In a matter of days, Maddy Freking has gone from being 12-year-old playing baseball to a kid inspiring other girls around the world to pursue their dreams.
Freking, the starting second basemen for the Coon Rapids-Andover baseball team playing in the Little League World Series, was featured over the weekend on Good Morning America for being the first girl to play in the tournament in five years, and just the 19th ever.
"It's an honor. I also think it's really cool to be, out of however many boys, the 19th girl to be here," Freking said.
Freking has played a huge role in helping Coon Rapids-Andover become the first team from Minnesota to reach the Little League World Series since 2010, and just the second team representing the Midwest Region to win a game at the LLWS since 2001.
Breaking barriers as she has, it should come as no surprise who her favorite baseball player is.
"My favorite baseball player is Jackie Robinson," said Freking, referring to the first African-American to play in the MLB in the modern era. "His whole personality and how he was able to fight through everything was really cool to me."
And she hopes her appearance as a girl playing baseball on the national stage will encourage others to do the same.
"For any little girls that are watching, I'd tell them to keep playing their game and always do their best," she said.
During Sunday's game between Minnesota and Virginia, players and coaches from the Pittsburgh Pirates were on hand and manager Clint Hurdle made a fun comparison between Freking and New York Mets star pitcher Noah Syndergaard.
“Skills. And with no disrespect, the last time I saw that much blonde hair throwing that hard it was Syndergaard,” Hurdle told ESPN. “That was bringing the heat.”
Minnesota defeated Kentucky 2-1 in their opening game Friday, then lost 11-0 to Virginia Sunday. Minnesota plays in an elimination game Monday against Louisiana. The game starts at 7 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2.
If Minnesota wins, they'll play in another elimination game Wednesday.
You can see the entire LLWS bracket here.