First girl to pitch a shutout in the Little League World Series
"Mo'ne Davis is an American former Little League Baseball pitcher from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was one of two girls who played in the 2014 Little League World Series and was the first girl to earn a win and to pitch a shutout in Little League World Series history. She was the 18th girl overall to play, the sixth to get a hit, and the first African-American girl to play in the Little League World Series. She was also the first Little League baseball player to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a Little League player...
At age 13, Davis threw a 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) fastball, while the average velocity in her age class was 63 miles per hour (101 km/h) to 73 miles per hour (117 km/h) range. According to Will Femia, a 71 miles per hour (114 km/h) pitch (which was clocked during her August 15, 2014 game) is equivalent in reaction time at the plate for a batter to a 93 miles per hour (150 km/h) pitch on a full sized diamond. She also threw a curve ball that gave "opposing hitters fits".
Davis relied more on the precise mechanics of pitching rather than strength. According to John Brenkus of ESPN, Davis had a wind up and release point that never varied by more than 3 degrees. Although her arm was 15% shorter than a major league pitcher's arm, she was able to deliver balls at over 70 miles per hour (110 km/h), due to the efficiency of the kinetic linking of her body parts. Her pitching was compared to the throwing motion of major league pitcher Jonathan Papelbon. At the end of her throwing motion, her arm was moving forward at peak angular velocity of 2500˚/sec, which was over 80% of the peak angular velocity (3000˚/sec) of typical major league pitchers...
Davis was the fourth American girl and 18th overall to play in the Little League World Series, out of almost 9,000 participants since the tournament began in 1947. The 2014 Little League World Series was also the first in which two girls participated. Davis was also the sixth girl to get a hit in Little League World Series history.
On August 10, 2014, Davis pitched a three-hit 8–0 shutout over Newark National Little League of Delaware to get into the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Little League World series...
On August 15, 2014, Davis was the first girl in Little League World Series history to pitch a winning game for the Taney Dragons and earned the win, and she was also the first girl to pitch a shutout in Little League postseason history. She led her team to a 4–0 victory over Nashville. She pitched six innings, struck out eight batters, and gave up two infield hits. By the fifth inning, the Nashville pitcher had reached the 85-pitch limit in Little League baseball, but Davis had only thrown 44 pitches. In the sixth inning, she struck out the first two batters, and the third batter was at the full count when she struck him out. After the game, Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett predicted that some day she would play in professional baseball." (1)
The mechanics of Mo'ne
There is immense pressure on girls to switch to softball before they reach puberty, citing physiological differences that lead girls to more success with the softball underhand pitch and smaller fields. Girls who choose not to make the switch often find they lack female leagues to join and must fight for a spot on the boys' teams. Even after being allowed on the team, female baseball players are more often asked to prove that they deserve a place on the team.
According to John Brenkus at ESPN, Mo'ne relies more on precise mechanics than speed. Her wind up and release point never varies by more than 3 degrees. While her arm is 15% shorter than a MLB pitcher's, she could move her arm forward at a "peak angular velocity of 2500˚/sec, which was over 80% of the peak angular velocity (3000˚/sec) of typical major league pitchers."
And yet, Mo'ne still isn't shy on speed. Here is an abridged version of the math, completed by Will Femia for MSNBC, explaining why Mo'ne's fastball is so deadly.
"The distance from the pitcher to home under MLB regulations is 60 feet, six inches.
71 miles per hour is 374880 feet per hour (5280 feet in a mile), which is 4498560 inches per hour, which is 74976 inches per minute, which, dividing by 60 one more time, is 1249.6 inches per second.
46 feet is 552 inches.
So 552 inches / 1249.6 inches per second = 0.441741357234315 seconds for a 71 mph Mo’ne Davis fastball to reach home plate. (I’m doing this on a calculator, so I’m just going to copy/paste the full decimal instead of rounding.)
Now, 60’6” = 726 inches.
726 inches / 0.441741357234315 seconds = 1643.495652173913 inches per second, which is 136.9579710144927 feet per second which, divide by 5280, is 0.0259390096618357 miles per second…
…or, x 60 seconds in a minute = 1.556340579710145 miles per minute…
…or, x 60 minutes in an hour = 93.38043478260869 miles per hour is how fast a MLB pitch has to be to reach home plate in the time it takes for a 71 mph Little League pitch to reach home plate.
So a 71 mph Mo’ne Davis Little League fastball is the equivalent of a 93 mph MLB fastball in terms of how much reaction time the batter has before he (or she) whiffs it."