A 13-year-old girl's fastball is fueling one Philadelphia baseball team's bid to compete for the first time in the Little League World Series.
Mo'Ne Davis threw a three-hitter Sunday to lead Taney Youth Baseball Association Little League of Philadelphia to an 8-0 victory over a squad from Delaware. She will become only the 17th girl to play in the Little League World Series in 68 years.
This is the first time a team from Philadelphia made it to the series, which starts Thursday in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
The Taney Dragons’ star pitcher, who throws a 70 mph fastball, says she initially tried to play softball when she was younger but decided to play with the boys and switch to baseball. Davis says her skills quickly earned her the respect of her male peers.
“I end up striking them out and I look at my teammates and they’re laughing,” Davis said on NBC's "Today" show Sunday morning. “So I just laugh with them.”
Sunday's Mid-Atlantic Regional championship game, which gave Davis six strike outs, was her second win over Delaware-Newark National Little League in the regional. She struck out 10 in the previous victory.
Hundreds of fans gathered at Milkboy in Center City to watch the game.
"What makes this team so special to me is that it brings all kinds of kids, from all different neighborhoods here. this is not your typical suburban little league," said Ellen Siegel, founder of the Taney Dragons.
Davis' performance served as inspiration for some young fans attending the viewing party.
"It's really cool that there's agirl pitcher and they've made it this far," one girl said.
Though the championship is the main prize for now, Davis says her baseball dreams won’t end at the series.
“I’ll probably either be the first female in the MLB or in the NBA,” Davis said.
Davis’ coach Alex Rice praises her poise and levelheadedness though he also says he can’t resist teasing her every now and then.
“When she hits a homerun we like to say that she hits like a girl,” Rice said.
Davis says she’s not a fan of the extra attention but does hope she can serve as an inspiration to other girls.
“Don’t let anyone stop you from doing what you like,” Davis said. “Just keep dreaming and go for it.”