Little League World Series: Davis is first girl to throw shutout
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — More than six decades after Kathryn “Tubby” Johnston Massar cut off her braids, tucked her hair under her cap and became the first girl to play Little League baseball, she’s delighted to see two in this year’s Little League World Series.
“It’s truly amazing. I’m very happy to see girls playing,” said Massar, 78, of Yuba City, Calif.
Canada’s Emma March and Philadelphia’s Mo’ne Davis Friday became the 17th and 18th girls to play in the tournament. It is only the third time in the series’ 68-year history that two girls are playing in the same series.
Davis continued to impress. She threw a two-hitter to help Philadelphia beat Nashville 4-0. Davis had eight strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter.
Davis, who received a noticeably louder reception than any other player during introductions, said she noticed plenty of girls younger than her in the audience. The applause heightened significantly when Davis struck out the final batter, becoming the first girl to throw a shutout in Little League World Series history.
“It’s very unreal. I never thought at the age of 13 I would be a role model,” Davis said. “Hopefully more girls play Little League.”
March did not fare as well.
Batting cleanup ahead of her brother — Evan — and playing first base, she went hitless Friday in Canada’s 4-3 loss to Mexico.
But March created some excitement when she stepped into the batter’s box.
She drove a long fly ball to right field in the fourth inning that the crowd thought might be a home run. However, the hit sailed foul into the stands. Then in the top of the fifth, March stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and Canada down by two runs. After working the count to 2-2, she struck out looking on a pitch that caught the outside corner.
As March trotted back to the dugout, the crowd let the umpire know its opinion of the call as boos reigned down from the stands.
Massar, slated to throw out the first pitch at one of Monday’s games, believes more girls will start to play in Little League and beyond.
Massar played in 1950, leading to a rule barring girls from playing. That rule was overturned in 1974. The self-described “trailblazer” said she celebrates her role in history.
“It’s something I’m proud of,” she said. “Why not play baseball with the boys?”