Alexis Munksgard is a good sport.
All that really matters to the Warren Area High School junior is that the Dragons win or lose as a team. Personal statistics are not only secondary to her, but Munksgard admitted that she's never even looked at a box score.
Monday was special, because the Dragons won the District 10 Class AAA championship as a team, and will move on to the PIAA tournament beginning this upcoming Monday.
Munksgard played a role on Monday, as all the Lady Dragons did. Every single player reached base, and nine out of 11 batters reached base by a hit of walk in a seven-run fourth that led to Warren's 10-0, five-inning win over Fort LeBoeuf.
It was such a dominant performance that I thought it would be fun to reflect on a few plays that happened; a couple scoring plays that is. It seemed like every time I looked up Munksgard - Warren's starting left-fielder - was a part of it.
Now let's be honest, scoring a play a hit or an error is often a matter of opinion. So when the official scorer ruled Jolene Young's low line drive to left a double, and I ruled it an error, I thought I'd ask Alexis what she thought. It was a hard-hit ball - one of only a couple off Warren senior all-state pitcher Alexa Bupp all day at Penn State Behrend. In fact, Bupp threw a no-hitter, or a one-hitter as was record in the Erie Times-News.
Munksgard said she was playing deep in left field because Fort LeBoeuf first baseman Jolene Young had hit a two-run home run at Warren earlier in the season. Of course Munksgard said all the right things, saying she got a late jump on the low-sinking liner off her glove. "I would say it was an error," she said.
She would say it was a no-hitter.
Now, on the other hand, let's make a case for Munksgard on the offensive side:
Warren, in the bottom of the fourth, broke open a 3-0 lead on its way to the D10 title. Lauren Frazier started things off with a single, and Munksgard followed with a line-drive single that put runners on first and second. Munksgard was doubled off first base on a soft liner to the first baseman, which left Frazier on second with two outs. That's when the Dragons strung together a single by Kennedy Walter, double by Bupp, intentionally walk to Paige Wilson, single by Meghan Loutzenhiser, double by Megan Wortman, another single by Lauren Frazier, and then a runner's interference call that ended the inning. Seven runs total made it 10-0.
What happened on the interference is inconsequential now, but it made me think about it long and hard. Essentially, it was a base hit up the middle by Munksgard, which would have also been her second hit of the inning. Frazier, on second base, broke for the third at the same time the Fort LeBoeuf shortstop broke up the middle for the ball, and they collided head on with both hitting the dirt. Warren fans thought it was too far away from the shortstop for an interference call, but that was the call.
Fielder's choice, I guess, for Munksgard. Either way, it's an out, so who cares, right?
But I've been thinking now, days later, that she should be credited with a base hit. I had calls in to the Jamestown Jammers, Altoona Curve and Pittsburgh Pirates. The Altoona Curve had a representative call back - and he's been a PIAA baseball official for 23 years.
His gut reaction is that he would have scored it a fielder's choice, because how can you end an inning without an out being recorded. However, he admitted it may be a base hit with a putout by the shortstop on the runner (6-u, or shortstop unassisted). He said his thinking comes from the fact that if a runner interferes with a batted ball, that runner is put out, but the hitter is still credited with a base hit.
He was an umpire, though, so just getting the interference call correct is all he had to worry about.
If the official scorer deemed that it would have been a hit, thinking the runner would have reached first without the interference, Munksgard would be credited with a base hit, and finish the game 2-for-3. That would have meant, though, that the inning ended on a base hit?
Again, Munksgard it a great sport. She really could care less about anything other than the team winning.
"The team is more important than the individual," said Munksgard, who was more concerned with changing into her lucky batting gloves after her first at bat.
"I read the story a couple of times," she said after the story "D10 Champs!" ran on Monday in the Times Observer.
But whether or not she was 1-for-3 or 2-for-3?
"No, actually, I have no idea," she said.
She didn't read the box score.
Munksgard does know who the fan is that received a stern talking to from the first base ump after the interference call.