SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) — Stella Weaver, the only girl playing in the Little League World Series this year, singled, scored a run and was hit by a pitch, helping Tennessee to an 8-1 win over Rhode Island on Friday.
The 12-year-old Weaver is just the 22nd girl to play in the tournament’s history. The first Little League World Series was held in 1947.
With bases empty, Stella hit a hard grounder to short and beat out the throw to become the 10th girl to record a hit in the LLWS. She later hustled from second to home on a bloop single, clapping her hands as she slid through the plate.
“People don’t realize how fast she is,” manager Randy Huth said. “You ask any one of these guys, she can fly. She can flat out fly. She hit that ball so hard to shortstop and he still couldn’t throw her out.”
Weaver also made a put-out in right field before she was pulled defensively in the fourth, maintaining her place in the lineup. Huth said he made the switch because he considered pitching her in relief of starter Grayson May.
Huth said there’s “definitely a chance” Weaver gets the start in Tennessee’s game against Washington on Monday. The Tennessee team, from Nolensville just south of Nashville, is representing the Southeast region in the United States bracket.
“You’re gonna see Stella,” Huth said. “She can throw it, man. She can really pitch.”
A girl has played in the LLWS in each of the past four tournaments, and Weaver is the first to record a hit since Ella Bruning in 2021. She and Bruning are the only girls to score a run since 2009.
“She’s a baseball player,” Huth said. “She’s not just a girl who’s here. She can really play the game, and she’s very, very good.”
Seth Engle is a student in the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism at Penn State.
AP sports: https://apnews.com/sports