Mo’Ne Davis, a 13-year-old from Philadelphia, led her Little League baseball team to the World Series by striking out six batters on Sunday with her amazing pitching skills. Her fellow players are male, and she’ll be only the 18th girl to play in the Little League World Series, which will take place in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Davis, who plays for the Taney Youth Baseball Association, can pitch a 70-mph fastball.
Girls have only been allowed to participate in the Little League World Series since 1974. Just one other girl will play in this year’s Series, Emma March of Canada’s South Vancouver league. This is the third time two girls have played in the Series at once, and both March and Davis will make their first showing at the World Series this Friday on ESPN.
Davis is an honor roll 8th grader and has played for a travel baseball team since she was 7. In a climate that pressures girls to switch over to softball teams before they become teenagers, Davis has held strong and shown her teammates that baseball is the only game for her. It’s often mistakenly assumed that softball is essentially the same as baseball, and while softball has plenty of merits (including its own Little League World Series), the two sports are hardly identical. Girls who love baseball rarely have female leagues to join and often have to fight their way onto all-male teams. Even after being allowed to play, these young women may frequently have to justify their presence on the team.
Davis and March stand as awesome public proof that girls can play right alongside the boys — and excel at it. While it’s not fair that Davis carries the pressure of representing all young women in baseball, a lot of sports fans seem to see her that way. The good news is that she’s an awesome role model and totally cut out for the job. Hopefully, in a more equal future, a token trailblazing female on a sports team won’t be the big news that it is today. Even if you’re not a baseball fan, it might be worth switching on ESPN to see these two ladies take the field this weekend!