Owen Murphy, who graduated from Riverside-Brookfield High School last month, has been named the Gatorade Player of the Year for baseball in Illinois. The award is given annually to the top high school baseball player in each state.
While the award, of course, does not guarantee future success, others who have been named Gatorade Player of the Year in their states, including Kris Bryant, Jon Lester, Clayton Kershaw and Derek Jeter, certainly have.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior right-handed pitcher and shortstop led the Bulldogs to a 30-6 record this season and a berth in the sectional semifinals. As a hard-throwing pitcher Murphy posted a 9-0 record with a 0.12 ERA, surrendering just 10 hits and four walks in 58.1 innings pitched this season while striking out 137 batters. He threw four no-hitters this season. He was equally impressive as a hitter, batting .548 this season, belting 18 home runs and driving in 75 runs.
Murphy rewrote the RBHS record book during his three seasons playing baseball for the Bulldogs. He lost his sophomore season when sports were shut down during the first year of the COVID pandemic.
He now holds the school’s season (.548) and career (.470) marks in batting average, RBI (130 in his career) and home runs (30 in his career). As a pitcher, Murphy set school records for lowest season (0.12) and career (0.54) ERA.
“Being named Gatorade Player of the Year is an amazing honor, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of my school, coaches, teammates and family,” Murphy said in a text message from San Diego where he was participating in the Major League Draft combine last week.
Murphy is one of 255 draft-eligible players, 118 of them recent high school graduates, who were tested, probed and evaluated at the MLB combine. He is projected to be an early round pick in the MLB draft which will be held next month.
After he is drafted, Murphy will have to decide whether to sign and go pro immediately or attend the University of Notre Dame, which offered him a baseball scholarship as a sophomore.