Minnesota’s 12-year-old Maddy Freking on Sunday became the first girl to play at the Little League World Series in five years, and only the sixth female player to pitch in the tournament’s history.
The Little League Baseball World Series began Thursday, featuring 16 teams from around the world, including eight squads from the United States, playing a double-elimination, bracket-style tournament with the champion crowned August 25.
This year’s edition comes five years after Mo’ne Davis became a national sensation.
Davis, then a 13-year-old pitching phenom, became the first girl to throw a shutout in the Little League World Series. A Sports Illustrated cover, a meeting with the Obamas and a Spike Lee-directed documentary all followed.
At this year’s tournament, playing second base for Minnesota’s Coon Rapids/Andover team, Freking became the first girl to take part in the Little League World Series since Davis.
Freking is only 19th girl to take part in the 73-year history of the tournament.
Her manager, Greg Bloom, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “we told her if [the attention] gets to be too much, just let us know, us coaches, and we’ll try to tell people to take a break … but I’ve warned her to expect to get a lot of attention. This doesn’t happen very often.”
Freking just thinks “it’s cool.”
Coon Rapids/Andover has started the World Series strong, winning their first game on Friday 2-1 over the team representing the Great Lakes Region. Freking and her teammates will play again on Sunday.