Editor’s Note: Paige Murphy is a senior at Eastern Kentucky University. This season she has set single-season records in home runs (18) and runs scored (52). She also holds the record for career runs scored.
By Paige Murphy
Senior/OF, Eastern Kentucky University
My journey to this point in my career isn’t what most would expect. I played travel ball for a local team called the Kentuckiana Slammers. We pretty much only played in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee. I never traveled out west to play.
I use my journey as a platform for younger girls out there. You don’t have to play for the big name team, go out of your comfort zone and travel to prestigious tournaments to be recruited. If you are a good person and a good player, coaches will find you. You might just have to work a little extra at it.
My recruiting process with Eastern Kentucky didn’t even start until my senior year of high school. I went to a camp in the fall and then went on my official visit in October 2013. I actually signed my letter of intent in June of 2014 so it was after I graduated high school.
I chose EKU because I knew I was going to be a name, a person and someone who could get involved in the community. I volunteer with the youth league in Richmond and am part of a mentoring program on campus.
To know that I just played my last home game at EKU is surreal. It feels like I just got here. It’s an accomplishment for my fellow senior, Johnkyria Alston and me. The journey that we’ve been on has been amazing.
The Power Game
We made it our mission to have the best year we could have this year. I knew we always had power but I never thought we would lead the country in home runs per game. When you look at the teams we are up there with like Washington, Oregon and Oklahoma. We grew up watching those teams and we still watch them when we’re not playing. The fact that we’re in great company with them says a lot about our program.
When you think of a home run hitting team, you think of hosses. You think of big girls that are just
all out power. We aren’t your stereotypical home run hitting team but it all starts with our off-season training.
I may be leading the team in homers but I’ve never classified myself as a home run hitter. It’s been awesome but I never hit an over-the-fence homer until I was 16. I’ve always known that I hit the ball hard but I feel like it just came out of nowhere this year. I’m seeing the ball well and those line drives that I used to hit in the gap are now going over the fence. I still don’t believe I broke the single-season home run record.
Postseason Potential and After
As a team, we don’t overlook anyone and treat everyone like they are Jacksonville State. Beating them twice in the regular season is the best feeling I’ve ever had while at EKU. That’s what separates us from teams in the past, we play every game like we are the underdog.
I’ve never played in an NCAA Regional. Our program hasn’t won the conference since 2004. We’ve been watching Regionals for years and it would be an amazing feeling to be there but it won’t become real until we get the call.
Graduation is next weekend, during the OVC Tournament. The school will give the athletes who miss a separate ceremony when we get back. I’m graduating with a degree in Sport Management. I hope to be a graduate assistant somewhere and get into college coaching after that.
I would love to stay in Richmond because it’s home but if I go elsewhere, I know that I will always be a part of the Colonel Family. I wouldn’t trade my experience here for anything.
Go Big E!