Last year, a group of 12 Elsas on the softball diamond went viral with an incredible photo. This year, it's the Thunderburg, and they're the champion all-star team that's behind the photo that Redditers and internet commenters are calling "A Little League of Their Own."
They're a group of 7- and 8-year-old softball players for Edwardsburg (Michigan) Little League in a machine-pitched league. They went undefeated and won their district championship 13-3. And in addition to earning trophies and some post-championship ice cream, they have the best team photo imaginable.
"The girls, they are strong, fierce little females," says Katie Huff, one of the team moms and the photographer of the viral shot. "They field the ball great, every single girl can hit the ball with so much power, they have so much enthusiasm, they have so much support for one another."
Huff channeled her love for the movie "A League of Their Own," and it shows. But more than the old-school feel, everything about the photo is fantastic.
The dresses? Huff coordinated it with each parent and made sure their daughters wore a dress they were comfortable in.
The fiery socks? Those are what the Thunderburg wore with their uniforms.
The eye black? It's part of the uniform. "Part of an intimidation factor, I think, for your opponent," Huff says. "If you played them, you know they're serious and down and ready and want to win."
The girl blowing the bubble? Huff actually has a couple of photos with the bubble popped.
"They're sassy little girls but they're so sweethearted and tough little chicks," Huff says. "So what better way to display it when you can combine sports and attitude and girliness all in one?"
Huff's daughter, Morgan, is front and center, holding a softball out in her left hand while balancing a bat against her right shoulder. The parents loved it, and so did the girls.
"You could just see a little spark with them," Huff says.
The girls are third- and fourth-graders, and most of them will be moving onto the minors next season, where they will face live pitching for the first time instead of a machine that fires pitches between 38 and 40 mph.
"Some of the girls have asked what a lot of other people thought about the photo," Huff says, "and we tell them they think it's awesome that there's empowerment and it should be something to be proud of."