Little League Sensation Mo'ne Davis Taking Sports World by Storm
This week, 13-year-old female pitcher Mo'ne Davis became the first Little Leaguer to ever grace the cover of Sports Illustrated.
"Last week, this week, maybe next week, she's owned the sports conversation," Sports Illustrated managing editor Chris Stone said. "How often do you get to say this about a 13-year-old girl? It's the easiest type of story to identify as a cover story."
Mo'ne, an eighth-grader at Springside Chestnut Hill (Pa.) Academy who plays for the Philadelphia-based Taney Dragons, caught the nation's attention in the weeks leading up to the Little League World Series with a wicked 70 mph fastball. According to Scott Cacciola of The New York Times, "For Little League hitters who face her from just 46 feet, her heater is the equivalent of a pitch with a velocity in the low 90s on a big-league diamond."
Much to the chagrin of her opponents, Mo'ne is well aware of the power she possesses with that fastball. In the Mid-Atlantic regional championship, she pitched a three-hit shutout while striking out six Newark National players, helping her team earn a berth into the Little League World Series (LLWS).
Here's a look at the heat she threw that day:
The legend of Mo'ne didn't stop there. In Taney's opening game of the Little League World Series, she became the first girl to throw a shutout in LLWS history, striking out eight while allowing just two hits.
The dominant performance caught the attention of MLB All-Star Mike Trout and reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant:
This youngster is striking everybody out and she is a girl. I love it. #itsanewday-- Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) August 15, 2014
On Sunday, Mo'ne became just the sixth girl to record a hit in LLWS history, helping her team pull off a come-from-behind, walk-off win over the squad from Pearland, Texas.
Davis couldn't keep the magic going this past Wednesday, allowing six hits and three runs in just 2 and 1/3 innings against the West champions from Las Vegas in the LLWS semifinals. (She struck out six batters, too.) The Nevada squad would go on to win 8-1, booking a spot in the U.S. championship game.
Mo'ne and the Dragons, meanwhile, have a date with Chicago's Jackie Robinson West squad in a win-or-go-home game on Thursday night. Because of pitch-count limits, Mo'ne will not be eligible to pitch Thursday; however, she would be eligible to throw on Saturday after tossing only 55 pitches Wednesday night, per ABCNews.com's Ben Candea.
Whatever happens against the Chicago squad, one thing's for certain: The legend of Mo'ne Davis won't soon be forgotten.
UPDATE, 8/22 (12:00 p.m.): The Taney Dragons lost to Chicago's Jackie Robinson West squad Thursday night, 6-5, ending their time at the Little League World Series.
Photo: Philadelphia pitcher Mo'ne Davis delivers in the first inning of a United States semi-final baseball game against Las Vegas at the Little League World Series tournament in South Williamsport, Pa., on Aug. 20. Las Vegas won 8-1, with Mo'ne giving up three runs in 2 and 1/3 innings. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)
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