Eliahana Cruz Torres, 10, had a newfound passion for softball.
The fourth-grade student was in her first season in Little League this year, according to NBC News. And on the day of the shooting, she was set to play the last softball game of her season.
“It was her first time this year to get into a sport, but within time, she loved it,” aunt Laura Cabrales told NBC News.
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“Every time she would go practice, she was always eager, because she was the type of kid that wanted to do her best,” she added. “She loved everything about the game, whether she was pitching, catching or in the outfield — it really didn’t matter to her.”
Eliahana was one of six victims to be involved in Little League, officials said.
Makenna Lee Elrod, Tess Mata and Alexandria “Lexi“ Aniyah Rubio also played softball, while Jose Flores Jr. and Xavier Lopez played baseball, according to national Little League records and tributes posted online by Uvalde Little League.
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“There are no appropriate words to share that can ease the sense of pain and loss the Uvalde community feels today,” Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO, said in a statement. “Since 1959, the Uvalde community has come together at their Little League fields, and the tragic loss of these lives will be felt forever."
Keener identified the Little League victims by matching their names in the national registry. Six registered to play this year, while five had signed up from 2019 to 2021.
"As a Texan, father, and former local Little League President, I cannot fathom the pain being felt in the homes of the victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting and throughout the entire Uvalde community," International Board of Directors Chairman High E. Tanne said in a statement, which was included in a release with Keener's.
Though Eliahana did not make it for the last game, team members kneeled for a moment of silence to remember her and the other victims.
Other teams have paid tribute, too. A town in Beeville, Texas, a couple hours away from Uvalde, donned shirts that featured Eliahana's picture during a recent game. They also gathered with their opponents in a circle for a pregame moment of remembrance, according to KIII TV.
"A little girl named Eliahana Torres, she was in fourth grade, she was only 10 years old. Today was her last softball game," coach and parent Lisa Monjaras told the players as they took a knee, according to a KIII and a Facebook video Monjaras later posted. "She's not going to make her game tonight, so guess what? We are going to play for her."
In Muscatine, Iowa, 1,200 miles from Uvalde, Little League baseball players sold lemonade and snacks with a goal of raising $1,000 for the victims' families, according to KCRG.
“My son has been watching the news and trying to explain to him what’s been happening is scary and emotional, so he had the idea how can we help these families — he felt so bad for the kids and the victims,” Chelsea Harms, a mother of one of the Iowa players, told the station.
The Oklahoma Sooners softball team, standing at number one in the nation with a remarkable 54-2 record, honored the softball players this past week with posters in their dugouts of the four girls killed. Each poster displayed a picture in the center, with signed messages from the team around the borders. The slogan "PRAY 4 UVALDE," written in large text with marker, filled the top, and "PLAY 4 ..." followed by each girl's name matched in the bottom.
"We're trying to remember them and play for them, because it's so much more than softball, and I'm sad to say that they won't get the opportunity to play at a level like this. So if we can just have them on our hearts and on our shoulders as we're playing — we'd just like to remember them," said Jocelyn Alo, a redshirt senior from Hawaii in a postgame interview with ESPN.