The number of girls who have played in the Little League World Series is still so few, it’s countable by fingers and toes.
That’s steadily growing as Coon Rapids-Andover (Minnesota) starting second baseman Maddy Freking is the 19th girl to play in the 72-year history of the LLWS and only the sixth American. More honestly, it’s a 45-year history since the Little League Federal Charter wasn’t amended to allow girls until 1974.
Freking, 12, is the only female playing this year in the 16-team field and the first since Mo’ne Davis broke into the national lexicon in 2014.
First girl since Mo’ne to play in LLWS
Coon Rapids-Andover defeated teams from Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri to represent the Midwest. The team is the third team from the state to reach the LLWS.
Freking turned a slick double play that made it to SportsCenter in the regional final, an 8-6 win against the Iowa team. The team trailed, 5-1, in the bottom of the fourth with the bases loaded.
"It’s a dream coming true, just to be there is really amazing," Freking told FOX 9.
Her teammate, Jameson Kuznia, is also gaining notoriety. His three-run homer that gave the team the lead in the sixth of the Midwest final made the rounds on Twitter.
Coon Rapids-Andover plays Bowling Green, Kentucky, in the first round at approximately 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Who was the first girl in the LLWS?
Freking joins 18 other girls who have played in the tournament, starting with Victoria Roche in 1984. She played for Brussels, Belguim. The first American girl to play was Victoria Brucker for Eastview Little League (California) in 1989.
Krissy Wendell (now Wendell-Pohl), one of the most memorable from the LLWS, played in 1994 for Brooklyn Center (Minnesota). She captained the U.S. women’s hockey national team, winning silver at the 2002 Olympics, gold at the 2005 World Championships and bronze at the 2006 Olympics.
Girls are typically shuffled into softball by the time they reach double-digits in age. Most often, it’s because there is nowhere to go for them in baseball and the battle just to play can be exhausting. They also have the best chance at a college scholarship by translating their game to the softball diamond.
What is Mo’ne Davis doing?
Davis dominated the 2014 Little League World Series chatter as a pitcher with the Taney Dragons from Philadelphia. She became the first girl to throw a shutout in LLWS history. Over two games, the regional final and first-round win, she had 14 strikeouts and five hits allowed for back-to-back shutouts.
Davis committed to Hampton University, a historically black university, in southeast Virginia to play softball and will start there within weeks. (Yes, time flies.)
"I wanted to do something for the next four years ... to have fun, and softball was it," Davis told Sports Illustrated’s Shemar Woods for a “Where Are They Now” piece last month. "Nowadays sports are a little too serious. ... I just try to have as much fun as possible."
Davis said she wants to host her own TV show one day and interview athletes.
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