Mur­phy wins big af­ter so many years

The Covington News - - Sports -

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

Fazio, 2B

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

Bryan Fazio /The Cov­ing­ton News

Jack Mur­phy is con­grat­u­lated by play­ers and coaches fol­low­ing Post 77’s state cham­pi­onship win on Mon­day.

BRYAN FAZIO

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