by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Michaela Bruns will be all over the Elk River softball all-time lists when she finishes her five-year tenure as one of this vibrant program’s most versatile and powerful players.
The 5-foot-5 senior catcher is already the Elks’ all-time leader with 137 hits and 41 doubles. Her .395 career batting average and 74 runs-batted-in each rank third. Her eight homers are second.
“I was kind of hoping to beat C.J. Rice’s home run record of 15,” admits Bruns.
That probably won’t happen but Bruns hasn’t missed much. Her resume includes matching her older sister Moriah’s distinction of playing for a state championship team. They’re the only sibs connecting the 2009 and 2013 teams.
“Michaela has always been a leader with a her strong arm and dangerous bat,” said coach Stacey Sheetz. “She has been a piece to the puzzle in the success that we have had.”
Bruns is currently hitting .500 with seven RBI. She hit .284 in eighth grade; .380 with three homers and 18 RBI in ninth; .404 with a homer, 24 runs, 16 doubles and 20 RBI in 10th; and .447 with 24 RBI, three homers and 20 runs for the state champs as a junior. She was hitless in two state games but went 3-for-4 with a homer in the semifinal against Forest Lake.
“Michaela has a natural strong swing. She has a great eye and can hit all over the field,” said Sheetz.
Bruns played center field in eighth grade, third base for two years, and catcher her final two years.
She was a one-sport athlete before joining the Nordic Ski team the last two years to stay in shape over the winter. She has played softball since age seven, mostly on teams coached by her dad, Jerry. Their summer team, Minnesota Stars, has won multiple state titles and won a national tournament last year in Florida.
Bruns was Moriah’s teammate for two years. When Moriah was pitching as a senior, Michaela closed out two of her wins in dramatic fashion, snagging a line drive at third base and tagging a runner for an unassisted double play against Osseo, and belting a three-run, walk-off homer in a 6-3 win over Champlin Park.
She marvels that her team was able to duplicate what her sister’s team did.
“It was the same thing with both teams. Both times, nobody really knew who Elk River was, compared to all the big city teams. We were able to jump out and surprise a lot of people.”
There’s a third Bruns, Melea, who’s already a varsity standout as a freshman, but any titles Melea wins will be with Rogers. Melea open-enrolled to RHS to play for Jerry, who became the Royals coach last year.
Bruns feels fortunate to be part of all the Elks success in her five seasons. They’re 74-36 in that span.
“I have really enjoyed my time with all these girls. I’ve gotten tons of ‘best friends’ out of this sport.”
THE BRUNS SCORECARD
Personal file — Age: 18 … Family: parents Jerry and Cindi; sisters Moriah, 21, and Melea 15 … Sports: softball, Nordic Ski … Academics: B average … College: St. Catherine’s, softball, nursing
Favorite stuff —Class: English and history … TV shows: “American Horror Story” and “Dexter” … Movies: “The Heat” and old comedies like “Monty Python” and “Caddyshack” … Reading: “I like trilogies like ‘Divirgent,’ ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘Maize Runner’ ” … Music: Ellie Goulden and Keisha … Food: anything Mexican … Team: Twins … Athletes: Joe DiMaggio, Joe Mauer … Wants to visit: Greece, Rome