Former LLWS Star Mo'ne Davis Is Making Her Mark In Softball
In 2014, Mo’ne Davis took the sports world by storm.
Pitching for Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons in the Little League World Series, the then-13-year-old Davis made history as the first African American girl to pitch in the LLWS and the first girl to pitch a shutout and win a game.
Davis tossed an impressive 70 mph fastball at the top of her baseball career that left viewers in awe. She instantly became a household name to everyone who knew the game of baseball.
Breaking the glass ceiling at such a young age, Davis graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, wrote a memoir and won an ESPY Award all before reaching the age of 15. Through all the noise and having the pressure of the world on her, she remained calm and grateful for her experiences that one magical summer.
“It was a lot,” Davis said. “It had its pros, it had its cons, but I just really wanted to get out there with my teammates and make the most of it and make some memories that will last a lifetime, friendships that will last a lifetime. It was a lot, but I feel like the people around me helped keep me as calm as possible and made sure that I was having fun.”
Once her youth baseball career ended, she began finding her passions in other sports. She balanced being a three-sport athlete in high school to keep herself active and her love of sports alive.
After an ankle injury prevented her from continuing her basketball career, she shifted her complete focus to the dirt once again. This time, she found herself making her mark in softball.
Going from one diamond to another is a big transition. But, for an athlete as talented as Davis, the transition came naturally to her. The biggest difference overall was the adjustment to softball's atmosphere.
“It wasn’t too bad. It was just a faster-pace game,” Davis said. “There was a lot more energy throughout the game that I wasn’t used to because baseball you don’t really cheer that much, but here there is screaming from the first pitch to the last pitch… I’m still learning to this day, just making myself a better person and better player.”
While at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Davis was a three-year varsity player and went on to win a softball state championship. She began to see the potential of continuing to play during her college years.
Once it came time to make her college decision, Davis drew her attention to Hampton University, a historically Black university in Virginia. From being the only girl in baseball to playing the white-dominant sport of softball and then becoming a Hampton Pirate, she knew she would no longer be the minority on her team. She would instead be a part of the majority.
“I wanted to play with people that look like me,” Davis said. “Girls that have similar backgrounds that I can relate to on a deeper level. Just going to practice every day and seeing people that look like me makes me happy. This sport is also a white-dominant sport, so having these Black girls around me is just a good feeling.”
Along with wanting to play with players who relate to her, Davis also decided to attend Hampton University for its journalism school, as she has plans to pursue a career in sports broadcasting and eventually host her own show. In the summer of 2021, she got her foot in the door serving as an analyst for ESPN during the Little League World Series and calling games for the DC Grays.
“I just have to be around sports no matter what,” Davis said. “So, that is what I wanted to do growing up, just be around sports. Going the journalism route, I feel like I can still be a part of sports.”
She knows that her experiences on and off the field will help her in her future career. Players see the game differently than those looking from the stands, and Davis knows her perspective will help her in the long run.
Davis is currently competing in just her second season with Hampton softball and first full season due to Hampton suspending last year’s spring sports because of COVID-19.
Staying true to her overhand throwing roots, Davis plays shortstop for the Pirates. Though she is no longer in the commanding position as a pitcher, she still plays a big part in being a leader for her team.
In her shortened 2020 freshman campaign, Davis finished third on the team with 77 chances and 46 putouts. She closed the shortened season with a .333 batting average and eight RBIs. So far this season, Davis has posted 14 RBIs and 58 putouts.
After having two years of her college softball playing career disrupted, Davis’s primary focus this year is keeping up with her team's goals.
“Playing as hard as we can, win or lose,” Davis said. “Not giving up throughout the game, fighting until the end and just having fun and making memories.”
Though years have gone by since her LLWS debut, Davis has continued to mature in all aspects of her life because of the summer of 2014. She stands tall as a leader for the Pirates and continues to find inspiration in the sport she has grown to love.
“(Softball is) a fun sport to watch,” Davis said. “Seeing all those top-level girls and women, seeing what they do, it inspires you to do the same. It’s grown a lot and it’s a challenging sport. You are always going to continue growing to be better, which is what I love to do.”