A 12-year-old Minnesota girl is making a big impact on the Little League World Series.
On Friday, Maddy Freking will take the field at the competition in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, becoming the first girl to play in the annual youth tournament since Mo’ne Davis made headlines (and a Sports Illustrated cover) in 2014.
It’s a major achievement, considering only 18 other girls have ever played the LLWS in the tournament’s 73-year history. Freking is now the 19th, and the second Minnesota girl ever to make the series.
Krissy Wendell was the first, playing in 2002. She went on to earn pair of Olympic medals as a hockey player, in 2002 and 2006.
Freking will play as a starting second baseman and pitcher for the Coon Rapids-Andover team, who were named the Midwest champions in qualifying rounds. They were originally scheduled to play against a team from Bowling Green, Kentucky (the Great Lakes regional champions) on Thursday, but rain postponed the game until Friday at 1 p.m. local time.
She told Minneapolis’ Fox affiliate earlier this month that getting to compete in the LLWS was “a dream come true.”
“Just to be there is really amazing,” she said.
“It’s cool that there are only a few other girls in Little League and I’m one of them who have made it this far,” she added to the Star-Tribune.
In addition to baseball, Freking also plays volleyball and basketball — though she told the Pioneer Press she likes baseball best because of all the traveling she gets to do.
“She’s a vacuum,” her coach, Greg Bloom, told the outlet. He’s been coaching her since she was 10, and called her the best defensive second baseman he’s ever seen.
As for the reaction she’s received, Freking is taking it all in stride.
“Some people say, ‘Woah,’ ” she said to the Pioneer Press. “Some think it’s cool, some not so much.”
And despite Davis — who will play softball at Hampton University in the spring — being an idol of hers, Freking isn’t seeking that type of fame.
Asked if the attention appeals to her, she said frankly, “Not so much.”
If it does, Bloom will be there to help. “She’s done well so far,” he explained. “We told her if it gets to be too much, just let us know, us coaches, and we’ll try to tell people to take a break. But I’ve warned her to expect to get a lot of attention. This doesn’t happen very often.”