Pitcher Owen Murphy and catcher Brian Twomey have been friends and baseball teammates since they met in the third grade.
On May 10, the Riverside-Brookfield High School seniors teamed up for a Metro Suburban Conference title by defeating St. Francis 10-3 at Ehlert Park in Brookfield.
Murphy hit two home runs and won his seventh game as a pitcher, striking out 14 in 6.2 innings while Twomey broke out of a slump with a moonshot homer to left center field in the second inning.
The Bulldogs (23-4, 9-1 in MSC) avenged the previous day’s loss to St. Francis after blowing a three-run lead in the bottom of the seventh. Last year, the teams tied for the conference title.
Murphy (7-0) allowed a season-high four hits, season-high two walks and his first earned run of the season, which also was the first earned run he has allowed at Ehlert Field in his career, on a fourth-inning double. But after the game he didn’t care about that.
“We had more runs than them. That’s all I care about,” Murphy said. “As long as we have more runs than them.”
Twomey had been struggling at the plate and has been working to simplify his approach.
“Not trying to do too much turned into a lot,” Twomey said.
As battery mates, Murphy and Twomey have a special bond. Twomey loves catching Murphy even if Murphy’s low 90s mph fastball gives him a sore finger after every game.
“It’s unreal,” said Twomey of catching Murphy. “It’s something that I’m blessed to say that I even have the privilege to do. He’s, in my eyes, the best player in the country, I don’t care what anyone else says, I don’t care who has better numbers. He does it on both sides of the baseball and he does it day in day, day out. He’s the best leader I’ve ever played with in my life.”
Murphy loves throwing to Twomey.
“We’re like brothers, just linked up all the time,” Murphy said. “We talk all the time, we’re always in contact. We’ve been really good friends since the third grade, since he came in. I love him to death and I’m so happy that we get to be a battery.”
Murphy is putting up what Twomey calls videogame numbers this year. On the mound not only is he 7-0 with just one run allowed in 44.1 innings while striking out 109 and walking only three. Murphy, who plays shortstop when he doesn’t pitch, also is batting .527 with 14 home runs and 56 RBI.
Murphy is rated as the 53rd best prospect in this year’s Major League Baseball draft by the Prospects Live website and is expected to be drafted in July in the first couple of rounds. Murphy then will have to make a tough decision — sign and go pro immediately or go play baseball at Notre Dame.
For now, he’s not thinking about that. He’s just enjoying his final season as a RBHS baseball player.
“I’m just having the time of my life and living it up my senior year and just trying to have as much fun as I can and not worry about all the extra, like video game numbers, and all that kind of stuff,” Murphy said. “I don’t really care about it. All I care about is that we win. I’m having so much fun with these guys. I love this team. I love every guy on this team.”