Excitement is growing for a local little league team not only from the Philadelphia community but nationwide as well, thanks in large part to their star pitcher.
The Taney Dragons became the first Philadelphia team to ever advance to the Little League World Series on Sunday after a dominating 8-0 victory over Newark National from Delaware.
The win was fueled by 13-year-old pitcher Mo’Ne Davis who threw a three-hit, complete game shutout. Davis, who’s been featured on numerous websites as well as the Today Show, will become only the 17th girl to play in the Little League World Series in 68 years.
Despite the praise and attention she’s gotten for her baseball skills, Davis’ mother Lakeisha McLean says she always reminds her that baseball is a team game.
“Mo’Ne and her team did it,” McLean said. “I tell her all the time, ‘you didn’t do it by yourself.’”
McLean also says it’s not just her talent that makes her special but also her attitude.
“I tell her to always be respectful,” McLean said. “You’re representing your team and you’re representing Philadelphia. Just go on the mound and do what you got to do.”
Davis has earned the respect of many for her tremendous performances on the mound, even from some of her opponents.
“I played Mo’Ne Davis and she pitched against me,” said Cam Simms of Center City. “I just struck out every time. She’s the best pitcher and they’re a really good team.”
Lou Cammisa, a local Little League coach, says he sees something special in the young baseball star.
“You just see it when she’s up there on the mound,” Cammisa said. “She has a presence that you see in a lot of boys, that dads hope their sons will have.”
Ellie Benedict, who also plays Little League baseball, says Mo’Ne is an inspiration for her and other girls.
“She’s a very good athlete all around,” Benedict said. “She plays basketball and baseball. I hear she’s actually better at basketball than she is at baseball.”
McLean says her daughter’s goal is to ultimately play basketball for UConn on a full scholarship. She’s confident her daughter will reach that goal.
“When Mo’Ne says she’s gonna do it, she’s gonna do it,” McLean said.
The Dragons arrived in Williamsport on Monday. Their first game is scheduled for Friday at 3 p.m. against the South Nashville team from Tennessee.