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Mo’ne Davis, former Little League World Series star, makes her college softball debut for Hampton

You remember Mo’ne Davis, right?

Back in 2014, when she was just 13-years-old, she captured the attention of every sports fan in the nation when she dominated at the Little League World Series. On those fields in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Davis became the first girl to pitch a shutout in the tournament. She was also the first African American girl to play in the LLWS.

With an icy stare and her long braids swinging behind her, Davis dominated a team from Nashville for her Philadelphia squad. In six innings of work, she struck out eight batters and allowed just two hits. She threw a 70-mph fastball – and remember, she was just 13 – and a variety of off-speed pitches that froze batters and had them swinging wildly at nothing but air.

Davis landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated. She was a hot topic on TV and radio shows. Suddenly, everyone knew the name of a preteen from Philadelphia. She won an ESPY. She was invited to the White House by President Obama. And she put an end to the negativity surrounding the “throwing like a girl” cliché.

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Fast-forward to 2020 and Davis is a college freshman at Hampton University, a historically black college in Virginia’s Tidewater region. And Davis is still playing, though she’s traded in one diamond for another.

Davis made her NCAA Division I softball debut on Saturday for Hampton in a 15-4 season-opening win over North Carolina A&T. Starting at second base and batting ninth, Davis finished 1-for-3 with a run scored and two driven in.

As the early season continues, here’s everything you need to know about the former LLWS sensation.

"Stick with your true friends, and still stay a kid."

Mo'ne Davis shares wise advice with Maddy Freking, who's the first girl to compete in the #LLWS since Davis did in 2014. pic.twitter.com/hNW29jtM1N

— espnW (@espnW) August 20, 2019

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She’s not pitching anymore

Davis garnered fame at the Little League World Series for her prowess on the mound, but she won’t be pitching in college. Davis is slated to be a middle infielder for the Hampton Pirates, so expect to see her at shortstop or second base throughout the season. In the LLWS, she played first base when she wasn’t pitching.

Pitching in softball and baseball are two very different things. The balls are different sizes, the delivery comes out at different angles and the motions aren’t similar at all.

Davis told ESPN’s Outside the Lines about her switch to the infield in August 2019 saying, “It’s completely different. I tried (softball) pitching in sixth grade and I just wasn’t a fan of it. Pitching in baseball is completely different. Tenth grade, when I decided to play for high school, I was like, I want to try just being a fielder and hitting to help my team win. My coach put me at shortstop and I’ve been playing there ever since.”

She told the New York Times about softball pitching, “I know the mechanics, but for some reason the ball just doesn’t reach home plate.”

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Basketball was her first love

When Davis was gaining fame for her accomplishments in the Little League World Series, she let anyone who asked know that playing college basketball — specifically at UConn — was her dream. She looked up to Maya Moore and received a congratulatory phone call from Geno Auriemma after the LLWS.

But once she got into high school, her thinking, interests and goals changed.

“I think once I started AAU and I saw the different level of basketball players and the height you had to be at UConn, I figured I’m not growing anymore so that’s not in my future,” Davis told SLAM Magazine. “But I’ve been a big fan of UConn… And I’ve wanted to go there for the longest. It’s one of my favorite schools, but I didn’t have the height to do it.”

Davis is listed on Hampton’s softball roster at 5-4, but according to SLAM, she still garnered basketball interest from the likes of Fordham, Quinnipiac and Longwood. A story about Mo’Ne on Bleacher Report mentions that she’s an aficionado of basketball sneakers and owns more than 70 pairs.

In a time where many young athletes are being pushed to specialize in sports, Davis never did. In high school, she excelled in basketball and softball, and won state championships in soccer.

When asked why she committed to playing softball at Hampton, she told Sports Illustrated, “I wanted to do something for the next four years… To have fun, and softball was it. Nowadays, sports are a little too serious... I just try to have as much fun as possible."

Remember Her Name! #LLWS2014 sensation @Monedavis11 is on this week's national cover http://t.co/LAwVgubpCSpic.twitter.com/sENsPMF7ew

— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 19, 2014

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New challenge at Hampton

Hampton is not exactly a powerhouse in college softball. The Pirates have had just three winning seasons out of their past seven and haven’t won a conference championship since 1996. The Pirates have never appeared in the women’s college World Series.

Angie Nicholson is in her fourth season at the helm of the program, which went 23-25 (7-17) in its first season in the Big South Conference.

So, why did Davis want to go to Hampton?

“From second grade all the way through graduation I’ve been at a predominantly white school. Just to be able to go to an HBCU and to get that experience, just to follow the path that a lot of African-Americans went through, I think it would be pretty cool,” Davis told Outside the Lines. “I feel like a lot of black athletes should look into HBCU’s, and it’s one of those decisions I’ll be able to say I won’t regret and I made the right decision.”

