The Mamie Johnson Little League team is closing in on a berth in the Little League World Series. (Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post)

The Mamie Johnson Little League team earned the right to play for a regional championship. The group then received a boost to assist in making it to the game.

The team needed to raise $10,000 to travel to the Mid-Atlantic regional in Bristol, Conn. Baltimore Orioles’ outfielder Adam Jones pledged $8,500 toward the goal on Friday.

Mamie Johnson Little League is the first predominantly African American team — 11 of the team’s 12 players are black — to advance to the Mid-Atlantic regional round. The winner gets a spot in the Little League World Series, televised nationally on ESPN.

Jones heard about the team’s success and financial need from a tweet by WUSA9 reporter Delia Goncalves. His response was simple: “How can I help?”

“I want to see the next generation get an opportunity to succeed,” Jones would later tell Goncalves. “Me being a black man trying to integrate more African Americans into baseball, this was a no-brainer.”

It’s not the first time Jones has supported local youth sports causes. When he signed an $85.5 million contract in 2012, he set aside $75,000 for local Boys & Girls Clubs.

His $8,500 gift to the Mamie Johnson team came after it had already raised $15,000, much of that from other local Little League teams, Mamie Johnson Little League president Keith Barnes told ESPN. The surplus funding will go toward future league participants.

First, though, Mamie Johnson needs to advance past teams from Delaware, Maryland, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

They play New York’s Mid Island Little League from Staten Island on Saturday.

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