She was once in Taney girl's shoes

Mo'ne Davis
Mo'ne Davis
Posted: August 11, 2014

BRISTOL, Conn. - Meghan Sims knows how Mo'ne Davis feels. Ten years ago, she was the girl at the forefront of a boys' sport.

Sunday at 6 p.m., Taney's Davis will be the starting pitcher for the state champions from Center City against Newark National (Del.) in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Little League final, the one game standing between Taney and a berth in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

A win would be historically significant. No American girl has played in the Little League World Series since 2004.

Sims was that girl 10 years ago, the starting first baseman on the Owensboro Southern Little League team from Kentucky. Girls have been allowed to play Little League baseball since 1974, but girls at the organization's highest level have been few and far between.

Sims is now 22 years old, but still treasures her achievement. Posters from her Little League days adorn her bedroom walls.

"It's one of the highlights of my life," Sims said in a phone interview. "When I'm telling people what I've achieved, that's always one thing that I list because nobody else really gets to do that. Nobody gets to play with Japanese players, European players. You don't get to do that every day."

After her Little League days were over, Sims came to a crossroad when she realized she couldn't play baseball with the boys anymore. She transitioned to softball and started for Owensboro Catholic High School in eighth grade.

At first she loathed softball, much like Davis did when she tried the sport in sixth grade.

"Oh my gosh, I hated it so much," Sims said. "Typically, you think of guys vs. girls. It's kind of like what you would think."

The girls she played with didn't care as much as she did about the sport. They didn't love the game. But as Sims' talent grew, so did her fondness for playing softball.

She was good enough to earn a scholarship to Murray State in Kentucky, where she played for two-and-a-half years before deciding she needed more time to focus on her nursing degree. She is on track to graduate in December.

Sims is surprised and somewhat disappointed that no girl has played in Williamsport since she did. But that could end this week.

Many think Davis has the talent to buck the trend. When Taney played Newark National last Sunday, she struck out 10 batters in 52/3 innings.

"I have not seen that, even at the World Series level. I've never seen a female pitch like that," said Corey Wright, who has been the assistant East Region director for Little League for 15 years.

Even Davis, always humble, acknowledged the significance of making it to Williamsport. Still, she wants the focus to be on her team.

"To be the first American girl in the Little League World Series [in 10 years] would be very cool. But then you just want to block everything out, like all of the people there, because it's not just about you. It's about the whole team," Davis said Thursday. "And with the team I have now, it's going to be a wonderful ride."

Nobody knows better than Sims that Davis will cherish this ride for the rest of her life.


mcohen@phillynews.com

@MaxACohen

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