Davis is majoring in communications at Hampton and will attend the university’s Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

And maybe between now and graduation, she’ll create a few more highlights too.

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Mitchell Northam is a graduate of Salisbury University. His work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Orlando Sentinel, SB Nation, USA Today, Bleacher Report, FanSided and the Delmarva Daily Times. He grew up on Maryland's Eastern Shore and is a member of APSE, USBWA and NASR. He's on Twitter at @primetimeMitch.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NCAA or its member institutions.

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Sours: https://www.ncaa.com/news/softball/article/2020-02-07/mone-davis-former-little-league-world-series-star-makes-her

Mo'ne Davis

American Little League baseball and softball player

Mo'ne Ikea Davis (born June 24, 2001)[3] is an American former Little League Baseball pitcher and current Hampton University softball player from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was one of two girls who played in the 2014 Little League World Series and was the first girl to earn a win and to pitch a shutout in Little League World Series history. She was the 18th girl overall to play and the sixth to get a hit. She was also the first Little League baseball player to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a Little League player.

Biography[edit]

Davis is the daughter of Lamar Davis and Lakeisha McLean.[4] She has lived with her mother and stepfather, Mark Williams, since the age of six.[5]

In 2008, Steve Bandura, who is program director for Marian Anderson Recreation Center in South Philadelphia, observed Davis playing football with her cousins and older brother. He noticed that "she was throwing this football in perfect spirals, effortless and running these tough kids down and tackling them."[6] Bandura asked her if she would like to come to a basketball practice. When she came to practice, Bandura asked her to watch the practice, but she wanted to participate. Bandura told The Philadelphia Tribune that "Her eyes were just glued on the drill and, when it came time for her turn, she went through it like she has been doing it a thousand times. I just knew right then."[6] According to The Philadelphia Tribune, Davis became Bandura's best basketball player and the only girl on the team. She also began playing and excelling at baseball and soccer.[6][7]

Bandura, together with other sponsors, helped Davis transfer to Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, which is a private girls' school.[6] Her mother, Lakeisha McLean, told The Philadelphia Tribune that she was unaware that her daughter was so athletic.[6] In 2011, she was a point guard in basketball, a pitcher, shortstop, and third baseman in baseball, but she revealed that she started pitching when she was a substitute from outfielder, and mid-fielder for soccer.[6]

As of August 2014, while notable as a Little League pitcher, she considered basketball her primary sport.[8] She aspired to become a WNBA player, and had expressed desire to play college basketball for the UConn Huskies of the University of Connecticut, despite not being formally recruited, and follow in the footsteps of Maya Moore, a UConn alumna who went on to play in WNBA.[9][10]

In 2015, she released a memoir, written with Hilary Beard, Mo'ne Davis: Remember My Name.[11][12] That year she also teamed up with the brand M4D3 (Make A Difference Everyday) to design a line of sneakers for girls, with some of the proceeds going toward the Plan International’s Because I Am a Girl initiative, which has the goal of helping to lift four million girls in the developing world out of poverty.[11]

In 2018, she committed to Hampton University to play softball starting in the fall of 2019.[13] Davis made her debut for the Lady Pirates on February 8, 2020, going 1-for-3, driving in two runs, and recording a sacrifice in Hampton's 15–4 win over North Carolina A&T. Davis now plays second base at Hampton.[14]

Pitching[edit]

At age 13, Davis threw a 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) fastball, while the average velocity in her age class was 63 miles per hour (101 km/h) to 73 miles per hour (117 km/h) range.[15][16] According to Will Femia, a 71 miles per hour (114 km/h) pitch (which was clocked during her August 15, 2014 game) is equivalent in reaction time at the plate for a batter to a 93 miles per hour (150 km/h) pitch on a full sized diamond.[17][18][19][20][21] She also threw a curve ball that gave "opposing hitters fits".[22][23]

Davis relied more on the precise mechanics of pitching rather than strength.[2] According to John Brenkus of ESPN, Davis had a wind up and release point that never varied by more than 3 degrees.[2] Although her arm was 15% shorter than a major league pitcher's arm, she was able to deliver balls at over 70 miles per hour (110 km/h). Her pitching was compared to the throwing motion of major league pitcher Jonathan Papelbon.[2] At the end of her throwing motion, her arm was moving forward at peak angular velocity of 2500˚/sec, which was over 80% of the peak angular velocity (3000˚/sec) of typical major league pitchers.[2]

Little League World Series[edit]

Background[edit]

In 1972, Maria Pepe was the first girl to start in Little League games, but she was removed when opposing teams demanded her removal. The National Organization for Women filed suit for Pepe, and in 1973 Judge Sylvia Pressler ruled that "The institution of Little League is as American as the hot dog and apple pie. There is no reason why that part of Americana should be withheld from girls." Although the ruling came too late for Pepe to play, since she had turned 14, the ruling made it possible for Davis and other girls to play Little League baseball.[24]

