Photo Credit: Jason Guerette (Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for Gateway Grizzlies)

John Murphy continues baseball journey with Gateway Grizzlies

Born in Camden but raised in Merchantville, New Jersey, John Murphy played a couple of sports growing up as he played football and basketball for two years in middle school.

Once Murphy reached Gloucester Catholic High School, he transitioned to baseball. Murphy flourished on the baseball diamond finishing with a career record of 5-2 along with 70 strikeouts and was named the South Jersey Times Player of the Year.

In addition, Murphy was named to the First-Time All-South Jersey twice and earned All-State Second-Team Honors. During his four years playing for the baseball team, the Rams won two state championships.

Furthermore, Murphy earned more accolades named to the 2015 Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American Team and First-Team All-Region Honors.

"Gloucester Catholic is such a powerhouse program. I remember being in seventh and eighth-grade kind of figuring out which high school I was going to, but then I heard of them," John Murphy explained. "I was fortunate enough to have enough success there, and it was always a dream to win a state championship, and we won two of them."

When it came down to deciding which college Murphy would attend, many prestigious schools heavily recruited him, including Louisville, LSU, Rutgers, Texas Tech, and Central Florida. Ultimately, in the end, Murphy chose to attend the University of Maryland.

"It was an interesting time where I was getting recruited," John Murphy described. "I did get recruited by many schools but didn't have many offers. It came down to three schools Maryland, Louisville, and Rutgers. I chose Maryland because a couple of my best friends that I played with in New Jersey went there, and it was far enough away from home but still close enough for family and friends to come down and watch me play.

While pitching for the Terrapins, Murphy excelled in his senior season on the mound, striking out 53 hitters, walking 17 in 33 1/3 innings, and registering 11 saves which is tied for third-most in the program history. Murphy wrapped up his career with 75 appearances, which seventh in program history, and a total of 16 saves, which was the third most in program history.

"Maryland baseball is exceptional and becoming a much bigger force on the baseball scene," Murphy noted. "I couldn't say enough about the coaching staff there as they truly care about their players, and it's just not a job for them. In 2013 and 2014, they made a couple of Super Regional runs.

After graduating from the University of Maryland, Murphy played for Bethesda in the Ripken Collegiate Baseball League in the Cape Cod League, Sanford in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, and Westside Wooly Mammoths and East Side Diamond Hoppers in the United Shore Baseball League.

In 2021, Murphy moved on to play for the Washington Wild Things in the Frontier League but then was traded to the Gateway Grizzlies.

"I started last season in Washington, and that was a perfect jumpstart into the Frontier League," Murphy stated. "Two years before Washington, I was playing in a league up in Michigan called the United Shores Professional baseball league. An excellent start to get into Independent Ball and a little different than the Frontier League. Going to Washington could have been better from a performance standpoint, but it was a good learning curve for me to get into a better situation playing-wise with Gateway."

In 36 appearances this season on the hill, Murphy posted a 1-4 record with a 2.75 ERA., 63 strikeouts, and nine saves. "At the beginning of the year, we had another closer, so I was kind of the eighth inning guy and come in a little bit earlier if needed in a jam. Currently, I'm coming to close the ninth and finish the game.

"I loved it as a closer in college and last year did a little bit of closing with Gateway at the end of the season when I got traded. That's where I thrive the best and with the adrenaline I feed off and love doing it."

The experience factor of the Gateway Grizzlies coaching staff has been vital regarding Murphy's development as a pitcher. Led by manager Steve Brook and pitching coach Nick Kennedy.

"Nick Kennedy is a good pitching coach and is working a double job also as a pitcher. I respect him for coming in and worrying about what everybody else is doing," Murphy cited. "I respect him for doing what he does and fun to play for him."

"Steve Brook is a great manager, a good pitching guy, and knows the game well. He does an excellent job of putting guys in positions to do well and at this level. It's the manager's career more than anything else. He and Nick Kennedy are an excellent duo; they work well together and honestly care about us."

Most significant has been the front office led by owner Rich Sauget and general manager Kurt Ringkamp. Gateway plays in a magnificent facility in GCS Ballpark that can hold anywhere from six to eight thousand people.

"I love GCS Ballpark. It's awesome," Murphy remarked. "It's a unique stadium, and everybody knows that. A right field that may be a little short, but it makes things a little bit more exciting and more of an incentive to make the pitches you must create and can't get away with in the bigger ballparks."

Preparing for a rigorous baseball season takes a lot of preparation, so Murphy has utilized specific programs and techniques to help keep his skills and fundamentals sharp.

"It's an everything day, even though you don't get paid to train in the off-season it's part of your job," Murphy said. "If you show up out of shape and not ready to pitch in the season, you're out of a job."

"I train with Tread Athletics, it's remote training facility based out of North Carolina, and they create very personalized programs and hammer away at your deficiencies. Coming into this season it worked 100 percent and I think I'm the best pitcher I have been in throughout my whole career. I also worked out at a baseball facility called Scanzano Sports Center run by John and Mike Scanzano."

During this baseball journey, the support from family has meant the most for Murphy. "Your parents do everything for you when you're growing up, especially with travel ball. Most of my favorite stories are with my Dad and would take in the car when we drove from tournament to tournament. If my parents weren't the way they were, who knows if I would be playing, especially after not getting drafted. Having such a sound support system makes you want to keep playing."

In closing, Murphy offered this advice for younger kids and athletes playing baseball and wanting to succeed in the game.

"The best piece of advice from my Dad is don't tell the game when you're done playing. Let the game tell you when you're done and there's a huge difference there. If you still feel you have something to give to the game, then keep playing the game. After not getting drafted as much as it hurt for a while, there was more to offer."