Back in the groove: GMLOK’s Munson pitches a complete game win after a tough injury

Published 7:49 pm Monday, May 8, 2023

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GMLOK senior Connor Munson was completely in his element as he stayed consistent throughout the day and pitched the Bulldogs to an 8-4 win over Blooming Prairie at Riverland Community College Monday.

Munson scattered eight hits, but he walked just one and struck out six, while allowing two earned runs in seven innings.

“I guess I just trusted myself when guys were on base,” Munson said. “You know when someone’s going to steal a bag and you know when to quick pitch. I kept myself calm and collected. You’ve got to be a leader out here.”

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Munson, who also went two-for-four with an RBI Monday, used to play catcher for the Austin Post 1216 VFW baseball team at Seltz Field, but he hurt his knee in the summer before his junior year, which caused him to miss an entire year of sports. The road back to baseball has been tough, and Munson can’t even play catcher anymore due to his injury. 

That meant that he had to focus on becoming a pitcher, no matter what it took.

“It felt amazing (to go the distance today). I’m just glad that I’m not on crutches anymore. I’m happy,” Munson said. “I figured I would go out in the back yard with my dad and pitch until he can’t catch the ball anymore or he can’t throw anymore. Continuous repetition has gotten me where I am.” 

BP (2-9 overall) tied the game at 1-1in the bottom of the first inning when Sam Pirkl grounded out to push in a run, but GMLOK (2-10 overall) scored three runs in the to top of the third off of BP errors and three more unearned runs in the top of the fourth.

BP had a total of five errors in the loss.

“Hopefully we learned something from this,” BP head coach Matt Kittelson said. “We always preach win or lose, we’ve got to learn from it. Hopefully we learned that we’ve got to keep a good attitude for seven innings. We’re not happy with the mistakes and neither are they, but we’ve got to stay positive.”

With construction taking place at its home field, BP has played all of its home games in Riverland this spring.

“I think we’re kind of used to it by now,” Kittelson said. “We’re pretty comfortable here and most teams haven’t played here a lot. I think at this point, we’ve got to look at it as an advantage.”

GMLOK 103  301  0  –  8  5 4

Blooming Prairie 100  012  0  –  4  8  5

BP pitching: Zack Hein (L) 4 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 7 R, 0 ER, 6 K, HBP; Lance Lembke, 3 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 ER, 4 K

BP hitting: Jesse Cardenas, 2-for-4, RBI, SB; Carsten Ingvalson, 1-for-3, R, BB; Alex Lea, 1-for-4; Sam Pirkl, 1-for-4, RBI; Carter Bishop, 0-for-3; Luke Schammel, 1-for-3, double, R; Brady Kittelson, 1-for-3, 2 R; Zack Hein, 0-for-1; Levi Denherder, 0-for-2; Lembke, 1-for-2; Bradley Boyd, SB

GMLOK pitching: Connor Munson (W) 7 IP, 8 H, 1 BB, 4 R, 2 ER, 6 K