Basketball is first love for female Little League star

On the basketball court or the baseball diamond, Mo'ne Davis, 13, feels right at home.       LAKEISHA McLEAN
On the basketball court or the baseball diamond, Mo'ne Davis, 13, feels right at home.       LAKEISHA McLEAN
Posted: August 06, 2014

BRISTOL, Conn. - Since Mo'ne Davis arrived in Bristol for the Mid-Atlantic Regional, only Little League rules have been able to stop the Taney star.

One day after Davis shut down Newark (Del.) National on the mound to help the Dragons improve to 2-0, she had hoped to visit the University of Connecticut on Monday. The 13-year-old from South Philadelphia is not just a baseball star. She views herself as a basketball player and hopes to play for a college such as powerhouse UConn.

But the off-day plans had to be put on hold. Taney was told that Little League's rules allow players to leave Little League facilities on trips only if the entire team goes.

Taney, the state champion from Center City, advanced in the tournament Monday without playing a game. Taney earned a spot in Friday's semifinals when Newark National beat Northwest Washington (D.C.), 9-4. The Philadelphia team will play its third tournament game Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Colonie, N.Y.

Despite her baseball dominance, basketball is Davis' favorite sport. She plays point guard at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy.

Her stepfather said Davis wanted to try out for the high school girls' team as a seventh grader at Springside but was not allowed. She hopes to make the high school team as an eighth grader.

Even though Davis plays baseball with the boys, she doesn't mind playing basketball with the girls.

"I don't really mind playing with anyone in basketball," she said. "Like I can play with grown-ups or little kids, I just want to get better each time I play and just have fun."

On Monday, she played a pickup basketball game with the boys on her team. After Taney won the Pennsylvania championship last week, Davis' mother drove her straight to a basketball camp in the Poconos.

For the time being, though, baseball is Davis' focus. She did not take well to softball and played for her school's baseball team in seventh grade.

Davis is one of two girls in the regional, and her 10 strikeouts Sunday were more than any other pitcher had recorded through the first two games.

But what about when the boys grow and she won't be able to play baseball with them anymore? Davis said she will hang up her cleats forever, but she won't be discouraged.

There's always another game of basketball to play.


mcohen@phillynews.com

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