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.
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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.