Riverside-Brookfield junior catcher Brian Twomey can give an in-depth scouting report on teammate Owen Murphy.
Murphy, a junior right-handed pitcher committed to Notre Dame, is one of the more decorated players in the state. He committed to Notre Dame, one of the top baseball programs in the country, in September of 2019. At that time, Murphy had just played one season of varsity baseball.
Twomey said Murphy’s a natural born athlete and leader.
“I’ve been playing with ‘Murph’ since nine or 10 years old,” Twomey said. “We also play on the same travel team. The kid doesn’t miss. It’s a great experience (catching) him. The kid is a competitor and just goes out and trusts his work. He’s constantly working, seven days a week. He’s always thinking baseball and is a dog on the mound. You can see all the work he puts in when he’s on the mound.
“He’s a natural born leader in football and baseball. His leadership is second to none in every team he’s one. He knows how to make guys better. That’s impressive being only 16 or 17 years old.”
After missing last season because of the coronavirus pandemic, Murphy has been limited to a handful of games this spring because of football and the Bulldogs currently in a 10-day quarantine until Saturday.
The 6-foot-2 Murphy said he would rather be playing baseball, but his body welcomed the rest.
“It’s been extremely weird to play two sports for my high school during the same season,” Murphy said. “I’m used to playing baseball at this time, but it’s a lot different since football was going on, too.
“For me and the guys who were bouncing between baseball and football, it was very taxing on our bodies. I know that we’re still facing this soreness.”
Murphy provided brief glimpses of his extraordinary talents before the Bulldogs were shut down. He struck out 17 batters in a one-hitter against Wheaton Academy. As a freshman, Murphy put his name on the map with a .401 batting average and 1.69 ERA. He struck out 43 and allowed just seven earned runs.
“He’s been in total command, everything right at the leather,” Riverside-Brookfield assistant coach Mark Ruge said of Murphy. “He just rolled out of football and started throwing BBs. We complain if a ball is called because everything is right there. He’s that focused in. It’s pretty impressive.”
Murphy’s fastball regularly hits between 90 to 92 miles per hour to go with a 12-to-6 curveball. Murphy (1-0) has struck out 25 batters and walked two in 10 2/3 innings this spring. He’s not allowed an earned run and recorded two saves.
“I was fastball dominant in that (Wheaton Academy) start, but I did mix in some of my offspeed, which include a cutter, changeup and curveball,” Murphy said.
Murphy’s talents also extend to the plate for the Bulldogs (4-3). He’s hit three home runs and drove in seven runs. Twomey said his offseason work in the weight room is the main factor in his strong season, but he praised his ace pitcher for helping him at the plate. Twomey is hitting .318 with seven RBIs.
“(Owen’s) helped me a ton, mainly in terms of my swing,” Twomey said. “It’s crazy that he’s going on the mound and throwing 92 or 93 miles per hour with all his breaking pitches, and then he goes to the plate and is one of best hitters in country as well as pitchers. Owen’s a generational talent not many people get to see.”
As one of the youngest players in his first two years, Murphy admitted it’s a different dynamic as an underclassmen. He’s aiming to lead the Bulldogs to a Metro Suburban Blue title and a long playoff run.
“I’m just trying my absolute hardest to get the jobs done for my team,” Murphy said. “I’m taking the selfish part out of hitting and just trying to get on base or score the guys that are on for our starter.”