Davis was the fourth American girl and 18th overall to play in the Little League World Series, out of almost 9,000 participants since the tournament began in 1947. The 2014 Little League World Series was also the third time in which two girls participated.[25] Davis was also the sixth girl to get a hit in Little League World Series history.[26]

On August 10, 2014, Davis pitched a three-hit 8–0 shutout over Newark National Little League of Delaware to get into the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Little League World Series.[22][27]

First win for a girl[edit]

On August 15, 2014, Davis was the first girl in Little League World Series history to pitch a winning game for the Taney Dragons and earned the win,[25] which also made her the first girl to pitch a shutout in Little League postseason history.[15][28] She led her team to a 4–0 victory over Nashville. She pitched six innings, struck out eight batters, and gave up two infield hits.[25] In the sixth inning, she struck out the first two batters, and she brought a third batter to a full count when she struck him out.[15] After the game, Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett predicted that some day she would play in professional baseball.[15][26][29][30]

Television ratings[edit]

ESPN's broadcast of the semifinals game in which Davis played on August 20, 2014 brought a 3.4 overnight rating, which marked an all-time high for Little League on ESPN.[31] In the game, Davis was tagged with the loss after she failed to make it out of the 3rd inning, giving up 3 earned runs in 2.1 innings. She later made an error at first as Nevada won the game 8-1, eliminating Pennsylvania from series contention.[32]

Media and celebrity[edit]

After becoming the first female to pitch a shutout in postseason Little League history, she received congratulatory Twitter messages from Mike Trout, Marcus Stroman, Kevin Durant, and requests for interviews by television hosts such as Jimmy Fallon.[15][29]Rachel Maddow said that Davis was the "best new thing in the world".[17] She also was praised by Ellen DeGeneres, Billie Jean King, and Michelle Obama.[21] Davis told ESPN "I never thought at the age of 13 I'd be a role model. I always wanted to be a role model, but being a baseball role model is really cool."[29][33]

She appeared on the August 25, 2014 Sports Illustrated front cover,[34] which made her the first Little League baseball player to appear on the front cover of a top US sports magazine as a Little League player.[35] Asked about appearing on cover of Sports Illustrated, Davis said "I don't know. Kind of surprised, but I mean, it was fun."[36]

In 2014, Paul Graziano, who had been the Little League World Series press box announcer for the last 34 years, stated that he had never seen the level of excitement as early in the tournament and that this was partly due to the presence of Davis. The crowds cheered every time Davis pitches or was at bat, and she received standing ovations as she was pitching her shut-out win on August 15, 2014.[37]

On August 19, 2014, Mark Hyman, assistant professor of sports management at George Washington University, told The New York Times that "She's the most talked-about baseball player on earth right now".[36] According to The New York Times, Davis increased the ratings of ABC and ESPN and, as of August 19, Davis had appeared on the front page of The Philadelphia Inquirer for five straight days.[36]

Josh Peter, writing for USA Today, raised concern about the merchandising and marketing surrounding Davis' celebrity.[38] For example, on August 20, 2014, a baseball appeared on eBay, and the auction price was up to $510,[39] along with approximately 40 other items supposedly autographed by Davis.[38] However, it was not just the autograph seekers who created problems for Davis. According to Peter, two companies were selling unauthorized Mo'ne jerseys.[38]

In September 2014, Davis donated her jersey to the Baseball Hall of Fame. She was accompanied by teammates from the Anderson Monarchs. Mamie Johnson, one of the three women to play in Negro league baseball was present at the event.[40]

In October 2014, Davis was named one of "The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014" by Time magazine.[41] Also in October, a 16-minute documentary about Davis, entitled I Throw Like a Girl, directed by Spike Lee, and produced by Spike DDB for Chevrolet, was released.[42] On October 25 Davis threw out the ceremonial first pitch of game 4 of the MLB World Series at AT&T Park in San Francisco.[43] In addition, Davis was named Sports Illustrated Kids' "SportsKid of the Year" for 2014.[44] and was named one of ESPNW's Impact 25 in 2014.[45]

In March 2015, Bloomsburg University baseball player Joey Casselberry made a crude remark about her on Twitter and was suspended from future play. After he had made a public apology, Davis initiated a plea to the school, requesting that the player be reinstated. Bloomsburg University responded with the statement: "Her request demonstrates the type of person she is, her level of maturity and the empathy that her family and coach teach her. Bloomsburg University stands firm on our decision; however, his consequences will be reviewed as is common in disciplinary actions like this."[46]

Davis was shown in Marie Claire magazine's "The 8 Greatest Moments for Women in Sports".[47]

In July 2015 Davis won the Best Breakthrough Athlete ESPY Award.[48]

Analysis of her broader impact[edit]

