TV show on Plant City Little Leaguer wins national award
PLANT CITY - A sports television feature on a Plant City Little League pitcher who threw two perfect games has won an award by a national nonprofit that promotes women in leadership roles. The White House Project presented an EPIC Award to Ben Houser, senior producer of ESPN E:60's "A League of Her Own," a segment on 13-year-old Chelsea Baker. The feature, which aired last summer, heralded the Turkey Creek Middle School eighth-grader as perhaps the nation's best Little League pitcher. The award was presented by actress Geena Davis, who narrated the ESPN feature. Chelsea and Houser were on hand Thursday to accept the award. Chelsea has received a lot of national recognition since pitching two perfect games in less than a year. Last year, she appeared on CNN, "Good Morning America" and was a SportsKids of the month on a Sports Illustrated website. The jersey she wore during an April 9, 2010 perfect game is on display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.The May issue of Reader's Digest, scheduled to hit the newsstands this month, is to have a profile of Chelsea titled, "The Best Pitcher in Little League may be a Girl." Chelsea's fame came in part because she credited her success to the knuckleball she learned at age 8 from one of the most heralded masters of the pitch, Joe Niekro. He retired to Plant City after 22 seasons in the majors and coached youth baseball here. Chelsea spent two years learning the pitch with the help of Niekro, who died in 2006.