Student of the week. Player of the game. Starting shortstop and cleanup hitter for the St. Joseph's Prep Hawks.
Is there anything Steve "Just a sophomore" Bruno can't do?
Yes, he can't brag . . . not even just a little.
"I'm just doing what I know how to do," said Bruno. "I'm just taking one pitch at a time and one ground ball at a time."
At least he's got the big-league gab down.
Yesterday, Bruno was a big-league 3 for 4 with four RBIs as the Prep tattered Monsignor Bonner, 11-4, taking the rubber game in Catholic League South Division action.
Bruno was just a spoke in the Hawks' well-oiled top-of-lineup wheel. Second baseman Brett Tiagwad was 1 for 3, scoring three runs in the leadoff spot. Centerfielder Tim Edger went 3 for 4 with three runs and an RBI. And pitcher/first baseman Aaron Haas finished 2 for 3 with two runs and RBIs apiece.
But Bruno garnered unofficial honors, not only for his bat but for fielding his position a clean five times. Not bad for the Prep's student of the week.
"I don't know why I was chosen," said Bruno. "Teachers nominate a student. . . . I'm proud of it."
Possibly coach Chris Rupertus, also Bruno's English teacher, could explain.
"He's a real sharp kid, so when he says things they're really pretty good," said Rupertus. "So we put our heads together and decided this kid needs to be nominated.
"The fact that he's a star on the baseball field was sort of a secondary thing."
Of course, it didn't hurt. Neither did his being one of the more popular sophomores in the school and on the team.
"The kids love him because he's so unassuming," Rupertus said. "He's like the team mascot. When something goes right for him, everybody cheers."
The two teams - currently first and second in the South - split the first two games of the three-game series, with the Prep (17-7, 14-4) winning on Monday and Bonner (13-7, 12-6) on Tuesday. With this victory, however, the Hawks opened a little breathing room with only three league games to play.
Bruno kicked things off with a two-run double, giving the Prep the first two scores in a three-run first. Haas, starting on the mound, gave back those three to Bonner in the second, highlighted by a Lou Tomasetti two-run home run.
Haas, who moved over to first thereafter with a tender elbow, redeemed himself, though. The junior's RBI double in the third gave the Hawks a 4-3 lead and then, after the Friars matched that run, he gave them the lead for good with an RBI single to right-center in the fifth.
Kevin Gillen beguiled Bonner in relief of Haas. The junior righthander went 51/3 innings, allowing only a run on two hits.
"We call him the human rain delay," Rupertus said. "He takes a million years in between pitches and I think it's like calling a half-court offense after some fast breaks.
"He slows the game down and he's got a nasty curveball that freezes kids. That's why he's so effective."
And Bruno? He's just got the "look," not that he'd tell you. So we'll let Rupertus.
"He has a rocket for an arm and he puts the ball in play a lot," said Rupertus. "He's a tough out."
St. Joseph's Prep3010250 - 11120
Monsignor Bonner0310000 - 442
WP: Kevin Gillen. LP: Dan Haley. 2B: SJP–Steve Bruno, Aaron Haas, Tim Edger. HR: MB–Lou Tomasetti.