One of the best stories of the Little League World Series this year is the Jackie Robinson West squad from Chicago’s South Side that is the first all-black team to reach Williamsport in over a decade. Jackie Robinson West, which is representing the Great Lakes region at the LLWS, might also have the best player in the entire tournament: Pierce Jones.
I happened to be watching Jackie Robinson West’s first game of the tournament Thursday and saw Jones lead off the game with a home run to the right of center field. In his second at-bat, he went with an outside pitch and tripled off the wall in right-center. Then he took a 1-2 pitch up and in and hammered it out to deep left for his second home run of the game. In his fourth at-bat, he tomahawked a high pitch out to left for his third home run.
Jones went 4-for-4 with 3 home runs, a triple and 4 RBIs in his first LLWS game. He was so locked-in, it was like that Barry Bonds feeling — you didn’t want to miss one of his at-bats.
Jones said in an interview after the game that he’d never had a game like this before. It’s hard to believe that. He hit well over .600 at the regionals (I think he was 12-for-16 but can’t remember for certain) and he looks so advanced for his age that he should probably be playing with 16-year-olds. He’s got a long, long way to go in his career, but you can bet now that he’ll be an MLB Draft prospect in six or so years.
No surprise, Jackie Robinson West won their opening game over Pacific Little League of Lynnwood, Wash., 12-2 via the mercy rule. They went 13-for-27 as a team and have clubbed 18 home runs in their past 7 games.