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Team Utah plays its second Little League World Series game Sunday

The Snow Canyon team lost 11-2 to Tennessee in the first round.

(Gene J. Puskar | AP) Santa Clara, Utah's Cody Ruffell (5) delivers a pitch during the first inning against Nolensville, Tenn., at the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa., Friday, Aug. 19, 2022.

The Snow Canyon Little League team entered Friday’s World Series game against Tennessee already dealing with adversity, as 12-year-old Easton Oliverson continued to recover from a severe head injury.

But the first team to represent Utah in the Little World Series is now dealing with some more of it — this time on the field.

Utah lost 11-2 in the first round of the double-elimination tournament. It will play a win-or-go-home game Sunday at 9 a.m. on ESPN against the winner of Saturday’s game between the teams from the Northwest and Midwest regions.

Snow Canyon gave up four runs in top of the first inning before getting one back in the bottom of the inning. But Tennessee’s offense continued to be prolific at times, while also taking advantage of some wild pitches and walks from Utah.

Utah made a couple of impressive plays on defense, but could not get its offense going consistently enough. Utah mustered only two hits for the game, while Tennessee had 12.

The ESPN broadcast reported that Oliverson, who needed emergency surgery after injuring his head when he fell off a bunk bed in Williamsport, Pa., had progressed enough to watch the game on TV.

“When he asked what day it was and we told him, he asked us, ‘Am I able to play on Friday?’ And I just shook my head at him and I’m like, ‘Sorry, buddy. You can’t. We’ve got to get you better, first,’” Easton’s father, Jace Oliverson, reportedly told CNN on Thursday.

“And the sheer tears he was shedding was just, it was, oh my gosh.”

Oliverson’s brother, Brogan, played Friday as an alternate. When he took his at-bat, the entire stadium gave him a standing ovation and cheered him on. CNN reported that Easton cried tears of joy and sadness when informed his brother would play in his place.