Mo’ne Davis has been good business for ESPN.
At 13, Davis belongs to a short list of female players to participate in the Little League World Series -- not to mention the 5-foot-4, 111-pound eighth-grader can hurl a baseball more than 70 MPH.
Sports Illustrated put her on the cover of its magazine this week -- a first for a Little League baseball player -- and on Wednesday she helped set a ratings record for ESPN.
More than 5.59 million viewers tuned in to watch Davis take the mound against Las Vegas, an 8-1 loss in which she pitched only 2 1/3 innings, marking the highest ratings for a LLWS game ever on the network.
The previous network record was set in 2001, when more than 3.3 million tuned in to watch Oceanside, Calif., play Bronx, N.Y.
Unfortunately, in front of a crowd of 34,128 fans at Howard J. Lamade Stadium in South Williamsport, Pa., and millions more watching across the country, Davis endured her worst game of the tournament.
She gave up three runs on six hits while recording six strikeouts in the loss, which sent Philadelphia’s team to an elimination match Thursday against Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West team.
Philadelphia lost, 6-5.
Had Davis’ team won, she would have had one more chance to take the mound in a rematch against Las Vegas for the U.S. championship, and possibly set a another ratings record for ESPN.
Davis pitched two shutouts for the Taney Dragons while striking out 14 batters and scattering five hits in her first two starts of the tournament.
“To be honest, I never thought I’d be famous for baseball,” she told Sports Illustrated earlier this week. “I want to play basketball, and I could also do both basketball and baseball -- but I really want to play basketball.”
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