The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

For girls playing baseball, Little League World Series isn't the end of the line

  • Print

Two girls will be competing in the Little League World Series for just the third time in the tournament's 68-year history.

And their playing days don't have to end there.

Unlike many of the 16 girls that have preceded them, there's a future for Philadelphia's Mo'ne Davis and Canada's Emma March to pitch beyond the fields of South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. They could play in high school and beyond.

A 17-year-old female high school pitcher from Florida recently threw batting practice to the Tampa Bay Rays and another woman is pitching in the NCAA.

Davis, a 13-year-old, has been dominant leading up to the series. She threw a complete-game and only gave up three hits in the team's victory in the regional final last week to reach South Williamsport.

Davis said girls should be given a chance to play baseball beyond Little League if they want to.

"You never know what could happen," Davis said.

March and Davis will make their LLWS debuts on Friday.

Kathryn Johnston was the first female player to appear on a Little League roster in 1950. A rule prohibiting girls from playing was passed in the 1950s, but that was overturned in 1974.

Little League doesn't keep track of how many girls play baseball, but most tend to gravitate toward softball as they get older, said Lance Van Auken, executive director of the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum. He said it's very rare to see girls competing in baseball beyond Little League, but added that it "doesn't mean it's not happening out there."

Chelsea Baker, a 17-year-old high school knuckleball pitcher in Florida, recently threw batting practice to the Tampa Bay Rays. She said she has received interest from colleges, but no offers yet.

"I tried to play softball, but it wasn't the same for me," Baker said. "My next goal would be to play college baseball."

Billy Connors, a former pitching coach for the Yankees, Royals, Cubs and Mariners, said girls who work hard and receive proper coaching and development "absolutely" can have success on a higher level than Little League. He cited Baker as an example.

"She's doing it," Connors, a member of the Schenectady, New York, team that won the 1954 Little League World Series, said of Baker. "She's a pretty good pitcher."

Ghazaleh Sailors, a pitcher at NCAA Division III University of Maine at Presque Isle, said that she was harassed in high school for playing baseball. She said she never thought of playing softball and doesn't want to be known as the only female NCAA baseball player.

"They think I'm a gimmick," Sailors said. "I'm not here to be a gimmick, I'm here to play baseball."

Van Auken said the publicity surrounding this year's tournament could lead some girls to stick around in baseball longer, rather than move to softball.

He cited Davis' 70-mph fastball as a talent that could lead her to success in baseball in the future.

"That's a really good fastball for anybody in the Little League World Series," Van Auken said.

___

Carlin reported from Philadelphia. Associated Press John Christoffersen in Bristol, Connecticut, and AP Sports Writer Fred Goodall in Tampa, Florida, contributed to this report.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Bowman talks "job number one" in News Café interview

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A young gosling flaps his wings after taking a bath in the duck pond at St Vital Park Tuesday morning- - Day 21– June 12, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A one day old piglet glances up from his morning feeding at Cedar Lane Farm near Altona.    Standup photo Ruth Bonneville Winnipeg Free Press

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who has been the biggest disappointment on the Jets to start the season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google