Southmoreland's Bunner commits to play softball at RMU
It has been a whirlwind year for Briana Bunner.
In the spring, the Southmoreland senior was selected as an all-state outfielder after helping the Southmoreland softball team advance to the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals. In October, she was chosen to be Southmoreland's homecoming queen. And this month, Bunner received a scholarship and signed a letter of intent to play Division I softball at Robert Morris.
“Sometimes I wake up and wonder if I've been dreaming,” Bunner said. “I'm extremely grateful, and I wouldn't have been able to do these things without the support of my parents, coaches, family and friends. They have done so much for me.”
Make no mistake: Bunner, 17, has done plenty herself when it comes to earning a Division I scholarship. According to her father and Southmoreland softball coach Todd Bunner, his daughter is a tireless worker.
“She is one of those kids that wants to achieve every goal she sets her mind to, and I'm really happy for her,” Todd Bunner said.
Bunner said his daughter developed into a major contributor for the Scotties last season, and he is expecting her to put together another huge season in 2016.
“Last (season), she really stepped into the role of being a captain and working with the younger players,” Bunner said. “In softball she talks about it, and then she steps on the field and does it. She doesn't really care about the personal accolades. She wants the team to be successful.”
During her junior season, Bunner, a center fielder, hit .500 with 28 RBIs, 18 doubles and four home runs, including two walk-off grand slams. However, she suffered a leg injury and was unable to play for the Scotties in playoff losses to Belle Vernon in the WPIAL semifinals and Trinity in the consolation final.
“I definitely want us to make if further than fourth,” Briana Bunner said in regards to the 2016 season. “I want us to go all the way. I want us to become better athletes and become a better team. I want to be the best.”
Bunner is thrilled to have the opportunity to play softball for and continue her education at Robert Morris.
“It's kind of homey and it's a great atmosphere,” Bunner said, noting that she plans to study sports psychology and sports therapy at RMU. “It's a great place for learning, and it helps that my brother (Brennan Bunner) is there.”
Bunner, who plays travel softball for Team Pennsylvania, hopes to make an immediate impact with the Colonials. She noted that having the chance to play in her first season was an important part of her decision to attend RMU.
“I want to start as a freshman, and I'm passionate about the sport,” Bunner said. “They said that if I worked hard, I would have the chance to start.”
Todd Bunner has little doubt his daughter can shine at the next level.
“She has the skill set, and she can be a very good college player with the type of instruction she'll receive at RMU,” he said.
Bunner also plays volleyball and basketball for the Scotties and is president of the Southmoreland National Honor Society.
Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.