MEDIA: Mo’ Mo’ne! Mo’ Mo’ne! Mo’ Mo’ne!


INQUIRER: Sitting in his hotel lobby, 20 miles from the stadium, Davis’ stepfather takes a phone call. “Are you serious?” asks Mark Williams, who has been part of the family since Mo’ne was 6. On the phone is coach Steve Bandura, whose son Scott plays for Taney. The girl, he says, will be on the cover of the next Sports Illustrated. The first Little Leaguer ever. Williams shakes his head, drags a hand over his face, and smiles. This is the same girl who used to cry when her mother braided her long hair at age 6; whom he took to Dick’s to buy her first bat at age 10; and who now, barely a teenager, has a deep love of basketball shoes. Now there are Sports Illustrated, e-mails from eager screenwriters, and calls from University of Connecticut women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma, who heard Davis express interest in playing on his team someday.

“She handles it so well,” Williams says. “I’m speechless sometimes. I just want her to have fun and for this to be something for her to remember always.” It would be hard not to. Celebrities from LeSean McCoy to Michelle Obama have tweeted to her. Bookers from national television dial her cellphone. Her Instagram account – and a knock-off – have pulled in nearly 20,000 followers each. To shield her from the circus, Williams hangs onto her blue iPhone 5 during the tournament. It buzzes and rings like a restaurant pager, friends from home sending text messages of encouragement, callers unknown trying to get a hold of the rising eighth grader. Most experiences, he says, have been welcome. But the family senses it must be more careful now. Last week, Williams listened to a television cameraman outside the stadium interviewing a stranger who claimed to be a member of Davis’ family. “I was so mad, I stood there, like, ‘OK, do I go over there now, or do I wait?’ ” He waited, hoping the interview was not live. Then he walked over to the cameraman and introduced himself. The impostor – a Philadelphian – apologized. MORE