SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- They always did describe her as the mother of the team. That got lost in the shuffle, of course, not the first image projected to the world of Mo'ne Davis. Maybe not the one that best served the story of ace pitcher, steely competitor, team leader and pioneer.
Women's sports advocates lauded her influence; professional athletes congratulated her as if she was one of them. And if you stacked up the newsprint alone that she covered over the past week, it would no doubt tower over and outweigh the 5-foot-4, 111-pound eighth grader.
But when her coach Alex Rice sifts through the memories of the Little League World Series, he will no doubt hold close the image of Davis consoling his son Jack, who had the final out of the Taney baseball run in a 6-5 loss to Chicago, which sent the Jackie Robinson West team to the U.S. finals against Nevada and eliminated Mo'ne's Philadelphia club.
"That's what she does," Rice said. "She reassures kids and props them up."
Davis threw a shutout in her first appearance last Friday, struck out six batters in 2? innings in her second start Wednesday, and gave America a new household first name.
She leaves Williamsport with 27,000 Twitter followers, talk-show bookings and a newfound taste of what celebrity is like.
"I knew she was terrific beforehand and what she went through just cements what an amazing young lady she is," Rice said.
It wasn't always fun, she admitted. Thursday afternoon, a few hours before the game's scheduled starting time of 7:30 p.m., Mo'ne and a teammate tried lining up at a concession stand outside the stadium and were instantly surrounded by well-meaning fans bearing camera phones and pens, all in the hope of securing evidence that they saw her, met her, took part in the phenomenon.
Politely declining, it was another instance for the tournament's "It" girl of how normalcy might be an elusive pursuit for a while.
But there was no denying she made an impact far beyond the Little League complex in Williamsport.
Pioneering tennis player legend and activist Billie Jean King, who owns World Team Tennis' Philadelphia Freedoms, observed the Mo'ne phenomenon with interest.
"Girls like Mo'ne get covered by the traditional media when they are in the male arena," King said Thursday night, referencing Annika Sorenstam playing in the PGA's Colonial Classic. "Otherwise they don't get coverage because 95 percent of the media is male. If she threw a shutout in the Little League Girls' World Series, nobody would care.
"It would be really great if we figured out how to get girls more access and opportunity and pathways to more leagues and more sports like boys."
Davis sparked discussion in several different arenas.
Aldon Morris, a sociologist at Northwestern University, said his differed from the view that Davis' story got too much attention.
"My view is she has deserved all the coverage she has received," Morris said. "What she is doing is very pioneering. To have a 13-year-old black girl, one of two girls in the tournament, and that she could be as poised as she is at her age in a male-dominated sport, is just very, very important and groundbreaking. ...