Around this time last year, Angel Murray was preparing for his first full varsity baseball season.
Just one year later, the Egg Harbor Township High School senior can once again be found training for another season.
Murray has always been dedicated to the sport and continually seeks improvement.
His work ethic has not changed since last year. The only difference is Murray is set to become an NCAA Division I baseball player.
The designated hitter gave a verbal commitment Monday to continue his education and baseball career at D-I Coppin State University. Murray will sign a National Letter of Intent in April.
“It (Coppin State) was just perfect,” Murray said. “As soon as I got there, I knew it would be a great fit for me and my family. The coaches were just incredible and really helped me out.”
Coppin State, located in Baltimore, finished 11-31 last season. The team placed last in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Northern Division (8-15).
“I can’t wait to get started as a freshman and working hard there,” Murray said. “I want to hopefully make it from Coppin to the big leagues, because that is a big accomplishment.”
Murray, who will major in sports management, batted .341 with 15 hits and seven RBIs as a junior. The standout DH had four doubles and a .422 slugging percentage.
Even more impressive, he had a .559 on-base percentage and drew 12 walks last season. Murray was hit by a pitch 11 times.
“He does a really good job at finding ways to get on base,” EHT coach Bryan Carmichael said. “Last year, when we needed to get a base runner on, he found a way to reach base. He does a great job at working the count and does those little things very well.”
Carmichael said Murray’s role will increase this season, most likely as the Eagles’ starting first baseman after mainly being the DH as a junior.
“I think he will have an easy transition to be our first baseman,” Carmichael said. “He did get some time at first base last year, so I am not really worried about it (first base position) because I know I’ll have Angel Murray there.”
Murray is excited to play first base, but his sights are set much higher than his position on the field.
The Eagles lost in the South Jersey Group IV semifinals the last two seasons.
But last season hurt Murray the most.
“Falling short as a sophomore, I just saw it happen,” Murray said. “But last year I was actually playing, so I want this chance back.”
EHT had a 20-5 record in 2017 and earned the second seed in the SJ Group IV tournament. They were upset by the 11th-seeded and eventual champion Southern Regional.
Being a senior, Murray is hungry for that title and is making sure the team is equally as determined.
“He brings experience and leadership,” Carmichael said. “He also brings a ton of energy to the program and some familiarity with how things are done and what the standard is we expect from the kids. I am hoping he will be a guy that helps raise the bar.”
Murray’s father, Santiago, played professional baseball in Puerto Rico for four seasons.
Baseball is in his blood.
And right now his blood is pumping.
“I want to be the best I can be and finish with a strong season,” Murray said. “I really, really want that title bad for my last season.”
Note: Murray wants to thank his family, including their hometown in Puerto Rico, and dedicated coaches who helped him during the recruiting process.
Contact: 609-272-7210 PMulranen@pressofac.com