Ella Bruning: One-girl show

Abilene, Texas, catcher Ella Bruning, foreground, takes the field against Taylor, Mich.
Abilene, Texas, catcher Ella Bruning, foreground, takes the field against Taylor, Mich., during the the Little League World Series tournament in South Williamsport, Pa., on Aug. 23.
(Tom E. Puskar / Associated Press)
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Abilene, Texas' Ella Bruning runs back to the dugout after scoring on a wild pitch
Ella Bruning of Abilene, Texas, runs back to the dugout after scoring on a wild pitch against Sammamish, Wash.
(Tom E. Puskar/Associated Press)

Ella Bruning has become the person everyone wants to talk to in South Williamsport, Pa., this week.

For the record:

7:48 a.m. Aug. 27, 2021Updated final game score against Michigan from 10-0 to 15-6.

Baseball is a family affair in the Bruning household. Ella’s 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 team missed out on this opportunity a few years ago.

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 year’s tournament. She can hit, pitch, steal bases and take a foul ball off the knee.

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I think she caught a line drive one day and some of the boys teased her about being on the team. From that point, it was always a joke that she would play and, eventually, she did.

Lindi Bruning - Mother of Ella

Abilene, Texas' Ella Bruning hits an RBI single.
Ella Bruning singles to drive in a run against Sammamish, Wash., on Aug. 20.
(Tom E. Puskar/Associated Press)
Ella Bruning, right, takes a photo with Mo'ne Davis
Ella Bruning, right, takes a photo with Mo’ne Davis, a former Little League World Series star.
(Bryan Bruning)

In Texas’s 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.

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.

Ella started at catcher again on Tuesday, playing her third error-free game in a row at the tournament as Texas beat New Jersey 2-1 to stave off elimination, they rallied again beating Nevada 10-1.

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Texas tried to stave off elimination against Michigan, their second appearance against this team in the tournament, falling down 10-0 by the bottom of the third. They rallied back in the fourth, scoring six runs at the top of the fourth, keeping the game alive and avoiding the 10-run rule. Texas wasn’t able to muster anymore offense, eventually being eliminated from the tournament, 15-6.

Wylie Little League players arrive at the airport
Wylie Little League players arrive at the airport.
(Bryan Bruning)
 Ella Bruning poses for a team photo with her Wylie teammates
Ella Bruning poses for a team photo.
(Bryan Bruning)
Ella Bruning plays spike ball in Little League headquarters complex
Ella Bruning plays spike ball in the Little League headquarters complex.
(Bryan Bruning)
Wylie Little League take a break from practice by swimming at Little League headquarters complex.
Wylie Little League players take a break from baseball.
(Bryan Bruning)
Ella Bruning in Little League headquarters complex
Ella Bruning is interviewed in Little League headquarters complex.
(Bryan Bruning)
The Wylie Little League team eats lunch in Little League headquarters complex
The Wylie Little League team eats lunch in Little League headquarters complex.
(Bryan Bruning)
Ella Bruning waits during a rain delay in South Williamsport, Pa.
(Bryan Bruning)
Ella Bruning waits during a rain delay with her Wylie teammates.
Ella Bruning waits during a rain delay with her teammates.
(Bryan Bruning)
Taylor, Mich.'s Jackson Surma (22) scores as the ball gets past Abilene, Texas, catcher Ella Bruning (8).
Jackson Surma of Taylor, Mich.,mscores on a groundout by Jaxon Shufeldt as the ball gets past Abilene, Texas, catcher Ella Bruning.
(Tom E. Puskar/Associated Press)
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Ella Bruning sits in the media room for an interview with Sports Illustrated and SI Kids.
(Bryan Bruning)
Ella Bruning plays pingpong against Lafayette Little League in Little League headquarters complex.
Ella Bruning, left, plays pingpong against Lafayette Little Leaguers in Little League headquarters complex.
(Bryan Bruning)
Abilene, Texas catcher Ella Bruning (8) fist bumps with Mo'ne Davis after Davis threw out the first pitch.
Abilene, Texas catcher Ella Bruning (8) fist bumps Mo’ne Davis after Davis threw out the first pitch for the game between Abilene, Texas, and Toms River, N.J.
(Tom E. Puskar/Associated Press)
Abilene, Texas catcher Ella Bruning, right, celebrates with pitcher Dylan Regata, center, after the side is retired.
Abilene, Texas catcher Ella Bruning, right, celebrates with pitcher Dylan Regata, center, after the side was retired during the first inning against Toms River, N.J.
(Tom E. Puskar/Associated Press)
Abilene, Texas catcher Ella Bruning (8) drops a foul pop up by Abilene, Texas' Colton Skiles (9)
Abilene, Texas catcher Ella Bruning misses a foul pop up.
(Tom E. Puskar/Associated Press)
Ella Bruning practices.
(Bryan Bruning)
Abilene, Texas' Ella Bruning bats.
Ella Bruning bats during the fifth inning against Hastings, Neb.
(Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)
Ella Bruning sits in the stands with her teammates.
Ella Bruning sits in the stands with her teammates.
(Bryan Bruning)
Taylor, Mich.'s Jackson Surma scores on a sacrifice fly as Abilene, Texas catcher Ella Bruning receives a late relay throw .
Taylor, Mich.'s Jackson Surma scores on a sacrifice fly by Jaxon Shufeldt as Abilene, Texas, catcher Ella Bruning receives a late relay throw.
(Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)
Abilene, Texas catcher Ella Bruning walks to the dugout during a timeout in the second inning
Abilene, Texas catcher Ella Bruning walks to the dugout during a timeout in the second inning of a baseball game against Taylor, Mich. at the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. Michigan won 15-6.
(Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)
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Abilene, Texas' Ella Bruning grimaces after being hit by a pitch from Taylor, Mich., starting pitcher Jakob Furkas
Abilene, Texas’ Ella Bruning grimaces after being hit by a pitch from Taylor, Mich., starting pitcher Jakob Furkas during the second inning of a baseball game at the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. Michigan won 15-6.
(Tom E. Puskar/Associated Press)
Ella Bruning (8) throws the ball back to the pitcher Myles McCarty as he warms up.
Abilene, Texas catcher Ella Bruning (8) throws the ball back to the pitcher Myles McCarty as he warms up against Taylor, Mich. during the fifth inning of a baseball game at the Little League World Series tournament in South Williamsport, Pa., Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. Michigan won 15-6.
(Tom E. Puskar/Associated Press)
Ella Bruning, left, watches from the dugout with Dylan Regata, Landry Pate, Blaze Ruffin and Major De Los Santos
Abilene, Texas’ Ella Bruning, left, watches from the dugout along with her teammates, Dylan Regata (21), Landry Pate (18), Blaze Ruffin (16) and Major De Los Santos (19) during the fourth inning of the baseball game against Taylor, Mich. at the Little League World Series tournament in South Williamsport, Pa., Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. Michigan won 15-6.
(Tom E. Puskar/Associated Press)
Photo of Bryan Bruning, left to right, Dillon Bruning and Ella Bruning in Little League headquarters complex
Bryan Bruning, left to right, Dillon Bruning and Ella Bruning.
(Courtesy of Bryan Bruning)

Text by The Associated Press.