Wylie’s 12-year-old Little League team earned a spot in the Little League World Series in August, breaking a few records along the way.
The team became the first Wylie team in its age division to ever win a state championship and the first 12-year-old team from District 5 to win the state championship.
And Ella Bruning became the first girl to ever pitch in the Southwest Regional Tournament.
“It was fun just knowing that we are the first team to win state,” said team member Carter Nelson.
A team from Wylie Little League won the state championship in 2017, but that team was in the Junior Division. That team also advanced to the World Series.
Another team from Wylie won the state championship this year, but that team also was in the Junior Division. (See the team’s picture on page 26.) Unfortunately, Little League decided not to have regional tournaments for that age group this year because of COVID, so the team did not get the opportunity to try and qualify for the World Series.
They did make history, however, because this is the first time in Wylie’s history that it had two teams win state championships in the same year.
The 12-year-old, or Little League, division was the only one that had regional tournaments. Two teams from each regional tournament in the United States advanced to Williamsport for the World Series.
Ella said getting to go is a dream come true.
“It’s really cool,” she said. “It’s everyone’s dream. We got to live that dream.”
Ella got a lot of attention for being the only girl on the team, but she didn’t see the big deal. She said her teammates treat her like one of the guys, and the teams that they play get over the surprise soon enough.
“They give me a blank stare at first,” she said. “But after the umpire says play ball, it doesn’t matter.”
The team had to overcome a bit of adversity during the season when one of the primary pitchers, Blaze Ruffin, hurt his arm during the state tournament and had to have surgery. But the team’s depth at pitching has been a strength all season, according to Manager Reggie Regala.
“That’s what got us here,” Coach Regala said. “All of them have pitched, and 11 or 12 of them can pitch at this level. They are all my aces.”
Bryan Bruning, Coach
“They are balanced in every part of the game. They complement each other really well. What’s been really satisfying is watching them enjoy it so much. They love the game.”
“It’s really exciting. The kids have worked hard. They have put a lot of practice time in together. They deserve it. It will be a once in a lifetime experience.”
“They are brothers and sister. They have been best friends since they were 8 years old. They are an all-around good group of kids and families. It’s a dream come true for sure. This group is special.”
“It feels great. We will remember it our whole lives. This team is really great. Our pitching is great. We don’t allow a lot of runs. We all hit well too.”
“Nobody cares that I am a girl. All my coaches and teammates care about is if I can block a curve ball that’s in the dirt.”
Major De Los Santos, RF/1st Base/Pitcher
Major said once the team qualified for the World Series, they got a lot of support from the Wylie community. He said he went to a local restaurant, and everyone was wishing him good luck. “They knew I was on the team, and I was just surrounded with people. I love the attention.”
Brody Martin, 1st Base/Pitcher
Carson Martin, Pitcher/3rd Base/1st Base
“It’s amazing. It’s a feeling that you’ll never feel again. It’s our 12-year-old dream.”
Myles said going to the World Series was the team’s goal from the beginning of the season. “Coach Reggie told the parents in the very first meeting, we are going all the way. And we ARE going all the way.”
“It’s pretty awesome. It’s a once in a lifetime thing. I’ve been watching all these World Series, and now that I am going, it is pretty awesome.”
Stetson Newman, Utility
“It’s an awesome feeling. I watched the World Series on ESPN since I was a kid, and I wanted to go. I had hopes. I knew that we were good. I had a good feeling.”
“It’s very exciting. I will remember it from this day forward. Just having the jersey will mean a lot to me. We tried our best, we practiced, we wished and dreamed and here we are.”
Landry Pate, OF/Pitcher
Landry is somewhat of a celebrity as his reaction to a very bad call during the regional tournament was captured on television and went viral on the Internet. “It was just my reaction to that call,” he said. “I didn’t think it was that funny. It just got blown up. I was like, what am I going to do now?”
Dylan Regala, Pitcher/SS/CF
Dylan said one reason the team is so good is that they are good friends. “We are like family, and we always pick each other up and encourage each other. We never tear each other down.”
Blaze Ruffin, CF/Pitcher
Blaze played a major role in getting his team to the state tournament, but he injured his arm at state and had to have surgery. He has been with his team every step of the way providing moral support. He said it has been difficult to watch from the sidelines. “It’s not fun, but you’ve got to respect your role, and you’ve got to cheer them on. We’ve had some close games, but I haven’t had much doubt in them.”
Colton Skiles, 2nd Base/
“It’s awesome and shocking. At the start of the season I had a feeling we could go. We had confidence in each other, and we are just good as a team. We know that it’s not a one player team. We need all of us to get through.”
Jaxon Wristen, 1st Base/Catcher
Jaxon said the team is good at hitting, but its defense is really stout. “We don’t really make any errors. We have a lot of pitchers. That’s one of the great things. We never run out of pitchers.”
The World Series had not started as of press time. Check WylieGrowl.com for results.