TOPEKA (KSNT) – Washburn Rural’s Olivia Bruno is more of a utility player than just a pitcher and recently signed to play softball at the University of Kansas.
“I love first and third the most because you get the ball almost every single play,” Bruno said.
Besides her 8-1 record this season, Bruno is hitting .569 with nine home runs.
“Her freshman year at tryouts, her very first at-bat that she had off me during front toss, she hit a home run,” Washburn Rural softball coach Tricia Vogel said.
Her impact even goes beyond the stat sheet.
“Just a vocal leader,” Vogel said. “Always cheering on the rest of her teammates and encouraging them.”
Bruno wasn’t always one of the best players on the field. In fact, if it weren’t for her friends making softball so fun growing up, she may not have stuck with it.
“I was a pitcher at the start,” Bruno said. “I wasn’t very good. I hit a lot of people, but that’s okay.”
It’s a good thing she never quit because Bruno gets to play at her dream school next year. She got a feel for the program early by attending many of its camps. Jayhawk softball saw all she could do and wanted Olivia just as much as she wanted them.
“I love the coaches and the atmosphere there,” Bruno said. “The coaches are amazing. They really work hard for you.”
Being the only freshman on the varsity team helped prepare Bruno to be a freshman on a power-five conference team.
“I love learning new things, and I love working hard and getting better,” she said. “I’m just ready for the grind.”