In 2014, writing for CNN, Kelly Wallace suggested that Davis' accomplishments will affect both girls and boys, women and men.[35] In Wallace's view, she will inspire girls who want to play baseball in the future. To support this view, Wallace cited the case of Stephanie Tuck, who, as a girl, played on a Little League team. Tuck, recounting the experience of Little league play, said "I was heckled by the dads: 'Get that girl off the field.' I used to literally pray the ball would not come to me in right field, as the pressure was so intense."[35] Wallace also wrote that Davis' play will remove the "specialness" of girls playing at the level of boys. In the future, fans will look at how good a player is, and gender will not be important.[35] For men and boys, Wallace argued that Davis' performance will reduce gender biases about the roles of boys and girls.[35] For example, "Throwing like a girl", according to Wallace, now has a completely different and positive meaning.[35] Melissa Isaacson, writing for ABC News, expressed similar views.[49] Wallace also speculated that the more attention female athletes such as Davis receive from girls, boys, men, and women, the more popular women's sports will become.[35] Finally, Wallace suggested that the tremendous interest that Davis has piqued in the Little League World Series might lead to increased participation of both boys and girls in baseball, which has suffered from major league "performance-enhancing drug scandals".[35]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ abLongman, Jeré (August 19, 2014). "Sports Illustrated and, Maybe in a Few Years, a Driver's License". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  2. ^ abcdeBrenkus, John (August 18, 2014). "Sport Science: Mo'ne Davis". ESPN. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  3. ^Miller, Randy (June 16, 2015). "Mo'ne Davis turning 14 during Civic Rights barnstorming tour with Anderson Monarchs". NJ.com. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
  4. ^"Meet The Monarchs: Mo'ne Davis #11". Anderson Mnarchs. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  5. ^Terruso, Julia (August 20, 2014). "A day in the life of Mo'ne Davis, reluctant cover girl". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  6. ^ abcdefRichards, Kimberley (December 14, 2011). "South Philly girl, 10, excels in several sports". The Philadelphia Tribune. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  7. ^Breen, Matt; Dribben, Melissa; Inquirer Staff Writers (August 16, 2014). "Taney's Mo'ne Davis handles celebrity in stride". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  8. ^Tauber, Michelle (August 17, 2014). "Mo'ne Davis: 5 Things to Know About the History-Making Little League Pitcher". People. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  9. ^"Mo'ne Davis: No recruiting talk". ESPN. September 5, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  10. ^Voepel, Mechelle (September 1, 2014). "Future glimpse for Mo'ne Davis?". ESPN. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  11. ^ abErin Clements. "Little League star Mo'ne Davis designs sneaker line to benefit impoverished girls - News". TODAY.com. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  12. ^Hilary, Beard (March 17, 2015). Remember my name : my story, from first pitch to game changer. ISBN . OCLC 894625294.
  13. ^Longman, Jeré (December 19, 2018). "For Mo'ne Davis, a Social Awakening and a Commitment to Hampton". New York Times. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  14. ^Bengel, Chris (February 10, 2020). "Mo'ne Davis, former Little League World Series star, makes college softball debut for Hampton". CBSSports.com. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  15. ^ abcdeJacobs, Emma (August 16, 2014). "Mo'ne Davis Throws Like A Girl—At 70 MPH". NPR. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  16. ^CBS News (August 15, 2014). "Girl takes electric fastball to Little League's big show". CBS News. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  17. ^ abFemia, Will (August 16, 2014). "How fast is Mo'ne Davis fast?". MSNBC. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  18. ^Fioriglio, Tony (July 22, 2014). "LITTLE LEAGUE: Taney's Mo'ne Davis showing she can play with the boys". The Times Herald. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  19. ^Renoble, Ryan (August 10, 2014). "Mo'Ne Davis, One Of Little League's Few Female Players, Just Made The World Series". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  20. ^NewsOne Staff (August 12, 2014). "Striking Out Six Batters, Mo'Ne Davis Pitches Like A Girl". News One. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  21. ^ abGay, Jason (August 17, 2014). "Mo'ne Davis Is a 70-mph Ace". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  22. ^ ab
  23. ^Mcintyre, Jason (August 11, 2014). "Mo'Ne Davis: Female Pitcher in Little League World Series Has Filthy Curveball, Throws 70 mph Heat". USA Today. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  24. ^Hildebrand, James (August 11, 2014). "We Heart: Mo'Ne Davis, Little League Pitcher". Ms.Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  25. ^ abcRhoden, William C. (August 15, 2014). "A Mound Becomes a Summit: Mo'ne Davis Dominates at Little League World Series". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  26. ^ abSI Wire (August 15, 2014). "Mo'Ne Davis becomes first girl to throw a shutout in LLWS". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  27. ^Bieler, Des (August 11, 2014). "Mo'Ne Davis pitches Pennsylvania team into Little League World Series". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  28. ^Berg, Ted (August 15, 2014). "13-year-old sensation Mo'Ne Davis throws two-hit shutout at Little League World Series". USA Today. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  29. ^ abc"A New Reality: How Modest Mo'Ne Davis is adjusting to Fan Frenzy". ESPN. August 15, 2013. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  30. ^Dodds, Eric (August 15, 2014). "This Has Been the Greatest Start in Little League World Series History". Time. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  31. ^O'Connell, Michael (August 21, 2014). "Mo'ne Davis Pitches Record Ratings for Little League World Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on August 22, 2014. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  32. ^Polacek, Scott. "Mo'ne Davis at LLWS 2014: Final Stats and Twitter Reaction vs. Nevada". Bleacher Report. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
  33. ^Angelo, Megan (August 12, 2014). "Meet Mo'Ne Davis, the Girl Pitching Phenom Who's Tearing It Up at the Little League World Series". Glamour. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  34. ^Axson, Scooby (August 19, 2014). "Sports Illustrated cover". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  35. ^ abcdefghWallace, Kelly (August 20, 2014). "Baseball sensation Mo'ne Davis' impact on girls and boys". CNN. Archived from the original on August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  36. ^ abcLongman, Jere (August 19, 2014). "Sports Illustrated and, Maybe in a Few Years, a Driver's License". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  37. ^McGonigal, John (August 18, 2014). "Mo'ne Davis And Chicago's Jackie Robinson West Are Big Stars At Little League World Series". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  38. ^ abcPeter, Josh (August 20, 2013). "Mo'ne Davis merchandise means money -- and outrage". USA Today. Archived from the original on August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  39. ^"Mo'ne Davis Signed Baseball Snags Big Bid on EBay". NBC News. August 21, 2014. Archived from the original on August 21, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  40. ^Associated Press (September 26, 2014). "Mo'ne Davis on HOF: 'Amazing'". ESPN. Archived from the original on October 25, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  41. ^Begley, Sarah (October 13, 2014). "The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014". Time. Archived from the original on October 25, 2014. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  42. ^Callahan, Yasha (October 23, 2013). "Watch Spike Lee's Mo'ne Davis Documentary, I Throw Like a Girl". The Root. Archived from the original on October 25, 2014. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  43. ^"Bryan Stow hollers 'Play Ball!'". ESPN. October 25, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  44. ^"Pitcher Mo'ne Davis Named SI's 'Sports Kid of the Year'". Businessweek.com.
  45. ^"2014 espnW Impact 25". Espn.go.com. July 16, 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  46. ^Mo'Ne Davis Says Player Who Sent Offensive Tweet Deserves Second Chance, National Public Radio, Eyder Peralta, March 23, 2015. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  47. ^Friedman, Megan. "Historic Moments in Female Sports – Athletic Women". Marieclaire.com. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  48. ^Ryan Venezia, Sports Producer (October 22, 2012). "Mo'ne Davis wins Best Breakthrough Athlete ESPY". Philly.com. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  49. ^Isaacson, Melissa (August 18, 2014). "Why Mo'ne Davis' Play Matters To Girls". ABC News. Archived from the original on August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.

