The Press Newspaper
Waite High School graduate Joshua Murphy is on a roll.
The left-handed pitcher has, in just the last several weeks:
Murphy, 18, a first-team All-CL and all-district selection this season, is in his first season with coach Don “Chopper” Schmeltz’s Pemberville Legion team.
“We’ve won the only two tournaments we’ve been in so far,” said Murphy, who is in his first season with the team. “I’m pitching really well right now. I’ve gone two complete games, one a shutout in the Pemberville tournament and another close game against the second-best team in our tournament in Erie, Pa. It’s good competition and a very good team, and (Schmeltz) is an awesome coach. He knows the game so well.”
Murphy said he chose to play at Baldwin-Wallace because he “loved the school” and its sports management program. He also looks forward to playing for coach Brian Harrison, who had success at his previous stops at the University of Dayton, Urbana University, and Cuyahoga Community College.
“The coach was really enthusiastic,” said Murphy, who hopes to one day work in a baseball front office. “Every other program he’s been at, he’s had huge turnarounds. I visited in February and it just seemed like a good fit. The campus is like its own little small town and it’s a good college atmosphere.”
Waite baseball coach Dave Quiroga said Murphy, the Indians’ top pitcher this season, should be able to compete at the next level.
“He has potential to step in there as a freshman and contribute, in relief or as a starter,” Quiroga said. “I think he’ll do well.”
Quiroga ought to know. He coached Murphy for the past four years and watched him morph into a reliable, talented athlete on the field and a dedicated student in the classroom. Murphy graduated seventh in his class, with a 3.75 GPA.
“He’s a great kid, a real hard worker,” Quiroga said. “He was our coach on the field. If I called out a bunt coverage, he was letting everyone know where to go. If we needed to cut runners down, he let guys know where they needed to go. He knows quite a bit for his age and communicates with his teammates very well. He was just a joy to have around the field. I’d take nine more of him any day of the week, on the ball field or in the classroom.”
On the mound, Murphy went 3-7 with a 2.05 ERA, 65 strikeouts and 26 walks in 58 innings.
“We didn’t play much defense behind him, and he didn’t get a lot of run support,” Quiroga said. “He had a nine-strikeout, two-hit game in the City League semifinals against (eventual champion) Start.”
Murphy earned first-team all-league honors for the second straight year after batting .433 with 18 RBIs, two doubles, one triple, three home runs, 20 runs and 10 walks. He was also hit by a pitch nine times and had a .556 on-base percentage.
“Moving him to the three-spot this year (from clean-up) and losing Dylan Clifton last year, he was pitched really tough all year,” Quiroga said. “We didn’t have a lot of people to protect him and get him some more pitches and some better looks. I don’t think he ever saw one fastball. He was pitched extremely tough all year long.”
Murphy said he had the kind of season he envisioned individually, but he was “frustrated” by Waite’s season.
“We did not, as a team, do what we were looking forward to doing,” he said. “We had two good pitchers and some good players, but we couldn’t get clutch hitting.”
Academically, Murphy reeled in the awards. He received the Maxine Cosgrave Scholarship Award, a U.S. Marine Corps Distinguished Athlete Scholarship; a Baldwin-Wallace Trustee Scholarship, a Baldwin-Wallace grant totaling $17,000 a year, the Waite Alumni Scholarship, and the Waite Gear-Up Scholarship.
The big one, however, was being named Waite’s Top Scholar Athlete for 2012-13.
“It’s nice when a baseball player gets it,” said Quiroga, who won the award in 2003.
Murphy said the scholar athlete award was something he was shooting for since he was a freshman.
“Just to be labeled the top scholar athlete was an awesome feeling,” he said. “I had to put so much work into the classroom and on the field. It leaves an impression on the teachers and the other students. I’ve thought about that since my freshman year. It’s probably third or fourth (on my list), considering the Marine Corps (scholarship) is in there and first team All-City. Getting first team all-district was also a huge honor.”