Motlow Bucks first baseman and designated hitter Tyler Murphy was recently named first team All-American by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). He becomes only the second Motlow player in school history to be named to the first team. Pitcher Mark Shuler received the same honor following the 1978 season.
Murphy, a first-year sophomore, played his prep ball at Glenwood High School in Phenix City, Alabama, and spent his first college season at Bevill State Community College in Fayette, Alabama. Bevill State cut all its athletic programs in March 2011.
After the baseball program was closed at Bevill State, Murphy landed at Motlow as part of head coach Dan McShea’s 2012 recruiting class. McShea commented following the announcement of Murphy’s All-American status, which came on the heels of him being named first team all-conference following the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association season.
“Tyler Murphy is one of the best hitters I have ever had the pleasure to coach. He has a great approach at the plate with the ability to hit the ball with a lot of power. Tyler also consistently came through for us in big situations. He was a team leader on and off the field. The power numbers he was able to put up this year are outstanding, especially when you consider that he missed 11 games due to injury.
“For about half the season, Tyler would play during conference games and would have to be in treatment all week to get healthy enough to play the next weekend,” continued McShea. “He had to play in the DH role most of the season as well due to the same injury. At the end of the season when he was getting back to full strength, he was hit in the hand and was unable to play the last game and a half due to a broken finger.
“This award couldn’t have gone to a better person,” added McShea. “Tyler had a tough year and is very deserving. I am very proud of him and feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to coach him.”
Murphy set the Motlow single season batting average record with his .459 average, inching past former record holder Judd Brownell, who hit .457 in 2002.
Additional entries in the school’s all-time record book for a single season include Tyler’s 17 home runs, which ties him for fourth all time with Jason Baker, who hit 17 in 1992. Joshua Arteaga slammed a school-record 27 homers during the 2000 season.
His 57 runs batted in ties him for seventh with Brian Bennett, who knocked in 57 runs in 2002. Arteaga set the record with an amazing 90 during his 2000 season. Murphy is tied with five former Bucks for eighth in hits with 73, with Arteaga and teammate Steven Morris tied for the record with 95.
Murphy’s numbers not only placed him into multiple categories in the Motlow record book, but also placed him among the nation’s leaders for the 2012 season. His 17 home runs tied for third and his .459 batting average was tied for fifth.