Ella Bruning continued her inspirational run at this year's Little League World Series on Monday, shaking off a scary foul ball to the knee and showing toughness while doing so.
The sudden star of this year's LLWS showed grit as a group of girls sporting her trademark pigtails looked on.
Only the 20th girl to play in the tournament, Bruning helped fuel Texas to victory in its first game. Monday, she and her teammates fell short, dropping their game against Michigan 6-5.
Texas remains in the hunt for a championship, though its loss makes it a much more difficult prospect. The team plays again Tuesday with title aspirations at stake.
New Jersey vs. Texas, 3 p.m., ESPN
New Hampshire vs. Oregon, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
New Jersey vs. Texas
It is win or go home Tuesday for New Jersey and Texas as they battle for their LLWS lives.
The team out of Toms River showed incredible resilience Sunday, battling back to preserve their dreams of winning the tournament as they came from behind to knock off Connecticut 11-4.
At one point, the team was down 4-3 before sending 11 consecutive batters to the plate and knocking in eight runs over that span. One player, Joey DiMeo, who had zero success with the bat early in the series, blasted the state's first grand slam since Todd Frazier in 1998, per Sherlon Christie of the Asbury Park Press.
Ironically, it was a grand slam that beat Texas Monday.
The Abilene team had a 5-0 lead at one point before Michigan's Cameron Thorning blasted a grand slam that reduced the deficit to 5-4. From there, Michigan tacked on two more runs and rallied to secure the victory. It was yet another example of how one play can change a team's fate.
Texas will look to hold tight to any lead it may acquire Tuesday, especially against a Jersey squad that knows what it takes to come from behind to advance. A tough battle with lots of runs should be expected, but the kids from Toms River should pull this one off.
Prediction: New Jersey
New Hampshire vs. Oregon
Shaking off a 10-2 loss to California, the New Hampshire squad out of North Manchester-Hooksett fired off a dazzling double play to beat Tennessee and send them packing.
"We've been here before throughout the all-star season. We lose the first game and come all the way back. I guess that's how we roll," manager Tim DeVall said after the game, per Dan Attorri of the Concord Monitor.
Oregon will have to roll that way, too, after suffering its first loss of the tournament to South Dakota Monday, 3-0.
Strong defense by Oregon was stifled only when its opponents knocked in a three-run homer, again emphasizing the significance of a single play in this year's Series.
If Oregon can replicate that defense, without giving up the big play, it will win Tuesday. That so many big plays have defined the tournament over the last day or two suggests that is easier said than done.
Prediction: New Hampshire