The Little League Baseball World Sequence begins subsequent week, however. The Mamie Johnson Little League group is the primary predominantly black group from Washington, D.C. to advance to the regional match. As CBS Information correspondent DeMarco Morgan studies, the group is just some years previous.
When everybody raced onto the sector to have a good time Mamie Johnson’s win within the D.C. Little League championship final month, the group knew they’d finished one thing particular. Rocco Gilbert, Dejuan Taylor, Daniel Marshall and their teammates got here from behind to defeat the Capitol Hill league, setting them on a path in the direction of the Little League World Sequence.
Their win was so significant that when it got here time to boost cash for the 330-mile journey to regionals in Connecticut, the very opponents they beat have been amongst those that donated funds.
“What does that imply to you to see so many individuals popping out and simply cheering you guys on,” Morgan requested the gamers.
“That they care about us,” Marshall mentioned.
“That we’re appreciated and never simply left within the mud,” Gilbert mentioned.
Simply 4 years in the past, the Mamie Johnson Little League did not exist, and a few of its members had by no means even performed baseball. In 2015, the league teamed up with the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy.
“The mission on the youth baseball academy is to make use of baseball and softball as automobiles to foster constructive character improvement, tutorial enrichment and improved well being,” mentioned Tal Alter, govt director of the academy. “It is not simply the 13 boys at this group, it is the entire household right here on the academy.”
The academy sits in Ward 7, one of many poorest neighborhoods in Washington, D.C.
“They suppose that as a result of we dwell in southeast, we’re in Ward 7, that we play soccer and basketball. So it was kinda good to point out them that we are able to play baseball, too,” Gilbert mentioned.
“What’s it like dwelling there?” Morgan requested.
“Carjacking, stealing. However none of that’s actually affecting me and stopping me from taking part in baseball,” Gilbert mentioned.
“I make certain I steer clear of the negativity, stick with the constructive,” Taylor mentioned.
Keith Barnes, the founder and president of the league, says his mission extends past baseball.
“Our objective was to alter the tradition. In that a part of D.C., soccer and basketball is king… To see 300 children taking part in baseball and actually loving it, and among the challenges are like they do not have gloves. So we fundraise. We have now sponsors,” Barnes mentioned.
Sooner or later, the academy would possibly funnel children from this group into skilled baseball. Lower than 10 % of main league baseball gamers are African-American.
“It is vital as a result of we might be leaders to the youthful children to make them develop up and, like, do the identical factor we did and be higher,” Marshall mentioned.
As for anybody who doubted the gamers, they are saying it solely makes them stronger.
“I really like my haters,” Gilbert mentioned. “When anyone says one thing unfavorable in the direction of me, it solely makes me work more durable.”
Whereas the group will not make it to the Little League World Sequence after shedding their sport on Tuesday, they mentioned they nonetheless really feel like winners. A congresswoman invited them to tour the Capitol and a D.C. council member is introducing a ceremonial decision within the group’s honor.