Southmoreland softball player Miller commits to Robert Morris |

Southmoreland softball player Miller commits to Robert Morris

Bill Beckner Jr.

Pipe dreams can come true. Just look at the Southmoreland softball program.

The once-struggling Scotties won a WPIAL championship last spring. For years, getting players to the Division I college level seemed nearly as improbable. But things have improved over time in Alverton.

You just need Faith.

Junior Faith Miller, a second baseman who will be one of the team’s top returning hitters when the final snow thaws, gave a verbal commitment this week to Robert Morris, more proof of the program’s rise.

“RMU has always been somewhere I wanted to go; I have had many relatives that have graduated from there,” Miller said. “I also love how close it is from home and how beautiful the campus is. As soon as I stepped foot on campus, I knew that was where I wanted to be.”

Miller, who also considered Ohio University, hit .406 with 22 runs and 19 RBIs. She had six doubles and a home run.

“She is a Division I athlete due to her incredible work ethic, her never-give-up attitude and her ability to hit the softball,” Southmoreland coach Todd Bunner said.

Bunner’s daughter, Briana, was the last Southmoreland softball player to go Division I. She also plays at Robert Morris, where she is a sophomore outfielder. Bunner also coached Greensburg Central Catholic transfer Anne Marie Gatti for one season before she went on to play at Syracuse.

The Bunners, and players like Miller, have helped the program make its slow ascent to championship contention. Once a bystander come WPIAL playoff time, the Scotties have been grown into a competitive team, reaching the playoffs four straight times under Bunner, who came on board in 2013.

They made the semifinals in three of those trips before the breakthrough last season: the Scotties won the Class 3A title in their first finals appearance. They also qualified for the PIAA playoffs for the first time.

Bill Beckner is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill at [email protected] or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

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