UPDATE: Mo’Ne Davis pitched the first three innings in a losing effort by her team yesterday, but the Taney Dragons have a second chance today against a Chicago team. If they win, they’ll play Las Vegas again, for the U.S. championship, on Saturday–and Davis would probably be the pitcher. You can tune in for today’s game at 4:30 p.m. PST on ESPN.
As we told you last week, there’s a great young 13-year-old baseball player named Mo’Ne Davis who has pitched her team, the Taney Dragons of Philadelphia, into the 2014 Little League World Series. Oh yeah, and she’s a girl, which wouldn’t be such a big deal except so few girls have played in the World Series (18, compared to about 9,000 boys)—and no one has made quite the worldwide splash that Davis has.
In fact, she’s made the cover of the venerable Sports Illustrated—the first Little Leaguer to ever be so honored. Said cover story writer Albert Chen,
She’s a lot of things to a lot of different people, all of them good things: a totem for inner-city baseball, a role model for your 10-year-old niece, a role model for your 10-year-old nephew.
Since we last wrote about her, Davis, her long braids flying, pitched the first shutout ever by a girl at the World Series, staying cool and collected before a large crowd in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. A couple of days later, Davis didn’t pitch (Little League has rules about how often young pitchers can throw), but played third, shortstop and first base, and singled in her team’s first run (the Dragons won in a comeback, 7-6).
Until 40 years ago, Little League was solely a boys’ club. Don’t I know: I was one of those girls in the ’50s and ’60s who played ball in the streets, with Eddie and Keith and Henry, but then could only eat pizza and watch while they played on their Little League teams. One time a foul ball flew over the backstop and I rushed over to retrieve it from the scrub brush and throw it over the screen and onto the field. “Put that girl in Little League!” the announcer said. Greatest moment of my young life.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, at 4:30 PST on ESPN, the Taney Dragons take on Las Vegas, with Davis on the pitching mound again. Even if the Dragons lose, they’ll get a second chance to win another game and get into the U.S. championship game. This coming Sunday, the top U.S. team will play the top international team for the Little League world title.
Around age 15, boys’ testosterone kicks in with enough force to create a strength gap between the sexes. So who knows if Davis will be able to stay even with boys in high school baseball, let alone in college. And she’s a baseball player, folks, not a softball player—don’t expect her to switch to the more-acceptable-for-girls sport.
But not to worry. Her real dream is to play basketball for the University of Connecticut women’s team, long one of the top squads in the nation.
I wouldn’t bet against her.
Michele Kort is senior editor of Ms.