Davis’ accomplishments still inspire despite loss
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) — Mo’ne Davis will look like a typical eighth-grader when she begins classes at Philadelphia’s Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in a couple of weeks.
Thick braids? Check. Bright smile? Yep.
But Davis is anything but your average 13-year-old.
None of the other kids in her class have ever been on the cover of Sports Illustrated or have had Lil’ Wayne and Ellen DeGeneres gush over them.
The right-handed pitcher and infielder captured a lot of hearts while leading the East Region champion Philadelphia Taney Dragons on an entertaining ride through the Little League World Series. Their trip ended Thursday night with a 6-5 loss to Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West — but that setback after two weeks in the spotlight didn’t diminish Davis’ impact or dim her future.
For certain, her life will never be the same.
“Mo’ne will shape her own future,” said her coach, Alex Rice, “and it’s going to be terrific.”
There’s also little doubt she’ll get an A when she writes what she did on her summer vacation.
Her 4-0, eight-strikeout, no-walk gem against Nashville thrust her into the national spotlight.
First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted: “Congrats to Mo’ne Davis on becoming the first girl to pitch an #LLWS shutout. When girls succeed, we all succeed.”
“Mo’Ne Davis ... goosebumps. You’re awesome! Unbelievable,” rapper Lil’ Wayne tweeted.
“Talk about groundbreaking,” DeGeneres posted to her Twitter account.
ESPN’s ratings soared when the 5-foot-4 Davis toed the pitcher’s slab. A record crowd of 34,000 watched her and her team in one game in South Williamsport.
Davis appeared on the SI cover — conjuring up more talk of a cover jinx in the wake of the loss. But the 13-year-old’s future is bright in every respect.
“I think Mo’ne is going to be talked about for years to come, especially each August when the (Little League) World Series rolls around,” said Roland Watkins, a coach for Mountain Ridge of Las Vegas, which will meet Jackie Robinson West for the U.S. title on Saturday. “She’s got a bright future. She’s a very, very talented athlete.”
She’s also a smart one, too.
Priscilla Sands, president of Springside, said Davis is an honor-roll student with “laser focus.”
To get to the private school of 1,100 students, Davis has to ride a bus for 90 minutes from South Philadelphia.
She was already was popular with her teachers and fellow classmates.
“I just thought she was such a great kid,” Sands said.
Her exploits have drawn interest around the globe.
Outside the United States, baseball rarely draws much interest on the sports pages. Yet Davis and the 2014 Little League World Series made headlines in England and Australia among others.
Ellen Siegel, one of the founders of the Taney Youth Baseball Association, said Davis and the team’s success Davis has turned things around for the group.
The association’s Facebook page went from 197 likes before the Little League World Series to more than 6,000 on Friday. It started a Twitter account on Aug. 11 and it’s already topped 8,000 followers.
“It’s all pretty astonishing,” Siegel said.
Even though Davis grabbed the world’s attention on the diamond, she actually prefers basketball. Someday she would like to play for the juggernaut University of Connecticut women’s program.
It’s probably unwise to bet against her.
AP International Sports Editor Simon Haydon in London, AP Sports Writer John Kekis in Syracuse and AP Writer Sean Carlin in Philadelphia contributed to this story.