Her team may have been eliminated from the Little League Baseball World Series, but Maddy Freking can still count on being etched into the history books and remembered for inspiring girls everywhere.
Maddy, 12, is only the 19th girl to ever play in the series in its 72-year history. While that’s impressive enough, she can also add to her accolades being the sixth girl to ever pitch in the series.
“It’s an honor,” Maddy, who plays for Minnesota’s Coon Rapids-Andover team, told ESPN. “I also think it’s really cool to be, out of however many boys, the 19th girl to be here.”
She also told ESPN that she draws inspiration from her favorite baseball player Jackie Robinson and “how he was able to fight through everything, and people doubting him.”
On Sunday, Maddy ditched her normal position playing second base to take the pitcher’s mound during her team’s game against Virginia’s Loudoun South American Little League team. It was the first time a girl pitched during the LLWS since 2014 when Mo’ne Davis and Emma March both played.
With the bases loaded in the second inning, Maddy was able to get a big strikeout for the second out. She then made a great barehanded play on a slow roller and got a force out at home to get out of the jam.
Maddy’s impressive performance caught the attention of MLB Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle who compared her to New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard.
“The last time I saw that much blonde hair throwing that hard, it was Syndergaard,” he said during the game. “Maddy was bringing the heat.”
Her team lost the game to the Virginia team 11-0 and went on to play an elimination game Monday night against a team from River Ridge, Louisiana.
“For any little girls that are watching me, I’d tell them to keep playing their game and always do their best,” she told ESPN, which broadcasts the LLWS.
She hopes to inspires other girls, and she is well on her way if how quickly her team’s merchandise sold out from the LLWS gift shop Saturday is any indication.
“Minnesota merchandise is flying off the shelves,” a salesperson told ESPN. “Little girls have come in here asking for them.”
Maddy’s influence has even transcended baseball. Cheryl Reeve, who coaches the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, wore a jersey sporting Maddy’s name before a Lynx game on Friday.
Maddy’s team ended its run in the series with a 10-0 loss to the Louisiana team.
“I’m proud of each and everyone of you,” coach Greg Bloom could be heard telling the team after the game. “Hold your head high. I expect big things from you in the future.”
CNN’s Kevin Dotson contributed to this report.