Ella Bruning is becoming a rock star at the Little League World Series.
The 11-year-old catcher from Abilene, Texas, is the only girl competing in this year’s tournament and is turning heads with her play and toughness.
Bruning is just the 20th girl to play in the Little League World Series. She became the eighth girl to record a hit and just the third to have multiple hits in a game when she went 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored in the Wylie Little League’s 6-0 opening round win over Washington on Friday.
“It felt really good, because it wasn’t expected, because I’m not the best hitter,” Bruning, who has been on the team for three years, told reporters after the game.
She said they were her only two hits of the season, before being reminded she had another.
“Pshhh, that was a dinker,” she said.
In Texas’ next game, a 6-5 loss to Michigan on Monday, it was Bruning’s grit that showed through. At one point, she took a tough foul tip off her knee and was checked by the medical staff before shaking it off and staying in the game. Her team will next face Toms River East in an elimination game on Tuesday at 3 p.m.
This is the Wylie Little League’s first trip to Williamsport, Pa., after finishing the runner-up in the Southwest Regional tournament. It was there Bruning first garnered some attention. Major League Baseball shared a video on its social media accounts of her blocking a ball in the dirt, flipping off her mask, hustling to the ball and then throwing the runner out at first. Cubs catcher Willson Conteras commented with fire emojis and Yankees great Jorge Posada was also impressed.
“Keep it up Ella!! Great job!!! (three fire emojis),” Posada wrote.
Bruning, who also pitches, has caught the attention of former Little League World Series standout Mo’ne Davis, who became the first girl to earn a win as a pitcher in 2014.
“It’s cool to see [Bruning] do such great things,” Davis told USA Today on Monday. “I cheer for her and hope she makes it a fun tournament and really hope she likes it, because it’s such a fun experience.”
The Little League World Series is a family affair for Bruning, who also plays softball. Her younger brother, Dillon, also plays for the team and father, Bryan, is a coach. Her older brother, Collin, also played for the organization and it led to her getting a chance also.
“I grew up watching my brother play All-Stars for Wylie,” Bruning told the Abilene Reporter News prior to the Little League World Series. “It started as a joke that I was going to play, but then we actually signed me up. I played, made the All-Star team and kept going.”
She’s hoping to do the same in Williamsport, too.