You wouldn’t even know they’re the same person.
If you attended a St. Hubert High School softball game four years ago and you saw a young freshman who was standing in the background, not talking too much, you were looking at Emily Murphy.
She was the youngest player on the team, and although she was a starter and a key cog on that team, she was shy and not the most confident player on the field.
My, how things have changed.
Now Murphy is no longer playing first base, she’s the Bambies’ starting pitcher. But the biggest change has been in her personality.
She went from being quiet to being the most demonstrative player on the field, and that pays dividends for her teammates.
“I’ve changed a lot, when I got here, I almost never spoke,” said Murphy, who lives in Rhawnhurst. “I think I was intimidated, being the youngest one on the team and I really didn’t know anyone. They took me in fairly fast, the upperclassmen made sure to make me feel comfortable. That helped a lot.
“Now that I’m a senior, I try to help the underclassmen who don’t know as many people. I remember how it feels, and how much of a difference that made. I just try to get them to feel more comfortable and help them get more confidence. A lot like they did for me.”
She learned from the best, too.
Two years ago, when Murphy was a sophomore, she learned a lot from star pitcher Lindsey Davies. As much as Davies’ pitching helped the Bambies, she was just as valuable serving as a coach on the field.
“I learned a lot from her, definitely the leadership part,” Murphy said. “I remember how if someone made an error or something, she would call us all in and make sure they weren’t getting down. She would tell them it’s not their fault and make sure we were organized.”
Now, that’s Murphy’s job.
It would have been her role last year, but the season was canceled because of coronavirus. It certainly wasn’t the way anyone wanted it, but it gave Murphy some extra time to prepare.
“I was really upset because I thought I would get my season, finally, but now I have it and it’s going to be great,” said Murphy, whose team had to quarantine for two weeks during the preseason because someone on the team had coronavirus. “It was really hard, last year, because we all wanted to play. We were the defending champs, so we wanted to get a chance to defend it, but we’ll do it this year.”
Murphy isn’t the only one expecting big things.
Dan Milio, the Bambies coach, was suppose to get his career as head coach started last year, but since the season was nixed, this is his inaugural year at Hubert.
He’s happy to have Murphy lead his squad.
“In a weird way, the pandemic helped her,” Milio said. “She became more focused on her senior year, she’s hungrier, she knows what it means to her, she knows what it means to the team. We’re still the defending Catholic League champions. She’ll be a big part of how well we’ll do.
“We had great pitching ahead of her, she knew she had to wait her turn. She did. She’s relentless with preparation. If there’s a mistake made on her part, I don’t have to tell her. She knows it, she is looking for ways to improve it. Very coachable kid. I could talk about her all day.”
Milio is also proud of Murphy off the field, and he has a lot to be proud of there.
Murphy is a member of the National Honor Society and she is ranked in the top 10 in her senior class. She’s also a member of student council.
“I’m a class rep,” Murphy said. “I ran my sophomore year and I won the past three years. I love doing it. It was hard for me to run, I feel a lot more comfortable pitching than running in an election, but I wanted to represent our class.”
Next year, she’ll represent Wilkes College, where she’ll continue her softball career with hopes of becoming a pharmacist.
“Science is my favorite and I do pretty well in school, so I think I can do it,” Murphy said. “I’m happy I’m going to Wilkes. I was there for a camp and I loved the campus. My dad went to King’s College, and that’s really close. And when I told the softball coach I was going there, she was excited, so I was happy she told me that.”
She’s excited about the future, but in no rush to leave Hubert. She’s looking forward to her final year, not just winning, but being around her friends.
“We do a lot of things to stay close,” Murphy said. “We text and we’re having a pasta party, and we’re also doing some Olympic-type contest where we team up and do fun games instead of practice one day. I’m paired up with a freshman (Michaela Stopa). We are all close, so that should be fun.”
You know what else is fun?
Winning a championship.
“We really want to win because we won two years ago and didn’t get to play,” said Murphy, who credits her parents for helping her reach the levels she has. “We are happy to play, but we also want to win.”