May 16, 2004
Phoenix Christian scored 11 runs on rival Scottsdale Christian in the 2A state championship game last spring. Will Munsil and the Eagles’ defense weren’t about to let that happen again.
Munsil pitched a two-hitter and got outstanding support from his defense to defeat the defending state champion Cougars 2-0 in the 2A championship Saturday afternoon at Maryvale Baseball Park. It was the Eagles’ first state title in baseball since they won the 1A title in 1994.
Phoenix Christian put 15 balls into play but reached base on just two of them, a double in the sixth inning and a single in the seventh. It was a far cry from the Eagles’ 11-8 semifinal win over Yuma Catholic in which they committed five errors.
"The defense was amazing," Munsil said.
"The defense was pretty weak at times (during the season), but they had my back today."
Third baseman Brad Qualley echoed those sentiments.
"This year’s been rough, a little shaky," he said. "We had to just forget that and make plays."
And make plays he did. Qualley, a sophomore, threw out three runners at first and made a diving grab of a hard line drive in the fourth to rob the Cougars of what would have been their first hit of the game.
Munsil was equally impressive on the mound, striking out seven Cougars (including two that represented the tying run in the bottom of the seventh) and walking one.
He was five outs away from a no-hitter when Tim Miller knocked a double over the head of center fielder Seth Rutt. Munsil said he hadn’t noticed how close he was to the no-no.
"The only number I was thinking about on the scoreboard was the runs not the hits," Munsil said. "I didn’t really care about a no-hitter."
Munsil got all the run support he would need in the top of the first inning.
Luke Savidge led off with a single, stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. Jordan Isaac drove in the run on a sacrifice fly that would have been the third out of the inning had Anthony Shelstrate not reached first base on a passed ball after striking out.
Scottsdale Christian scored an insurance run in the top of the seventh when Scott Vetter knocked a double into the rightfield gap to score pinch runner John Chay from first base.
The Eagles should be in a good position to defend their state title next year, with just one senior, Shelstrate, in a lineup that contained four sophomores Saturday.
"Oh yeah," Munsil said. "We will be back."