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Bruner, AC Lady Runners capture National Softball Championship

During her high school softball career Shelby Bruner played on Grapeland's 2011 state finalist team and as a college freshman she's already experienced national competition as a member of the Angelina College squad.

Bruner and the Lady Roadrunners captured the NJCAA Division I World Series Championship in St. George, Utah on May 14-17.
After winning their first two games, the Lady Roadrunners needed just one win to claim the NJCAA World Series title.

GHS graduate Shelby Bruner is a member of Angelina College’s National Championship softball team. (Photo by Angelina College)GHS graduate Shelby Bruner is a member of Angelina College’s National Championship softball team. (Photo by Angelina College)The Lady Roadrunners chose the hard route, but they got the job done. Taking on Central Florida, Angelina lost Game 1 6-2, meaning the World Series championship would come down to winner take all.

That's where the Lady Roadrunners shined as they knocked off Central Florida in the second game 8-5 to bring the NJCAA softball championship back to Lufkin.

Flying under the radar most of the season, Angelina came out of nowhere to win the school's first national championship and a first-ever NJCAA Division I championship. The title is the first World Series win for a Texas team since the tournament's inception in 1977.

Angelina wasn't considered a favorite to bring home the national crown. Not after fielding a team of 15 freshmen and a couple of sophomore transfers, after entering the season well below the rest of the conference's radar and after finishing the season without a national ranking despite beating several top 10 teams along the way.

By no means was earning the title an easy task. Needing just one win in two tries against Central Florida, the Lady Roadrunners ran into an exceptional pitching performance in the opener and were held to just two runs on five hits in Central Florida's 6-2 win.

That set up a winner-take-all showdown in the nightcap, forcing AC head coach Mark Mattson to make some adjustments: In the title game, the Lady Roadrunners utilized more small ball than they did all season, bunting their way to several base hits while waiting for the bomb squad to arrive.

AC's bats finally came around with a three-run blast far over the leftfield wall in the third inning, leading to four runs in the frame and a 5-0 lead.

With AC leading 8-1 in the fifth, the Patriots then forced an agonizing next three innings for AC fans as they narrowed the gap to three runs.
Bruner, a 2013 GHS graduate, earned several state-level honors in high school. She was MaxPreps Player of the Year (2013); Honorable Mention (2010) and All-State (2011-2013);. District honors received were 1st Team All-District (2012), two-time Offensive MVP (2011, 2013) and All-District MVP.

Bruner, a music major, is the daughter of Rebecca and Gerald Bruner.