External links[edit]

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mo%27ne_Davis
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Mo’ne Davis was thrust into the spotlight while dominating in Little League. Now she’s quietly excelling at Hampton

Mo'ne Davis hits the ball during a Hartford at Hampton NCAA softball game on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Hampton, Va. (AP Photo/Amber Searls)

There seem to be two schools of thought about Mo’ne Davis, the Little League World Series icon whose first season as a softball player at Hampton University was interrupted by the school’s coronavirus shutdown.

One is that Davis could’ve considered walking on water to arrive at her new “Home By the Sea,” as HU is called. She would be that dominant, the thinking went, finally focusing on softball against females after her baseball success against males.

The second was that Davis, who gained national acclaim in 2014 for becoming the first girl to pitch a shutout in the almost-exclusively boys-populated Little League series, might have difficulty finding the normalcy she craved at Hampton because of her celebrity. Neither idea has been true.

Yes, an ESPN camera crew followed her around campus her first day of the fall semester, but Davis has otherwise blended seamlessly with the other students. And, while coaches and teammates consider Davis very good, and potentially great, her transition to playing at a high level in the markedly different sport of softball has not been without challenges.

Hampton University freshman Mo'ne Davis is making a seamless transition into college softball. Davis received national attention for being the hero of her Little League World Series team as a baseball pitcher in 2014.

“It was very important to go to a place for four years with a family atmosphere, where I would feel comfortable and secure,” Davis said from her home in Philadelphia. “It was a big thing for me not to be treated differently.

“Being on the softball team is like having a bunch of older sisters. I’ve fit in at Hampton like any other student.”

