Ella Bruning turns into a big name for Little League

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KUTV 2News 24 August, 2021 - 07:31pm 45 views

Is Texas still in the Little League World Series?

The Texas team, represented by Wylie Little League, now is 2-1 at the 2021 Little League World Series and will play again at 2 p.m. Wednesday against Nebraska. Cason Parrish led the team by scoring both runs in the first two innings. ReporterNews.comEarly surge puts Texas past New Jersey in Little League World Series elimination game

Did Torrance Little League win?

Friends and family gathered once again at a pizza restaurant in Lomita to cheer on the Torrance all-stars as they beat Ohio 9-0 in the Little League World Series. SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. KABC-TVLittle League World Series: Torrance all-stars beat Ohio 9-0, advance to next round of tourney

Hawaii’s 3-0 lead had evaporated with one swing, but its fans were eager to respond once pitcher Micah Bennett got the team from Honolulu out of the inning. Nebraska’s and Hawaii’s sections of the ballpark took turns belting out hometown cheers, an impromptu who-can-be-loudest contest in a game that wound up as an 11-3 Hawaii victory in seven innings Sunday.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Little League World Series games have only had a few hundred family and friends in the stands this year. Turns out they were the ones making a lot of the noise in the first place.

“Even with the smaller crowds, it really hasn’t diminished our experience at all,” said Stan Budarz, father of Jacob Budarz of the Connecticut team. “You can generate a lot of energy and the way the acoustics are in the stands, I think it sounds pretty loud even though it’s not the hugest crowd.”

The reduced capacity crowds permitted at Volunteer and Lamade Stadiums have created an intimate experience for everyone involved.

Scott Stier was in attendance supporting Florida’s team, since his 13-year-old son aged out of their Little League but is still best friends with one of the players. Stier thinks the more relaxed atmosphere could help some of the more shy participants.

“It’s a tough burden to carry for them,” Stier said. “I think it turned out to be maybe a blessing in disguise if they felt a little uncomfortable.”

While these 12-year-olds are still appearing on nationally televised ESPN broadcasts, they’re doing so in a more familiar and relatable setting. Stier pointed out how the opening days of the LLWS have been reminiscent of hometown Little League games.

Hawaii manager Brandon Sardinha noted how capacity restrictions also were in place during both the Hawaii state tournament and the West Regional in San Bernardino, California.

“If there were a lot more fans out there, it could be a distraction,” Sardinha said. “Throughout this process from our state tournament to regionals, it’s been kind of limited, so that’s what they’re used to. I think they’re comfortable with what it is now.”

Nonetheless, longtime Little League World Series fan Erin Smith of nearby Hughesville definitely noticed a dip in energy at the ballpark this year. She got a section pass since her dad volunteers at the stadiums.

Not to mention, embarrassing moments like a dad moaning when his child strikes out or bobbles a ball are now much easier for all to hear.

Nebraska manager Dustin Rader, whose Hastings Little League squad is just the second team from the Cornhusker state to ever make it to the world series, said he and his players “don’t know any different” than competing with little more than family and friends on hand.

And for Rader, the experience of being in South Williamsport rather than enduring another season without Little League baseball like in 2020 is more than enough to get excited about.

“I don’t know if playing in front of the world or playing in front of 30,000 in person is much different. It’s all a new experience,” he said. “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. That’s kind of how we’ve lived this whole trip. It would have been nice to see those stands packed, but man, it’s a lot better than last year.”

Andrew Destin is a sports journalism student at Penn State.

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PennLive 24 August, 2021 - 08:20pm

The 14 boys he called the “most unselfish group of players I’ve ever been around” fought back from elimination to win the state tournament and sailed through the Mid-Atlantic Region without a loss.

Their season came to an end Saturday night in the world series with a 5-3 loss to Lafayette, Louisiana. The Upper Providence Little Leaguers from Montgomery County were defeated Friday by Lake Oswego, Oregon, 8-2.

“Our kids fought to the end,” Ludwig said. “They left it all out on the field.” The go-ahead-run was at the plate when Lafayette got the final out.

Some of the sting from being eliminated was removed Sunday when they greeted the Los Angeles Angels when they arrived at the complex.

They were supposed to sit with the Angels for the 1 p.m. game in Volunteer Stadium between Taylor, Michigan, and Abilene, Texas, but it was postponed due to rain.

They still had the opportunity to get autographs and take pictures with players such as Shohei Ohtani. “It was really cool,” Ludwig said.

Oaks and the other 15 series teams were guests Sunday evening at Bowman Field in Williamsport when the Angels played the Cleveland Indians in the annual MLB/Little League Classic.

The rain that postponed the Little League game gave Ludwig and his players the opportunity to do something that is as much a part of the series as the games themselves. They slid down the wet grass embankment behind the outfield fence at Howard J. Lamade Stadium on sheets of cardboard. About a half dozen other teams joined them, Ludwig said.

Oaks is headed home Monday morning along with the other three teams eliminated, but Ludwig would like to bring the players back next August to see what the world series is like under normal circumstances.

He has experienced that because he said that he has been coming since a child. Asked what it meant to him to manage in the world series, his response was “everything.”

Ludwig gave full credit to his 14 players. “This team is the most special I’ve ever been around,” he said. Each was asked to do different things and “they bought into their roles,” he said.

Being one of the 16 best Little League teams in America is something they will never forget. “They belonged here,” he said.

Back to their housing unit after losing to Louisiana, he said they talked about the game and what they accomplished this year.

“I thanked them,” Ludwig said, explaining they put in all the work. The players have been virtually isolated from their parents for three weeks to protect them from COVID-19.

The team had an informal “bubble” before falling under Little League’s protocols at the regional tournament in Bristol, Connecticut, he said.

Only two games were played Sunday because of rain. Torrance, California, shut out Hamilton, Ohio, 9-Honolulu, in a game that went an extra inning, scored eight runs in the seventh for an 11-3 victory over Hastings, Nebraska.

The revised schedule for Monday is:

1 p.m. – Taylor vs. Abilene; 3 p.m. – Lake Oswego, Ore., vs. Sioux City, S.D.; 5 p.m. – Lafayette, La., vs. Hamilton; and 7 p.m., Sammamish, Wash., vs. Hastings.

Michigan, Texas, Oregon and South Dakota are unbeaten while the losers of the other two games will be eliminated.

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