SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (CBSDFW.COM/AP) â All eyes are on Pennsylvania with the Little League World Series underway, but it’s Ella Bruning who everyone is talking about.
The starting catcher for the Wylie Little League team from Abilene, Texas, is the 20th female to play in the Little League World Series and the only girl to compete in this yearâs tournament. She can hit, pitch, steal bases and take a foul ball on the knee.READ MORE: Big Cowboys Win Means Massive Shopping Spree For Some
In Texasâs 6-0 win over Washington on Friday, she stole second, scored the first run and led the team with two hits and an RBI, becoming just the third girl to have a multi-hit game in the Little League World Series.
âSheâs a role model for my daughter and a bunch of the younger sisters on this team,â Texas manager Reggie Regala said. âSheâs always been that way, and now that sheâs on this big stage, sheâs a huge role model for girls everywhere.â
She's the 20th girl to play in the #LLWS.
— Little League (@LittleLeague) August 21, 2021
Baseball is a family affair in the Bruning household. Ellaâs father, Bryan, has coached his children for over 10 years and is an assistant on the Abilene squad. Her younger brother, Dillon, is an outfielder and second baseman for the team. Their older brother, Collin, sits in the stands and cheers, admittedly jealous that his teams missed out on this opportunity a few years ago.
Ellaâs baseball story began with shagging batting practice balls in the outfield for Collinâs team when she was 7 years old.
âI think she caught a line drive one day and some of the boys teased her about being on the team,â Ellaâs mom, Lindi, recalled. âFrom that point, it was always a joke that she would play and, eventually, she did.â
Her toughness behind the plate has been documented over the course of the week. After taking a foul ball to the knee on Monday afternoon, in a 6-5 loss to Michigan, she stayed in the game and blocked the next three pitches off her chest in the dirt with perfect form.READ MORE: Fall Allergy Season Has Arrived In North Texas
âShe has always been pretty natural and likes the competition that the league provides,â Lindi said.
Ellaâs success is not only limited to the baseball field â sheâs a softball star, too.
But she dropped softball for the summer to join the Abilene team in its pursuit of the LLWS. The adjustment from underhand to overhand pitching was a challenge for her, but she knew how high the stakes were. And she struck out a pair of batters on the mound in a regional matchup against Louisiana.
âWe knew this (year) was our biggest shot to go this far,â Ella said. âThis is once in a lifetime. I have softball for the rest of my life, so I can do this for one year and go right back.â
Former Williamsport star Moâne Davis, now in college, continues to return to the Little League World Series as a broadcast analyst. Both she and Ella have inspired the next generation of girls in the process.
âI gave a pass to a little girl outside who just wanted to see Ella play,â Lindi said. âI saw her back today in an Abilene shirt. I donât think Ella realizes how far her impact is felt through different states all across the place.â
Ellaâs run could be over Wednesday afternoon, as Texas plays New Jersey in an elimination game. But even if her teamâs moment comes to an end, Regala says his new star âhandles the attention well.âMORE NEWS: Dallas Police Officers Looking For Animal Cruelty Suspect Who Abandoned Puppy
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