Chicago defeated Philadelphia, 6-5, on Thursday night in a game that had implications from Little League to the big leagues. The matchup featured an increasingly rare occurrence — a prevalence of Black players — in a sport in which urban youth participation has been in decline and professional rosters have become sparsely populated by African-Americans.

Most immediately, Jackie Robinson West of Chicago ended the captivating run of the Taney Dragons of Philadelphia and their star, Mo’ne Davis, in the Little League World Series. Chicago earned a spot in the United States title game against Las Vegas, scheduled for Saturday. In a larger sense, with baseball seeking to broaden its appeal, Thursday’s game was viewed by officials and coaches as a showcase for what is possible if sufficient opportunity and instruction are provided to urban players.

Taney was the first Philadelphia team to reach the Little League World Series. Jackie Robinson West is participating for the first time since 1983. Davis, who is Black and who last Friday became the first girl to pitch a shutout in the tournament, has become a national figure of inspiration.

Read it at NY Times.