WALNUT HILLS – The baseball season for the Eagles of Walnut Hills High School ended close to a month ago, but top slugger Cole Murphy has kept busy with summer league obligations and all-star invites as he prepares to enter the University of Cincinnati.
The 6-foot-6 first baseman committed to the hometown Bearcats before this spring’s four homer and 31 RBI performance. Murphy led the Eastern Cincinnati Conference in both categories and was in the top 10 in the league in average at .418.
On the mound, he tied for the ECC lead in strikeouts with Glen Este’s Evan Moores. He finished 4-1 with a 1.45 ERA and two shutouts.
At UC, Murphy is slated to be a two-way player for coach Ty Neal.
“They’ve been talking a little bit about sticking me in the outfield on one of the corners and then pitching,” Murphy said.
The lanky lacer of line drives will join a young Bearcat squad that Neal is trying to build for the future. Murphy learned as much from catching a few online broadcasts during the high school season.
“They were saying they were the youngest team in the NCAA right now with 21 freshmen,” Murphy said.
Murphy plans to be a business management major at UC and would like to follow in the footsteps of his father, local businessman Shenan Murphy. As added incentive, the elder Murphy is on the UCATS (Bearcat boosters) athletic board.
“It’s cool playing close to home,” Murphy said. “I think UC will turn it around a little bit. They started looking at me in the middle of junior year, maybe.”
His high school team had a bit of a resurgence this past season when they nearly doubled their 2014 win total with 15 victories this season. The Eagles finished fourth in the ECC and won their opening tournament game with Amelia, 4-3, before losing at La Salle 7-3 on May 14.
Murphy was named first-team ECC for the second straight year. He was second team as a sophomore.
He also has a younger brother, Jackson, who is a sophomore at Clark Montessori. The younger Murphy hit .383 with the Cougars as a catcher.
“I wish we had him at Walnut catching me,” Murphy said.
Among Murphy’s sacrifices to make it as a baseball player, was giving up football his senior year. He used to spend his falls as a tight end for George Kontsis and the gridiron Eagles.
“I miss it a lot,” Murphy said. “I love the game, but baseball’s where my future’s at and baseball’s No. 1.”
Among his other accolades, Murphy was named a 2015 Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and Central Region Honorable Mention. His summer team is the Cincinnati Baseball Club where he is coached by former Madeira coach Jack Kuzniczci. Dan Finley guided Murphy during his four-year letterman span at Walnut Hills.