The Mamie Johnson Little League team has become the first all-black team to win the D.C. Little League championship in the league’s 31-year history. The team has now advanced to the regional tournament in Bristol, Connecticut. 

The Maine Johnson Little League, named after Mamie “Peanut” Johnson, the first female pitcher in the Negro Leagues, is made up of mostly 12 and 13 year olds. It was created in 2015 to “provide youth with a safe, fun and family oriented program that demonstrates the ideals of good sportsmanship, character, teamwork, courage and respect,” according to the League website.  

“My heart, it’s never been fuller than it was last night, ” said Charlie Sperduto, who directs the baseball and softball programs at the Nationals youth Baseball Academy. 

Keith Barnes, the president of the Mamie Johnson Little League, who played baseball in both high school and college, was overwhelmed by the team’s victory. “I got tired of reading articles about the decline of African Americans in baseball,” he said Wednesday morning. “And no one had solutions.” Now, he is doing his part in keeping the game he loves alive in the black community. 

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