Mo'ne Davis inspires Minn. women who broke barriers - KMSP-TV

Mo'ne Davis inspires Minn. women who broke barriers

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Lots of kids have played in the Little League World Series, but although few were girls, one stole the spotlight this year. Mo'ne Davis is already on the cover of Sports Illustrated, but before her, there was Krissy Wendell.

Mo'ne Davis is just the 18th girl to play in the series. The first time a young woman took to the World Series field, it was 1984. A decade later, Minnesota's own Krissy Wendell-Pohl started for Brooklyn Center.

Today, Wendell-Pohl is occupied by catching up with her three daughters -- but 20 years ago, the catcher became the first girl to start a game in Williamsport.

"Really cool," she reflected. "I know it sounds generic, but really unique -- just a whole different experience."

Wendell-Pohl began playing baseball at the age of 5 in Brooklyn Center. She told Fox 9 News she was always accepted by the boys. At the age of 12, her play on the field made her stand out -- until the media attention at the World Series, that is.

"I felt like that was the first time where I felt different," she reflected. "Up until that point, I just felt like part of the team. I hadn't felt different until we got there."

Now, Wendell-Pohl is glad that Mo'ne Davis is getting attention for her pitching prowess and not just her gender alone.

"I think it brings a positive spotlight on girls -- not only playing on the team, but being a contributor," she said.

Emma Charlesworth-Seiler is also watching the attention Davis is getting closely. The 19-year-old played second base for the Senior Babe Ruth team last year, and was the only girl on her 6th grade little league team. Now, she is making it her mission to get other girls into the sport.

"We just want to get them to know there are other girls playing baseball," she explained.

This coming Saturday, Charlesworth-Seiler will host the first girl's baseball clinic with the Golden Valley Little League, where she coaches and serves as an umpire. With the Pennsylvania player striking out a batter at the very start of the game and throwing 70-mph fastballs, Charlesworth-Seiler believes now's the perfect time to invite more girls to give the game a try.

"I think it's inspired a lot of kids -- boys and girls -- to go play baseball and accept girls in baseball," she said of Davis's historic shutout.

As for Wendell-Pohl, she has some advice for young girls who want to play -- practice, practice, practice. Any player who is good enough will get respect, and the Minnesota Girl's Baseball Clinic will provide a starting point. The clinic is free and open to girls between the ages of 6 and 17.

REGISTER: Minnesota Girls' Baseball Clinic

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