Mo'ne Davis, a 13-year-old, 111-pound meteor, is streaking through the stratosphere of social media and the Little League World Series with the Taney Dragons of Philadelphia.
The Dragons play Las Vegas Wednesday night in Williamsport, Pa., trying to inch closer to the United States championship. Admit it: You want to watch this girl continue to soar above a boys' world. So seemingly does the nation as she will soon adorn the cover of Sports Illustrated.
"While on vacation last week, I was watching her highlights with my 9-year-old daughter in one arm and my 8-year-old in the other," former UConn All-American Rebecca Lobo said. "But I'll want my 5-year-old son to watch, as well. It is good for both boys and girls to see that females, at a certain age, can compete in sports with the boys."
Davis said she wants to play for Geno Auriemma and UConn, the home of nine national championships, before heading into the WNBA.
"I want to go to UConn and be the point guard on the basketball team. That's like my dream and then go into the WNBA," Davis told ESPN last week. "That's for Geno. Geno has to know."
Auriemma knows. A Philadelphia guy at his core, he reached out to Davis earlier this week, a phone call that left the girl speechless.
"It was really fun," Davis said Tuesday of her conversation with Auriemma. "I was actually very shocked and surprised. He told me he was watching the games. That I should keep it up. And that I needed to get a couple of hits."
When asked about her SI cover shot, she responded: "Now, it's baseball. Next, hopefully, it will be me in a UConn jersey."
With long braids cascading down her back, and pristine mechanics on the mound that yield fastballs consistently in the 70s, Davis has helped lead to her team into the depths of round-robin play in a tournament that turns 75 years old this season.
This does not happen every day. According to Little League, only 18 girls have been among approximately 9,000 players who have participated in its World Series. And Davis is just the fourth American girl.
And if the sight of a confident girl whiffing a bunch of boys wasn't compelling enough, we now know her aspirations are much higher. Davis, at her core, is a basketball player who styles her game after Golden State guard Stephen Curry and idolizes Maya Moore and Skylar Diggins.
"I think this girl has a ton of confidence and her teammates clearly back her up which probably helps tremendously," said Jessica Moore, the former UConn and WNBA center. "I think my 13-year-old self would have been nervous for the first pitch and then settle into the game."
Moore, the former UConn star now playing with the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA, said Tuesday she was honored by Davis' affection and would offer her advice and encouragement about what's coming next.
"It's been an amazing story to follow," Moore said. "She is definitely standing out because of her ability at such a young age. For me as a middle-schooler, I was just dreaming, trying to work hard, get on competitive teams so I could get better so I could have the future I wanted.
"I would ask her not to look to far ahead; dream, but always work and put yourself in a competitive environment and surround yourself with quality people that will look out for you. She has a lot of people excited about Little League and I just want her to keep having fun."
NCAA rules prohibit Auriemma from saying anything publicly about Davis as it might be construed a recruiting violation. But who really knows what the future may hold come 2019-20?
"She seems like a great kid," said Swin Cash, the former UConn All-American who has won Olympic gold with Auriemma and has enjoyed a long WNBA career. "Give credit to her parents for helping her to remain humble through this process.
"I think it's awesome she wants to play in WNBA and go to UConn. So I would say unless Geno messes up the home visit you can count her in for the class of 2020 or something. But you would have to ask him about coaching someone more famous than him."
Tamika Williams, who came to UConn with Cash, Sue Bird and Asjha Jones in 1998 and won two national championships, said she'd love to be there the day Davis showed up on campus.
"Yeah, she can walk into his office and say, 'And I am from Philadelphia, not Norristown [Auriemma's hometown], you know,' " Williams said. "And people have been talking about me for the last four years."
Diana Taurasi, perhaps UConn's all-time greatest UConn player, said Tuesday that Davis' knowing enough to offer the Huskies a national shoutout told her things have changed.
"When I was 13 years old, I couldn't have even given you the name of a college," Taurasi said. "That's how different it all is now with social media and ESPN. Everybody knows about everything, even a little 13-year-old. That's pretty cool."
Davis, who goes to school at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, usually shows up at baseball practice wearing basketball socks, basketball shorts and a T-shirt from a basketball camp. She had the option of playing AAU basketball this summer, but passed it up for one last shot on the diamond.
"I just didn't play this year because I would only play a year up, which I already do for basketball and I already do that for school," Davis told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I wanted to play baseball since it's my last year on those small fields. I could get as many home runs as I could."
And why not? Kathryn Johnston Massar, now 78 and living in California, was the first female player to appear on a Little League roster in 1950, but a rule prohibiting girls from playing was soon passed and stayed in effect until 1974.
Little League doesn't keep track of the specific number of girls who play baseball, but acknowledges most move to softball or other sports when they get older.
Davis' run has captivated her city.
"She has been a true star," said John Quinn, sports editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "She has charisma, wise beyond her years, sharp, and yet humble, deflecting praise.
"She starts Wednesday night. You won't even know the Phillies are playing."
Her team's game against Texas drew explosive ratings on ESPN. But even more than her talent, it's the composure and assuredness of her personality that makes it all seem even cooler.
"Whatever she is accomplishing, just add an entirely new dimension to it; she's a girl playing with boys," said Williams, now an assistant at Kentucky. "Everyone is watching you. Everyone is talking about you. You are on SportsCenter when it's over … What she is doing and the level she is doing it at … it's just huge."
Davis is one of two girls in this year's tournament, but the other was eliminated. Canada and Emma March lost Saturday. When she returns to the mound on Wednesday, Davis likely will be greeted again with standing ovations from the crowd, some of which have surpassed 30,000. She became the first female pitcher to throw a shutout in Little League World Series history on Friday with a two-hitter over Nashville.
On Sunday, during Philadelphia's 7-6 win over Pearland, Texas, Davis had a bloop RBI single in the first inning to become just the sixth girl to get a hit in LLWS history.
Davis' Instagram account now has 8,000 followers and support and admiration have come from superstars such as the NBA's Kevin Durant, Eagles receiver LeSean McCoy and MLB stars Mike Trout, Jimmy Rollins and Clayton Kershaw.
She has been on the "Today" show and "Inside Edition." Like many athletes she is also superstitious. She carries cash in her back pockets for luck. Representatives from Ellen DeGeneres' and Queen Latifah's syndicated talk shows hope to land exclusive interviews.
Lobo said there is no reason to believe boundaries can keep Davis from reaching her goals.
"I saw the photo of her wearing the UConn sweatshirt," Lobo said. "Maybe she'll be like Scott Burrell and play hoops for the Huskies in the winter and baseball in the [Toronto] Blue Jays' system in the summer. Why not?"
And Taurasi said she'd give her just one piece of advice.
"Listen to your parents," she said.Copyright © 2015, CT Now