by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Melea Bruns watched two older sisters win separate state softball championships with the Elk River Elks.
So it wasn’t an easy decision for this talented freshman to suit up with the Rogers Royals — where her dad, Jerry Bruns, is the coach — for her own varsity career.
“It actually was really hard and took me a long time to decide,” said Bruns, after pitching seven innings of a 3-2, eight-inning playoff win over Irondale on Friday. “But I thought this would be a better option. I love my team! I’ve played with these girls a lot in the summers.”
Students can open-enroll and be eligible for sports if they do so by ninth grade, so Bruns made up her mind last summer and never looked back. As the Royals’ very capable No. 2 pitcher and a solid hitter and shortstop, she’s helped a very young team post a 19-2 record. They’re one of four teams still going in Section 5AAA which resumes Tuesday.
“It’s something she chose to do,” said Jerry Bruns. “Both her sisters played up there (Elk River) and she likes Coach Sheetz, but she just decided to come here. Playing with these kids in the summer, I’m sure that was a factor, too.”
Moriah Bruns helped the 2009 Elks win the state title as an sophomore outfielder, delivering game-winning RBI singles in the first two state games. She was the main pitcher her final year. Michaela Bruns was the catcher on last year’s state championship team, hitting .447 with 24 RBI. She’s now a senior and fifth-year starter for the Elks, who begin Section 7AAA on Saturday,
Asked if her siblings had any opinions on the subject, Melea shook her head.
“They just kind of left it all up to me,” said Melea, who attended Salk Middle School last year and played for the Elks junior varsity.
The Elks and Royals don’t play each other in softball, by the way, so there’s no clash on the field unless they both make state.
If the Elks are playing when Rogers isn’t, Jerry and Melea are there rooting for them.
“Oh, yes, I still go to my sister’s games when I can,” she said.
With the starters on this year’s 19-2 team all in grades 9-10-11 except one senior (Madison Anderson), the youngest Bruns (and dad) is hoping to achieve what her sisters’ teams did.