI currently serves approximately 230,000 young men and women in over 300 programs established in approximately 200 cities worldwide. MLB and its Clubs have designated more than $40 million worth of resources to the RBI program, and all 30 Clubs support RBI leagues.