Mo'ne Davis has been many things at the 2014 Little League World Series More than anything? A cool 13-year-old kid.
2 of 10Albert Chen
The Teenage Ace
Mo'ne Davis, the star pitcher and infielder of the Taney Little League team from Philadelphia, will be starting the eighth grade in a week weeks and carries a hot-pink backpack everywhere she goes. She also happens to throw a 70-mph fastball and the most-talked-about curve east of Clayton Kershaw.
3 of 10Albert Chen
The first time Mo'ne put on a baseball glove was when she was seven years old. Five years later, she's the talk of not only the Little League World Series but the whole sports world. After throwing a complete-game, two-hot shutout against an all-boys team from Nashville last Friday, Mo'ne received tweets from everyone from Michelle Obama to Billie Jean King to Kevin Durant to Andrew McCutchen to Lil Wayne, and TV invites from Jimmy Fallon, Ellen, and Queen Latifah.
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Mo'ne's reputation began to grow as she dominated boys in every sport she played. She's also the center midfielder on the Anderson Monarchs' boys' soccer team, though her first love is basketball: her dream is to play point guard for UConn. Says on her coaches, Elliot Taylor-Hughes, "Everyone's seen her pitch. Well, I promise you, she's fives times better at basketball."
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Average Size, Gigantic Talent
Mo'ne is not a physical freak — listed at 5'4" and about 111 pounds, she's about average among her teammates. She's a dominant pitcher mostly because of her flawless mechanics.
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Her braids dangle behind her and fall below her belt. She glares, rarely cracks a smile, stands tall on the mound and tugs at her belt. She has a gunslinger's confidence.
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She pitches exclusively from the stretch, with a repeatable delivery — her arm is as loose as a rag doll's when she slingshots it forward, but it's always from the same arm angle and slot.
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Mo'ne has become so many things to so many people: a feminist meme, a totem for inner-city baseball, your 10-year-old niece's new role model, your 10-year-old nephew's new role model.
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"To be honest, I never thought I'd be famous for baseball," Mo'ne says. "I just thought I was going to play baseball in the summer, have fun with my friends, then go back to school this fall. But now, because everything got so big and because we're doing well, I do feel like a role model."
10 of 10Albert Chen
But Still a Kid
One night the Taney players were forced to leave their dorm complex after a water-main break and move in with their parents at the hotel. Mo'ne was hanging out in her mom's room with teammate Zion Spearman, her best friend. "We were joking, and we were laughing," she says, and before they knew it, it was 1:30 in the morning. "I kind of forgot we were here. It was just fun to hang out like normal, you know?"
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