It’s a yearly tradition dating back to 1947 that Williamsport, Penn., becomes the epicenter of baseball for 10 days in the Little League World Series, but this year, something – or rather, someone – will look a little different than most.
Maddy Freking will become the first girl to play in the Little League World Series since 2014, when Mo’ne Davis (Philadelphia) and Emma Marsh (Canada) played. Freking – who is the starting second baseman for Minnesota Coon Rapids/Andover American Little League, representing the Midwest region – is just the 19th girl to play in the LLWS. She is the first girl from Minnesota since Krissy Wendell in 1994. Wendell later served as the team captain of the U.S. women’s national ice hockey team.
Freking’s Minnesota team reached Williamsport by rallying back to beat Iowa 8-6 in the Midwest Regional Championship. Minnesota trailed by four runs entering the top of the fifth inning before a Jameson Kuznia three-run homer broke a 5-5 tie.
The 12-year-old also plays basketball and volleyball and has no intention of changing from baseball to softball.
“I feel like it’s easier than softball because I’ve been playing it for longer,” Freking sai (via The Washington Post), “and I don’t really feel like changing.”
How to watch Maddy Freking and the Midwest team
The Little League World Series is a double-elimination style tournament. Freking’s Midwest team has at least two guaranteed games against other American teams, and then a consolation game against an international opponent should her team lose both of its first two games.
Mo’ne Davis’ epic 2014 Little League World Series
Who could forget Mo’ne Davis and her legendary pitching performance that landed her on the cover of Sports Illustrated?
Davis splashed onto the scene with using 70-mph fastball to shutout her opponent in the Mid-Atlantic Final, sending her Philadelphia-based Taney Dragons to Williamsport for the 2014 LLWS.
On Aug. 15, 2014, Davis became the first girl pitcher to win a game in the LLWS, doing so again in shutout fashion. Davis’ Taney Dragons defeated Nashville 4-0 behind her six-inning, two-hit, eight-strikeout gem.
While Davis’ team was eventually eliminated by U.S. champion Illinois, Davis became just the sixth girl in LLWS history to record a hit. Her appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated was the first ever by a Little League Player.
Where is Mo’ne Davis today?
Davis, now 18 years old, is days away from attending her first classes at Hampton University in southeast Virginia, where she will be a member of the university’s softball team.
The Little League phenom had originally expressed a dream of playing basketball for Connecticut in college, but an injury in high school forced her to abandon the sport. Davis played varsity baseball her freshman year at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy before shifting to softball.
One of the main factors in Davis’ decision to attend Hampton was its status as an HBCU. Davis hopes to one day host a talk show interviewing athletes from around the world.
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