Meet Texas' Ella Bruning, the Only Girl Competing in the Little League World Series
Ella Bruning is the talk of the Little League World Series.
The 12-year-old starting catcher for the Wylie Little League team from Abilene, Texas, is the lone girl competing in this year's tournament. Ella is only the 20th female to play in the Little League World Series (LLWS) in the event's 73 years.
"She's a role model for my daughter and a bunch of the younger sisters on this team," Texas manager Reggie Regala told the Associated Press. "She's always been that way, and now that she's on this big stage, she's a huge role model for girls everywhere."
With two hits in her team's 6-0 win over Washington on Friday, Ella became the seventh girl to get a hit during a LLWS game and only the third girl to have multiple hits in a game. She also stole a base and scored the first run of the game.
Ella isn't the only baseball player in the family. Her younger brother, Dillon, is an outfielder and second baseman for the Wylie Little League team. She got her first taste of baseball at seven years old, shagging batting practice balls for their older brother Collin's team.
"I think she caught a line drive one day and some of the boys teased her about being on the team," Ella's mom, Lindi, recalled to the AP. "From that point, it was always a joke that she would play and, eventually, she did."
The Texas tween is also a softball star, but she put that sport on hold for the summer to join the Abilene team.
"We knew this (year) was our biggest shot to go this far," Ella told the outlet. "This 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."
Don't let the pigtails fool you. Her competitors underestimate her at their own peril.
"She's as tough [as] a box of nails," Wylie Little League president Bobby Gilbreth told Williamsport Sun-Gazette. "A lot of opposing teams think it's a girl and then realize she knows what she knows and, beware."
Go Ella, go!