CLICK HERE to read original article - Written by Roger Brown, Union Leader
Former Pinkerton Academy shortstop Joey Murphy was an above-average offensive player in each of his first three seasons at Saint Joseph's College in Standish, Maine, but he's been something much better than that so far this season.
Murphy entered this season with a .334 batting average (122 for 365), 88 runs scored, 16 doubles, 56 RBIs and 37 stolen bases in 108 games. Through 11 games this year he's batting .486 (18 for 37) with 14 runs scored, five doubles, one triple, a home run and 10 RBIs. Murphy is also 12 for 12 in stolen-base attempts. He entered the weekend leading the team in batting average and doubles, and was tied for the team lead in stolen bases.
"As a senior I think I'm a little more comfortable (at the plate)," Murphy said. "This past offseason I made it my mission to get stronger. I don't think I'm hitting for more power, but I'm barreling the ball up and making more contact. I've got good speed, so if I can get it in the gap it's probably a double."
The Monks were 11-1 entering Sunday's doubleheader against Franklin College in Winter Haven, Fla.
Murphy, a Derry resident, hit .336 (49 for 146) with a team-high 16 multiple-hit games as a junior, when he led the GNAC with 30 stolen bases. He ranked fourth in the league in hits, fifth in runs scored and posted a .930 fielding percentage with 12 errors in 171 fielding chances.
Murphy played primarily second base during his freshman and sophomore seasons. He was third on the team with a .337 batting average (31 for 92) as a freshman, and hit .331 (42 for 127) as a sophomore, when he led the Monks in walks (21) and runs scored.
Murphy played three years of varsity baseball at Pinkerton and helped the Astros advance to at least the Division I semifinals in each of those three years. Pinkerton lost to Londonderry in the Division I championship game during his junior year. He was an exceptional hitter back then as well, and batted .452 with 11 multi-hit games as a senior.
The reason he's been extra-dangerous at the plate this season? Murphy will tell you it's because he spent last summer playing for the North Shore Navigators in the Futures League.
"It was a lot of baseball and helped me get better as a player," he said. "I saw a lot of Division I pitching. That's a big reason for me being able to contribute more as a player and hitter."