In the opening days of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., young black ballplayers dominated in a sport that doesn’t always get a lot of love from the African-American community.
Friday, 13-year-old pitching sensation Mo’Ne Davis of Philadelphia, became the first girl to throw a shutout in LLWS history. She struck out eight and only allowed two hits, helping lead her Philly team to a 4-0 win over a team from Nashville. This was her second shutout in a row.
On Thursday, Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West Little League team, an all-black squad from the city’s South Side, won its Little League World Series game 12-2. If Jackie Robinson West can win on Sunday and make it to the championship round next weekend, they have a shot at becoming the first all-African-American team to win the Little League World Series championship, according to CBS.
The team, as well as Mo’Ne, have become the talk of Williamsport and are helping open up a broader discussion about blacks in baseball, according to the New York Times.
Baseball has long been overshadowed by basketball and football in the African-American community and the number of black players in Major League Baseball have been in a steady decline—team rosters are 8.1 percent African American, down from a high of 19 percent in the mid-1980s, according to the Associated Press.
“The fact that people don’t realize that there is a black team means that people are under the assumption that black kids aren’t playing baseball. Hopefully this could be something that sheds light both in the African-American community and the non-African-American community.” New York Mets’ outfielder Curtis Granderson told the Times.
Jackie Robinson West, representing the Great Lakes region, and Mo’Ne’s Taney Dragons, playing for the Mid-Atlantic, take the field again on Sunday (because she pitched Friday, Mo’Ne will not pitch Sunday).