Though her team's run at the Little League World Series ended Monday night, Maddy Freking — just the 19th girl to ever play in the tournament — left her mark on the history books. She was the first girl to take the field in the tournament since 2014, when Emma March and pitching phenom Mo'ne Davis both played. And Maddy was only the sixth girl (ever!) to pitch in the competition, which has been played since 1947 and open to girls since 1974.
Maddy, typically a second baseman, pitched in her second game of the tournament. The 12-year-old took the mound in a second inning jam: bases loaded and only one out, her team already down by eight. She coolly proceeded to strike out the first batter and expertly field a slow roller from the second one, making a heads-up, bare-hand throw to home to get the final out of the inning. Though her Coon Rapids-Andover, MN, team lost that game and the next one, eliminating them from the tournament, her skill under pressure turned heads around the country. Watching her play was the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Clint Hurdle, who told ESPN that she had major skills. "It's been fun to watch her . . . we've seen their team play multiple times and she's always involved in some kind of action."
Maddy told ESPN that her favorite baseball player is Jackie Robinson, admiring both his undeniable skill at her position (he also played second base) and his strength in the face of adversity. To any girls who might be looking up to her as a role model, Maddy said, "I'd tell them to keep playing their game and always do their best."
Ahead, check out some of Maddy's highlights from the mound and the field. She'll be missed at this Little League World Series, but we're sure we haven't seen the last of her yet.