Philadelphia honors Little League team with parade

PHILADELPHIA (AP) A youth baseball team whose star female pitcher and performance in the Little League World Series drew a wide following received a champion’s treatment in a parade Wednesday in downtown Philadelphia.

Hundreds of office workers and city residents lined a major thoroughfare to cheer on the Taney Dragons and their pitcher Mo’ne Davis, who made it onto the cover of Sports Illustrated.

The Dragons represented the mid-Atlantic region in the World Series. They won their first two games before being eliminated by eventual U.S. champion Jackie Robinson West from Chicago and the Las Vegas’ Mountain Ridge.

Mo’ne became the first female pitcher to win a game in the series’ 68-year history, and her last start drew record-setting TV ratings for the series.

”They did a good job of bringing the city together,” said Jerome Belo, 55, who on a day off made it a point to be on hand to watch the start of the parade. ”They took the focus off the negative in the city.”

The city has been scarred this summer by a number of tragedies, including the deaths of four children in a rowhouse fire and the deaths of a mother and her three young children in an accident caused by carjackers. Philadelphia has also been struggling to cope with a school funding crisis.

The team was to travel about four miles by float from the downtown business district to a park in south Philadelphia, where a rally was planned. Musical performances were to be held along the route.

The Philadelphia Phillies also planned to host a pre-game tribute to the team at Citizens Bank Park.

After the team was eliminated last week by Chicago, it received a hero’s welcome by the city on Sunday as they were greeted by cheering crowds in Love Park.