Murphy wins big after so many years
As the American Legion state championship headed into the ninth inning, I looked over and asked Rockdale Post 77’s coach Jack Murphy if he was excited or nervous.
In his 27th season coaching youth baseball, Murphy has been involved in every kind of situation conceivable, and sitting in his corner of the dugout never looks flustered.
Much was the same Monday as his team found itself in several nail-biting situations with Murphy’s demeanor remaining unchanged.
So his reply to my question — a nonchalant “No” — was definitely not surprising.
But in a way, I was a little nervous for him.
He wasn’t playing, and at that point with his team up by eight runs and one of his top pitchers in the game, there wasn’t a whole lot of ways he could influence the outcome. But the 12-4 win over Douglasville will forever be linked to him.
Murphy’s seen a lot of state tournaments, I mean a lot. It seems like every year, Post 77 has one of the state’s top teams and is in the mix to reach the Southeast regional tournament.
However, through all the good years — including other unbeaten seasons, the man who is among the most well respected in the Ga. American Legion circuit, has never held a trophy.
As A.J. Sunstrom tossed the game’s final strikeout, you could see a burden fall off Murphy.
He’s usually a pleasant person to be around, but after the final out, as corny as it sounds, Murphy had kind of a youthful exuberance. During the post-game interview, most of his answers came back to how sweet the victory was.
He even confided that he didn’t want to leave the field that gave him so many heartbreaks through the years. Though as much
The cliché goes good things come to those who wait.
In that case, Monday proves the state championship is one of the greatest things American Legion baseball has to offer.
Not only did Post 77 have to wait through 30 games to reach the state final, and then through seven innings before playing like the dominant team it has been, but its coach stood by for 23 years until he could hoist a championship trophy.
That was a lot of waiting, but in the end, the 12-4 victory over Douglasville proved to be worth it as Rockdale was crowned state champions for the first time since coach Jack Murphy became the team’s head coach in 1995.
Post 77, 2B
Jack Murphy is congratulated by players and coaches following Post 77’s state championship win on Monday.