Photo via: Mamie Baseball Little League Team/Facebook
The all African American Mamie Johnson Little League Baseball Team recently made history as the first predominately Black team to win the D.C. Little League Championship with a 14-7 final score.
The team was created in 2015 and named in honor of D.C. resident and the Negro League’s first female pitcher, Mamie "Peanut" Johnson. The mission behind creating the team was "to provide families in Southeast DC, the opportunity to learn and play the game of baseball." The team is only the second majority African American team to compete in the championship game since it started in the late 80’s. Much like their namesake, the team is already making history and inspiring new interest in the game of baseball in Southeast D.C.
The 2018 Little League Washington DC Champions, Mamie Johnson Little League!!! Congrats to our team and our coaches #History Next stop: Bristol, CT #mjlldc #MJLLinDC #mamiejohnsonlittleleague #dc #fox5dc #wusa9 #dcbaseball #nbc4dc @fox5dc @nbc4dc @wusa9 @goangie @joeclair @nationals @natsacademy @allisonseymour66 @foxsports @joeclairmorningshow @mayor_bowser @congresswomannorton @trayonwhite @eburriss @bharper3407 @howiekendrick47 @sportsproducer9 @nbcswashington
The Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy hosted the championship game. Eight out of the 12 players on the Mamie Johnson team were actually participants in the larger community programs that the academy provides. Prior to participating with the team, most players are reported to have had no idea how to play the game of baseball, let alone be a part of a championship winning team. Being that the team is also newly formed with a significant number of novice players makes this underdog story that much more noteworthy.
The coaches and other program staff who work with the team know that there are many challenges that await their young players both on and off the field. "Keeping them off the streets is paramount. I think this gives them a great outlet. We not only stress baseball, but education," said Coach Keith Barnes.
Soon after their historic win, the team has already returned to their home facility, the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy to prepare for the Little League Regional Tournament scheduled to take place in Connecticut this month. "We heard the team in New York is good, but we can be better," said motivated third baseman, Joshua Young. He and the rest of his team have their eyes set on becoming Little League World Series champions and continuing to make history like their namesake, Mamie Johnson.
The team is currently raising funds to make it to regionals on Friday. Here's the link to donate: Mamie Johnson Little League.