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SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) — An African-American female pitcher from Philadelphia and a team from Chicago have created a buzz at the Little League World Series.
Philly’s Mo’ne Davis and the Jackie Robinson West squad are the talk of the series; professional athletes and politicians alike are following their every move. They’ve Skyped with the Los Angeles Dodgers, had shout-outs from NBA star Kevin Durant on Twitter and the Pennsylvania governor was in South Williamsport on Friday.
Davis, one of two girls in this year’s tournament, is the unquestioned fan favorite. The crowd cheers her every pitch and at-bat. Canada’s Emma March also felt the support before her team was eliminated Saturday.
The all-black Chicago squad shows there is still interest in the game in urban communities, even though African-Americans accounted for only about 8 percent of major league teams’ opening day rosters this year.
Paul Graziano, an LLWS press box announcer since 1980, has never seen this level of excitement so early in the tournament.
“We always got good crowds on championship weekends, but I’ve seen more growth and more people coming now for early games,” Graziano said. “You’ve got two girls and a team from the inner city … I think it will just bolster” Little League, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
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