Pirates coach Angie Nicholson and her husband, assistant coach Richard Nicholson, have worked to provide her with a typical college experience. They limited who could interview her and try to allow her to be “normal and like everyone else.” Nicholson said Davis has been so humble and hard-working, you wouldn’t be able to tell she is famous unless you knew it.

Because of that, Davis, a communications major, has been able to enjoy her time at HU, especially her classes at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications that largely drew her there in the first place. Davis follows current events closely, enjoys expressing herself in writing and is not at all intimidated at the prospect of entering journalism at a time when the profession is much criticized.

In this Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 file photo, Mo'ne Davis, signs an autograph for a fan on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine at PNC Field in Moosic, Pennsylvania. Davis plays second base for Hampton University's softball team -- she moved into the national limelight in 2014 as a standout pitcher for a Philadelphia-area Little League World Series baseball team.

“It (criticism) is going to happen no matter what, but you can’t be the best if you’re not up for a challenge,” she said. “There are a lot of good journalists out there, people doing the right thing.”

Brianna Anderson, a senior and team captain, was among the Pirates who felt some trepidation at Davis’ joining the program, particularly because so many implied she would be a savior. Anderson says she learned quickly that Davis was a good teammate and a darn good player.

“I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know she would be as humble as she is,” Anderson said. “I was getting questions like: ‘Is Mo’ne going to win you guys a championship?’ and 'Is Mo’ne going to do this or that?’

“I was hoping she wouldn’t come in like that because it’s a team sport and takes a lot of other players. She’s definitely come in and done her part and is one of the most humble people I’ve ever met.”

Davis is, Nicholson and Anderson note, kind of shy, which explains why she ran from the room embarrassed as some of her teammates watched a video of her acceptance comments for Best Breakthrough Athlete at the 2015 ESPY Awards.

Davis received lots of other accolades for her Little League World Series accomplishments. She made the cover of Sports Illustrated, was named one of “The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014” by Time Magazine, was the subject of the Spike Lee documentary “I Throw Like a Girl” and was praised by scores of prominent people, including then-First Lady Michelle Obama.

Legendary director Spike Lee gives Mo’ne Davis a ‘Do The Right Thing Way’ sign.

But the biggest and most enduring thrill of celebrity for Davis was befriending Allen Iverson, an NBA legend in her hometown of Philadelphia. She said the Iversons treat her like family and have attended some of her games at Hampton.

Davis, who started all 19 games at second base for the 15-4 Pirates, is a work in progress. Although she gained fame in Little League as a pitcher, she will not try the position in softball.

“It’s not my thing,” she said. “It’s a whole different mechanic, and I give props to the pitchers on the team because it’s very hard to pitch in softball.

“I enjoy playing the field and hitting.”

Although Davis says she is still becoming comfortable with the small-ball aspect of softball ― things like thinking ahead and knowing when to cover the bag ― Nicholson says she is a terrific fielder because of her fluid movement, great transitions with the ball from glove to throwing hand and her rocket arm. Anderson has painful experience with the latter.

“I can’t stand playing first base in practice because Mo’ne throws the ball so hard,” Anderson said. “She’s going to have a big impact (on the program), and I wouldn’t be surprised if she breaks program records.

“I love her and am close to her. She’s close with a lot of the players.”

Davis, who batted .333 with eight RBIs in 19 games, can’t wait to return to Hampton after already building some lasting memories. She hit a two-run single in her collegiate debut, a win over North Carolina A&T. She also singled and scored the first run in the bottom of the seventh against arch-rival Howard to begin a rally from a three-run deficit that ended in a walk-off victory.

“Being able to win a game like that, to come back and never give up, is something special,” Davis said. “Howard is always a big game, and the smiles on the faces of (my teammates were) the happiest I’ve seen.

“I’m really excited because we’re going to have a great team the rest of my time here. I know the next three years are probably going to be some of the best experiences in my life.”

Sours: https://www.pilotonline.com/sports/college/hampton/vp-sp-mone-davis-hampton-university-softball-20200325-jls36cuhzvckfkqe45beo6bcdq-story.html
Mo'ne Davis Dominating Little League - NBC News

Where is Mo'ne Davis now? Little League World Series legend working to become a broadcaster

There have been many stars to come through the Little League World Series, but few gained more notoriety during the games themselves than Mo'ne Davis. 

Back in 2014, Davis, then 13, pitched for the Taney Dragons of Philadelphia and became a household name when, wielding an impressive 70 mph fastball, she picked up a win on the mound against Nashville to become the first girl to earn a win in a Little League World Series game, and the first to pitch a shutout as her team won 4-0. 

Though the Pennsylvania-based team was eliminated in the bracket, Davis became an iconic figure and a name still synonymous to this day with the Little League Baseball World Series.

But what has she been doing since rising to stardom? Let's take a look. 

Where is Mo'ne Davis now?

Davis is no longer playing baseball, but she has made the move to a similar sport: softball. 

