RBI Chicago, Dominicana advance after big wins

RBI Chicago, Dominicana advance after big wins

RBI Chicago, Dominicana advance after big wins
MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL -- Saturday's RBI World Series Interleague Playoffs saw tremendous pitching performances across the Twin Cities. None were more impressive than the one turned in by Jalen Davis for the Chicago White Sox Junior Division club.

Davis threw a one-hitter against RBI Atlanta, helping Chicago grab a 5-0 victory and advance to Sunday's 2012 Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities World Series Junior Division Championship against RBI Dominicana at Target Field at 10:30 a.m. ET.

The White Sox needed a 6-4 win over Harrisburg earlier in the day to reach the semifinal against Atlanta.

Chicago coach Antwoine Brown said he saw the Atlanta lineup struggle in an earlier game when they faced a left-hander with a good changeup. He utilized a similar approach with his own lefty, Davis, who struck out three, walked just one, and had a no hitter through 6 1/3 innings.

"They're a very good fastball-hitting team," Brown said. "Offspeed pitches, I knew would throw them off. [Davis'] fastball's pretty hot, but we were working off all the offspeed stuff."

Atlanta pitcher Chad Smith kept Chicago off-balance and his team in the game through five innings, limiting the Sox to a 2-0 lead. But Chicago broke out in the sixth.

Smith walked two, hit two batters, and allowed a single all in the sixth, letting Chicago score three additional runs to distance themselves.

"We grinded it out, nobody hit that guy [Smith] hard," Brown said. "The guys had seen him a few times and he started to wear down a little bit. He lost a little velocity. He had them a little off-balance in the beginning of the game, but they started to catch onto him a little later."

The Dominican Republic side continued its quest for a third-consecutive RBI title with two explosive offensive performances, taking a 10-0 win and a 15-5 win over Jersey City RBI and Venice Boys & Girls Club, respectively.

Cristian Encarnacion Guzman led the charge, going a combined 3-for-7 with a home run and 3 RBIs in Saturday's two games. He enters Sunday's game hitting .429 with three doubles and a 1.357 OPS through his five games in the RBI World Series.

• Chaos was the order of the day in the Senior Division. None of the four top-seeded teams won their quarterfinal matchups, and were all eliminated from the tournament.

Bradenton (Fla.) and Jackie Robinson RBI (Jersey City, N.J.) were the sole survivors and will meet in Sunday's Championship Game at 2 p.m. ET at Target Field. The game will be streamed live on MLB.com.

Both clubs needed quarterfinal wins against top-seeded Arizona and Chicago before reaching the semifinals. From there, Bradenton and Jackie Robinson advanced to the Title Game with 4-2 wins over Think Detroit PAL and Houston.

The seeds were determined by the teams' performances in three round robin games played Thursday and Friday. But veteran Detroit coach Mark Brown -- whose team took a 3-2 win over second-seeded Venezuela before falling to Bradenton -- said the seeding is almost irrelevant.

"That's not surprising," Brown said. "It's like that here in the RBI World Series -- nothing goes according to plan. Seeding, you can just throw that out the window once the playoffs start."

To Brown's point, the advancing Bradenton and Jackie Robinson teams went a combined 1-5 in their round-robin games on Thursday and Friday.

"Pool play is fine," Brown said. "It's about getting your feet wet, getting confidence, and getting used to playing in this environment. But the tournament starts on Saturday, when elimination comes into play."

Jordan Garretson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.