The summer of 2014 has been an eventful one in the world of sports, with the World Cup and NBA free agency dominating the national headlines. One of the biggest stories of the season, though, surrounds Mo’ne Davis, the female Little League World Series player who has taken the country by storm.
Davis pitches for the Taney Dragons, the South Philadelphia team that has reached the semifinals of the tournament in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The team is one defeat away from elimination, following a loss on Wednesday in which Davis started. No matter how the Little League World Series ends for the 13-year-old pitcher, she’s made a lasting impression during her time in the spotlight.
Less than two weeks ago, Davis became a media sensation when her shutout sent the Philadelphia team to the Little League World Series. She really burst onto the scene when she started her team’s first 2014 Little League World Series game. She was utterly dominant against Tennessee, leading her team to a 4-0 victory. In the complete-game six-inning shutout, Davis registered eight strikeouts, allowing just two hits.
As a girl dominating a tournament that’s comprised almost entirely of boys, Davis impressed some of the nation’s top athletes, prompting many of them to tweet their admiration for the teenage star's pitching skills.
â€” Mike Trout (@Trouty20) August 15, 2014
This youngster is striking everybody out and she is a girl. I love it. #itsanewday
â€” Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) August 15, 2014
Forty-two years after Maria Pepe sued to play in the Little League World Series, Davis has become the 18th girl to play in the tournament. She isn’t the first to play with the boys, and this year was joined by Canada’s Emma March, but Davis stands out because of just how good she’s been. Davis is also a charismatic figure due to her charm in interviews and her unique hand gesture following a strikeout.
Davis has a fastball that flies as fast as 70 mph, which is the equivalent of throwing a 92 mph pitch from an MLB mound, considering just 46 feet separates the mound and home plate in the Little League World Series. In addition to her fastball, Davis throws a curveball that most kids her age have no chance of hitting.
America has certainly taken notice of this unique story, as Davis’ last start helped generate record ratings for the Little League World Series on ESPN. While she was pulled after allowing three runs in 2 1/3 innings, her team’s contest with Las Vegas drew a 3.4 rating. In Las Vegas and Philadelphia, the game drew a 16.3 rating and a 14.9 rating, respectively.
It should be interesting to see what the future holds for Davis. While there have been women to make starts in the minor leagues and the Negro leagues, no female has ever participated in an MLB game. Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred has said that he won’t bet against a woman putting on an MLB uniform one day, and former MLB pitcher John Franco told TMZ that he hopes Davis can become the first woman to play in the Majors.
"She's good. She's really good. She's great for baseball."