By Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports | August 14, 2019 1:26 pm
There have only been 19 girls to play in the 72-year history of the Little League World Series. The most notable of them, of course, was Mo’ne Davis (from Philadelphia), who took the baseball world by storm during the 2014 tournament by pitching a shutout.
The most recent is now Maddy Freking, the starting second baseman for Coon Rapids-Andover (Minn.).
The 12-year-old Freking is the only female in competition this year and the first in half a decade. She’s known for her defensive prowess on the field.
Here she is turning a heads-up double-play on a highlight that made SportsCenter:
— Little League (@LittleLeague) August 10, 2019
Freking’s team reached the LLWS after storming back from a 5-1 deficit against Iowa last Saturday. Teammate Jameson Kuznia smacked a three-run home run in the top of the sixth inning to give Coon Rapids an 8-6 victory in the Midwest Regional final to send the team to Williamsport, Pa.
“It’s a dream coming true, just to be there is really amazing,” Freking told Fox 9 (Minn.)
Coon Rapids-Andover plays Bowling Green, Ky. in its first game of the LLWS on Thursday at 7 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2.
The first girl to play in Williamsport was Victoria Roche, who played for Brussels, Belgium. In 1974, the Little League Federal Charter was amended, allowing girls to play. Interestingly, one of the most memorable LLWS players, Krissy (Wendell) Pohl in 1994, also hails from Minnesota. Pohl went on to be the captain of the U.S. women’s hockey Olympic team.
Davis’ performance in the 2014 LLWS is the stuff of legends. She threw 14 strikeouts and only allowed three runs in 8 ⅓ innings.