Three-sport athlete Murphy heads south
Perhaps as a tribute to his chosen career path, Kaeden Murphy engineered quite a farewell on his last game in the Basin.
Murphy, pitching for the team that has been his summer sports home for the past five years, the Columbia Basin River Dogs, pitched a one-hitter through six innings in the quarterfinal game of the 2017 Babe Ruth World Series, in what would turn out to be the last win of the season for the ‘Dogs.
Seeing Murphy on the mound of a Basin team turned a few heads, as he had been absent from the Quincy Jacks’ baseball roster in 2017 after a mid-year move to Arizona.
“I was basically still a Washington resident then,” he said, explaining his ability to still pitch for the ‘Dogs. “Had only been gone for three months.”
But with the River Dogs’ season over after a semifinal loss to eventual Babe Ruth World Series champions Mid-County Texas, now Murphy has begun settling in Arizona. Perhaps for good, perhaps not, he says, but at least for the next two years.
Next for the three-sport athlete is finding a junior-college home for his skills, and getting used to being a one-sport athlete again.
“I’m better at baseball,” he said of his choice of sport.
He later added, “I don’t really like basketball or football. I played it just to stay active.”
The choice of college is not as clear-cut. Mesa Community College figures among the top three options.
The memories of his time in the Basin run the gamut from sweet to bitter, with three trips to the Babe Ruth World Series, including an appearance in the championship game in 2016, as a pitcher. The River Dogs lost that game to Alabama.
This year, the team “did a lot better than we were expected to,” he said. An irregular start to the season turned into a Cinderella season of sorts that ended one game shy from the championship, with Murphy going almost all the way before handing the reins to another multi-sport athlete, Brewster’s basketball and baseball standout Joe Taylor.
As a Jack, he quarterbacked the team for part of the season in 2016, platooning with Kade Schutzmann. In basketball, a season that started with a facial injury during a game against Cascade ended with Murphy not seeing any playing time in the last few games, due to his propensity to get technical fouls.
“Me and the coach had a little bit of a dispute, so we just ended up not playing the last four games,” he said.
“I was pretty bummed out, i wanted to play, but it wasn’t supposed to happen,” Murphy said. “That’s when I moved to Arizona. Not why I moved but when I moved.”
With the Basin in the rearview mirror (he returned to Arizona Aug. 23), the now one-sport athlete says what will sway his decision as to which junior college to choose will be what they offer in terms of education.
“I want to be an engineer,” he said.
Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org