She's also no longer on the mound. Davis is currently an infielder on the Hampton University softball team. Her freshman year of 2020 was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, but she was off to an impressive start, slashing .333/.423/.357 with three multi-hit games. When the season came to an abrupt end, she had an on-base streak of 10 games. Hampton opted out of the 2021 spring sports season, so Davis will likely next take the field in 2022. 

Back in high school at Spring Side Chestnut Hill, she won championships while playing for both the soccer and softball teams and was a four-year varsity basketball player.

Future in broadcasting?

Viewers of ESPN heard Davis' name over their television sets during that 2014 Little League World Series run. But it might not be long until Davis is the one calling the games. 

The Washington Post reported that Davis has been interning with the DC Grays, a college summer baseball team, as one of the announcers for their games this summer. 

"I just love being around sports, and being able to talk about them from my standpoint is really cool," Davis told The Post. "Especially sports that I've played, being able to see them from an outside perspective and relate them to people, it's something I'd like to do in the future, something that I'm still working on."

And she'll have the chance to continue building on those skills on an even bigger stage this summer. Davis will be on ESPN2 as part of the KidsCast for the Little League Classic between the Angels and Indians on Aug. 22 before she puts the headset back on two days later for a Little League World Series on ESPN, according to Hampton University. She was also on the call for the KidsCast broadcasts for a few 2019 Little League World Series games.

Sours: https://www.sportingnews.com/us/mlb/news/mone-davis-little-league-world-series/1k12um9z8gibo11m94x5snjnx0

Davis baseball monique

Mo’ne Davis, who hurled her way into the annals of the Little League World Series and the hearts of the sports world as a pitcher for the Taney Dragons of South Philadelphia four years ago, has decided she will attend Hampton University next fall.

“It’s a big relief,” said Davis, who will play softball at Hampton. “A lot of people have been asking me where I was going. It feels great to finally commit somewhere. It just feels so good.”

Davis, who used a 70 mph-plus fastball to become the first girl to win a Little League World Series game as a pitcher and the first girl to toss a shutout in Little League postseason history, selected Hampton over Bethune-Cookman University, Southern University, Coppin State University and the University of Pennsylvania. She signed a national letter of intent with Hampton on Tuesday.

“The campus is beautiful,” said Davis, who was interviewed Tuesday. “The girls on the team are amazing. The coaches are amazing. It just kind of felt like home, which is what you look for in a school. Everything felt right. Since I’m spending my next four years there, I have to be comfortable.”

Hampton’s proximity to Philadelphia pleases her mother, Lakeisha Williams.

“It’s only about six hours away,” she said. “We know people down there, so that’s a very good feeling.”

“The campus is beautiful. The girls on the team are amazing. The coaches are amazing. It just kind of felt like home, which is what you look for in a school.” — Mo’ne Davis

Her father, Mark Williams, is also relieved that a decision has been made.

“Now she can enjoy her senior year and not have to think about where she’s going to school,” he said. “It was a tough decision, but she made the decision that she felt was best for her.”

Davis is a three-sport star at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, where she plays soccer, basketball and softball.

In baseball, she is a force on the mound but can aptly play any position. She enjoys playing shortstop. In softball, she prefers playing shortstop and any other position except pitcher.

“The arm motion is completely different when you’re pitching in baseball as opposed to when you’re pitching in softball,” she said. “In baseball, I’m more comfortable. I feel like I’m in control. I feel very confident. All I have to do is throw strikes. I know that my teammates are behind me and that they’re going to make plays.”

Former little league star Mo’ne Davis, fame and a future Read now

Davis said she wanted to attend a historically black college or university (HBCU) institution.

“I chose [an HBCU] because it’s going to be a change from the schools I’ve been going to,” she said.

“The school I go to now is a predominantly white school. To go to an HBCU, it gives me both sides, experience of being with girls of color [after going to school] with white girls, it gives that balance. I just think it gives me that perfect fit. All of my friends who go to an HBCU love it and they said that I would love it, too.”

Given her celebrity status, Davis’ collegiate choice could be a boon for HBCUs.

“Mo’ne is such a inspiration,” said Steve Bandura, Davis’ baseball coach on the Anderson Monarchs. “She’s a role model for many young girls. She’s a motivator and a leader.

“The thing about her is that she doesn’t have an ego. She doesn’t brag about what she’s done. She’s aware of her accomplishments but she’s extremely humble.”

Since her Little League World Series showing, Davis has attained notoriety. Time magazine named her one of The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014. Sports Illustrated Kids named her SportsKid of the Year for 2014. Famed film director Spike Lee directed and produced a documentary about her titled Mo’ne Davis: I Throw Like a Girl. American League MVP Mike Trout and NBA MVP Kevin Durant sent her congratulatory messages.

