Flame-throwing female steals the show

Published 8:29 am Tuesday, September 2, 2014

When I was asked by my editor, the renowned Cal Bryant – a writer whom I hold in very high regard – to do a “column” I thought he was referring to working up a story the McDowell Columns Building at Chowan University.

You have to understand that much of my admiration for “Mr. B”, as I call him, is that he can fall out of bed and find a couple of thousand words of prose; while I on the other hand find it a struggle to put fingers to keyboard for anything beyond, say 350 words.

Much of that is because of my background in broadcast news where I spent the better part of thirty-plus years before my words began to grace the pages of this newspaper. You see, on the airwaves they tell you to keep it short and succinct. “Bovine aeronautics” is what they encourage you to say in lieu of: “the cow jumped over the moon”, if you get my drift.

In any case, I’ve found the two best rules to follow in the “column” realm are: (1) have an opinion; it doesn’t have to be undisputed, but you should always be willing and able to defend it; and (2) write what you know; or in my case what you THINK you know. Since I never considered myself the “brightest bulb on the Christmas tree” that last part ought to be easy.

So you bloggers out there, please have mercy, but I think I might get the hang of this yet. And English teachers show a little compassion when I dangle a few participles and split way too many verbs.

Most times I just want to take a topic or two and just share a few random thoughts with you.  Who knows, maybe at the end of these pieces we both might learn something and be all the better for it.

Now that I’ve got my insecurity out of the way, here goes written column #1:

Who’s that Girl?: Did you catch Mo’Ne Davis, the flame-thrower from Philadelphia at the Little League World Series the last couple of weeks?  Mo’Ne, the 5’4” 104 pound thirteen-year-old, became the first female pitcher to win a LLWS game, and did it by hurling that smoking fastball.

Back in my all too brief youth baseball career, which is further back that I care to share with you right now, we never had girls on our teams other than at recreation in grade school. More than a few of them could’ve not only played Little League, they could’ve qualified for championship-caliber mixed martial arts (don’t ask me how I know!).

I won’t toss out missives about how revolutionary and ground-breaking Mo’Ne’s accomplishment in Williamsport, PA was, and is, but right now I just sit back and pour on a little admiration and share some things I noticed in watching her braids fly as fast as her fastball on the outside corner.

Davis got to take advantage of the high strike that gets called in Little League baseball by throwing a fastball that sat in the high 60s and sometimes touched 70 mph. She offset that with one of those nice fall-off-the-table curveballs that she smartly used when she got ahead in the count.

I hope Mo’Ne had fun this summer because it never showed much on her face (game-face?). I hate it when kids feel all the fun is drained out of something every youngster should love and it becomes a chore or like a job.

Mo’Ne also shared in some of those do-I-really-have-to-be-here interviews that her best sport is basketball and she one day wants to play for Geno Auriemma at the University of Connecticut. I understand that because those Lady Huskies do have that wall full of NCAA championship trophies, but I want to try to work on getting her to change that preference to an ACC school.  Maybe the hook out there for you future (ACC?) coaches: recruit her to play in two sports.

Doing a little digging I found out that back in 1994 a young lady by the name of Krissy Wendell from Minnesota became the first girl to start at catcher for a Little League World Series team, and after college at the University of Minnesota she went on to captain the U.S. national hockey team and win two Olympic medals.

So maybe the moral of all this fantasizing that I have is even if you don’t see Mo’Ne’s name called in the 2019 MLB draft, you might see her in the 2020 Women’s Final Four.

Thanks for letting me share with you.  Now get out there with that glove and play a little game of catch with your daughter.

Gene Motley is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at gene.motley@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7211.