AUSTIN TX – Schwenksville native AnaMarie Bruni, who holds separate bachelor’s degrees in nursing and health science, has signed a contract to play with the newly formed Texas Smoke professional women’s fastpitch team based in Austin TX.
The Texas Smoke is owned by former Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips and entrepreneur Jade Cargill. In March (2023) it became the fourth franchise to join the Women’s Professional Fastpitch softball league. Bruni, a second-generation softball athlete – her mother played for Thomas Jefferson University – is one of the team’s nine recently signed and announced players.
Opening day for the season is June 15 on The Smoke’s home field at Concordia University Texas in Austin.
While attending and graduating from the University of South Florida, Bruni ranked all-time second in stolen bases (99), seventh in stolen base percentage (.860), seventh in batting average (.351), and 10th in runs scored (129). She also was a top-10 finalist for the 2021 NCAA Senior Class Award.
Bruni was scheduled this month (May 2023) to received her bachelor of science in nursing degree from the nursing school at Thomas Jefferson University, and earlier graduated from South Florida with a bachelors in health science, biological health and health management. In May 2022, Bruni was presented with a nationally recognized Daisy Award for saving the life of an infant.
Bruni will be working with Smoke Head Coach Tori Tyson, who previously served as the head coach at Howard University Softball. She will be the first coach of a professional fastpitch softball team to come from a historically Black college and university.
Also named to direct the franchise were veteran sports agent and marketing executive Eric Mays as general manager; professional baseball outfielder Courtney Hawkins, assistant general manager; physical therapist and athletic trainer Cullen Nigrini as chief medical officer; and Dr. Jess Garza as the team’s mental performance consultant.
Photo provided by The Texas Smoke