She participated in the 2015 NBA Celebrity All-Star Game in New York and released a memoir in 2015 that was written with Hilary Beard, Mo’ne Davis: Remember My Name: My Story from First Pitch to Game Changer. And to top it all off, she received words of encouragement from then-President Barack Obama and the first lady Michelle Obama.

She’s won an ESPY award and has even found time to play hoops with the famed Harlem Globetrotters.

Davis, who said basketball was her first love, mentioned that she may still play the sport occasionally.

“I may throw up a shot or two sometimes,” said Davis. “It was my first love.”

Daryl Bell is the assistant news editor and columnist for The Philadelphia Tribune. He's a veteran journalist who has covered every major sport, and many minor ones.

Sours: https://theundefeated.com/features/mone-davis-will-attend-hampton-university-to-play-softball-because-everything-felt-right/
Mo'ne Davis explains why she won't be pitching in college softball - Outside the Lines

It’s been four years since Mo’ne Davis hurled her way into the annals of the Little League World Series and the hearts of the sports world.

Armed with a 70-plus mph fastball, the 13-year-old right-hander completed six innings of two-hit, eight-strikeout baseball to lead the Taney Dragons of Philadelphia to a 4-0 win over South Nashville in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 2014. She was the first girl to win a Little League World Series game as a pitcher and the first girl to toss a shutout in little league postseason history.

“I think back on it now and it’s really like a blur,” said Davis.

Time magazine named her one of “The 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014.” Sports Illustrated Kids named her “SportsKid of the Year” for 2014. Spike Lee directed and produced a documentary on Davis titled I Throw Like A Girl. League MVPs Mike Trout (MLB) and Kevin Durant (NBA) sent her congratulatory messages.

She participated in the 2015 NBA Celebrity All-Star Game in New York. She released a memoir in 2015 that was written with Hilary Beard, Mo’ne Davis: Remember My Name: My Story from First Pitch to Game Changer. And to top it all off, she received words of encouragement from the president and first lady.

“Barack and Michelle Obama just said to keep going, that I inspire a lot of people,” said Davis. “That’s something that will always stick with me.”

When the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets played a special regular-season game during the Little League World Series this past August, Davis was a special guest. She’s considered royalty in Williamsport, which is about 177 miles northwest of her hometown of Philadelphia. Fans seek her out for autographs and selfies, and she accommodates their wishes.

Through it all, her humility has left a lasting impression.

“It’s just Mo’ne’s demeanor, and it’s all about respect,” said her mother, Lakeisha McLean. “I always teach her and my other children your name is all you have, so carry it right. I tell her no matter the fame, the money you have, your looks, if you don’t have a good attitude, you won’t make it far.”

Playing baseball has no doubt made Davis famous. Her Taney Dragons jersey is in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

But right now is another pivotal moment in her athletic career.

Davis is 17 now and in her senior year at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia. She still loves baseball but is a Division I basketball prospect who once expressed interest in attending the University of Connecticut.

“When she was younger, there was a chance that she’d be good enough,” said Mike Flynn, a national talent evaluator and a member of the McDonald’s All-American selection committee. “But things have changed. She’s older now, and the kids who were with her then, skillwise, have passed her. She’s still a Division I-caliber player, but not necessarily the type of player that UConn would be interested in.

“While she’s been playing baseball, many of the kids she was with skillwise four years ago have continued to play and concentrate solely on basketball,” he added. “That’s not a knock on her, it’s just something that happens.”

Davis, who aspires to be a broadcaster, doesn’t take the criticism personally.

“I understand,” she said. “I’m not concentrating on just one sport. I play four sports: baseball, basketball, soccer and softball. I don’t have as much time as somebody who concentrates on just one sport.”

Davis said she still wants to play college basketball and has also expressed interest in playing college softball, according to Steve Bandura, who is Davis’ baseball coach on the Anderson Monarchs and first saw her athletic potential when she was 7. Bandura believes it’s a good thing that she’s keeping her options open.

“She’s no secret anymore,” said Bandura. “She’s a good player. She’s not a novelty anymore. She’s gotten a lot of publicity, but she’s just another player.”

Davis is taking it all in stride. She said she’s just enjoying being a teenager, competing in school sports and hanging with friends. And she also continues to be a role model for youngsters and grown-ups.

“Mo’ne Davis is an exceptional inspiration to kids across our city that you can achieve anything you put your mind to despite obstacles that may seem to be in the way,” said Philadelphia City Council member Kenyatta Johnson.

Said Davis: “I always say I have a different mind like everyone else. I have a mindset that is older than I am. I think about [doing] the right things. I like to think about things before I do them. Whatever my guts say, I do it.”

Daryl Bell is the assistant news editor and columnist for The Philadelphia Tribune. He's a veteran journalist who has covered every major sport, and many minor ones.

Sours: https://theundefeated.com/features/former-little-league-star-mone-davis-fame-and-a-future/

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