While Justin Murphy had been tearing up Div. 1 college baseball hitters like a thresher to wheat for a good four years, the place where it all came together for him was North Callaway high school.
Now the right-handed pitcher has just completed his senior season at Southeast Missouri State University, which means, if all goes well, his next stop could be with a minor league affiliate of a Major League Baseball club.
"Justin is a very polished pitcher. He was one of the best pitchers in the (Ohio Valley Conference) the past two years," said SEMO assistant baseball coach Curt Dixon. "As a junior he was one of the top closers in the league and as a senior he was an all-conference starting pitcher."
In his final season with the Redhawks Murphy went 7-3 with a 4.55 earned run average according to www.gosoutheast.com. He also clocked one complete game, made 16 appearances with 15 starts and allowed 101 hits in 95.0 innings. What that equated to was 58 runs allowed, 48 earned, with 20 walks, 20 doubles, 12 homeruns, 10 hit-batsmen and 49 strikeouts.
"Justin has climbed to the top in whatever league he has been in collegiately. As a freshman and sophomore at Mineral Area (CC) he was the ace on the staff and one of the best in region 16," Dixon said. "In the summer for the Sedalia Bombers he was the pitcher of the year in the Mink League."
As a team this season the Redhawks went 29-26 overall, 16-14 OVC, winning 18 of 25 home games and 10-of-26 road contests. This includes losing consecutive league tourney games 8-5 on May 26 against Murray State and 14-9 on May 25 to Tennessee Tech.
"At the division 1 level Murphy has been one of the best pitchers in the Ohio Valley," said Dixon. "Justin capped off his Senior campaign by being selected as an all-conference starting pitcher voted on by coaches in the Ohio Valley."
Last year, 2016, the former Thunderbird had a record of 4-2 overall with a 2.97 ERA in 36.1 innings pitched during 21 appearances. Murphy also got taken for 19 runs, 12 earned, on 40 hits and 14 walks with 28 strikeouts.
"We did not have him as a freshman, but the work ethic and commitment Justin brings for baseball will make him successful in whatever he does after his playing days," Dixon said.