Young pitching phenom Mo’ne Davis will be on the mound in Southern Durham for an early Father’s Day game.
The 13-year-old Davis will be joined by a group of former Negro Leaguers on Sunday when her barnstorming baseball team arrives in Durham for a morning game. It’s a fundraiser to benefit two Durham youth teams traveling to Maryland this summer for a “World Series” tournament sponsored by Major League Baseball.
The game starts at 10 a.m. at the Southern Durham High School baseball field. It will pit an all-star team from the Long Ball Durham Triple Play League against the Anderson Monarchs featuring Davis, who made national headlines last year when she was one of two girls to play in the 2014 Little League World Series.
Davis was the first girl to earn a win and to pitch a shutout in Little League World Series history and the first African-American girl to play in the annual, international celebration of Little League baseball. She was later featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
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Negro League old-timers living in Durham who are expected to attend Sunday’s game include Willie “Pete” Hayes, Roy Alston, Pernell Canady, Sterling “Tank” Upchurch, Kenneth Valentine, Luddie McClain and Robert Hicks.
The game is sponsored by Major League Baseball’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities, or RBI, a 26-year-old program that is sponsoring teams in North Carolina for the first time this year. Durham, Raleigh, Charlotte, Fayetteville and Rocky Mount started RBI programs this year.
There are 147 players, ages 13 to 16, on the Durham RBI program’s eight boys’ baseball teams and one girls’ softball team. The league, before partnering with Major League Baseball, started seven years ago as a minor league charity with the Durham Bulls.
Even before partnering with Major League Baseball, the league was making a difference, whether sending players to college or providing a positive outlet, said Pat Nobles James, a Duke University employee who serves as president of the Long Ball Durham Triple Play RBI program.
“It is Long Ball’s mission to produce major league citizens on and off the field,” James said. “We know if you change the way they think, you change the way they act.”
If you go
What: Youth baseball barnstorming tour with the Anderson, S.C., Monarchs, featuring Mo’ne Davis against an all-star team from the Durham Long Ball Triple Play RBI program. The game, which will feature appearances by former Negro League players, is part of the Anderson Monarchs barnstorming tour that takes the team to 19 cities in 23 days.
When: Sunday at 10 a.m.
Where: Southern Durham High School Baseball field, 800 Clayton Road in Durham.