Jack Murphy is a senior for the Saint Mary’s baseball team, and he is looking to finish the year strong before he graduates this spring.
By Mark Molz
Jack Murphy walked on to the SMC campus in the fall of 2017, eager to make an impact on an up-and-coming Saint Mary’s squad. As a freshman, Murphy appeared in sixteen games for the Gaels and tallied three starts. Following his freshman campaign, Murphy became a regular on the Gael’s lineup as he went on to make thirty-five appearances and sixteen starts in his sophomore season. He would end up finishing the year with a respectable .325 average, sixteen RBIs, and hit his first collegiate home run against WCC rivals, Gonzaga.
Before his junior was cut short due to Covid-19, Murphy was sidelined with a broken hand that ultimately ended his season before the year started. Now, in his senior campaign, Murphy is healthy once again and is back on the field where he belongs.
Coming out of high school, Murphy was looking at a variety of different schools, but when asked why he chose Saint Mary’s he stated, “I knew this school would offer me a lot of great opportunities when it would be time to graduate and I really appreciated the community and small class sizes SMC had when it came to my decision.”
Murphy has enjoyed his time here immensely and said he couldn’t be happier with his decision to come back in 2017. Besides playing baseball, Murphy noted the countless friendships he has made throughout the years.
“I would say one of my favorite parts about being a Gael is the small community and the relationships I have built over the years,” Murphy stated. “I have made lifelong relationships with many of the students here.”
Murphy also has endless baseball memories that will be with him for a lifetime. After four years of collegiate baseball at SMC, combined with summer ball in places like Portland and Virginia, he has appreciated every experience and opportunity he has been presented with.
“Going to the WCC tournament my Sophomore year has to be my favorite baseball memory,” Murphy stated without hesitation. “It has been the only time we made it that far since I have been here and the experience was something I will never forget.”
On top of the WCC tournament, Murphy added that playing summer ball in different states has also generated some of his favorite memories. He noted that being able to play baseball in a different part of the country for the course of two months is a great experience. And, on top of playing in different states, he has been able to make relationships with ballplayers from schools all over the country.
As Murphy’s career at SMC is coming to a close, he is looking forward to what the future holds. Still, with one year of eligibility left due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he hopes to play one last year of baseball while receiving a master’s degree.
Murphy will be graduating this spring with a degree in Psychology and hopes to receive a master’s in Wildland Management. Post-school, Murphy hopes to pursue a career in Firefighting.
Undergraduate and team veteran Brian Kahmar details Saint Mary’s club baseball team’s upcoming trip to the NCBA Club Baseball World Series and their hopes of competing if they get enough funding to attend.
By Brent Dondalski
After a tumultuous year in both sports and the world, the Saint Mary’s club baseball team is headed to the 2021 NCBA Club Baseball World Series. The team received an automatic bid to the series and will be representing the Pacific region, hoping to bring a championship back to Moraga. The event will be taking place in Pittsburgh, Kansas from May 27th to June 3rd, with Saint Mary’s going up against seven other teams across the United States.
Third-year student and club baseball veteran Brian Kahmar detailed the anticipation leading up to the event: “There’s a combination of both excitement and nervousness just because I know I haven't been as far as Kansas for baseball ever in my life. And I'm sure a lot of the other guys are feeling the same.”
Despite COVID sidetracking their season, the team hasn’t lost focus. They’ve been discussing ways to get the team playing while still remaining cautious about COVID with their club director as far back as November. When they got the green light to compete, they jumped at the opportunity. Now, the team is in their third week of practice in anticipation of the competition.
“We don't know what the competition will be like just because the teams we’ll be going up against are from all across the country. So we're not sure how they play or how well they play compared to what we're usually used to. For practice right now, I'd say we're probably just focusing on more of the fundamental aspects of the game. You know, proper technique when fielding grounders, catching flyballs, or getting bullpens done so our pitchers are warm and loose when they're throwing. [We’re] trying to be prepared and ready in the event that we do get to go,” Kahmar explained.
This isn’t club baseball’s first competition on the road too. “We went to Vegas in 2019 in November with no expectation of winning at all, and we went 2-2, which was a good positive step for the program and we're hoping this could be another big step in the right direction,” Kahmar recounted. With past trips going well for the program, club baseball is ready to exceed expectations.
Still, the road to the world series is not without its challenges. A week in Kansas means travel expenses, food expenses, and more. “We're doing a lot of fundraising, trying to get the cost down for each individual player to pay out of pocket. And if everybody just can't pay, then I guess it's sort of an out-of-luck situation. So we’re hoping people will continue to help us fundraise money and that uncertainty will become certainty and we’ll find our way to Kansas” Kahmar stated.
Though the funding for the trip remains a source of worry for the team, nothing is set in stone. After fundraising a little over a thousand dollars during 1Day1SMC, the team is hopeful that more donations will come in to help with the cost. “Our fundraising has actually been extended through May 7, still at the same 1Day1SMC link...We still have about a week left in our fundraising, so we're hoping to get as much money as possible.”
Even with the financial obstacles, the NCBA invitation is nothing short of exciting. The Saint Mary’s Club Baseball team has won on the road in the past, and they’re gearing up for more success in Kansas.
To donate to the GiveCampus campaign in support of this team please follow the link below. Donations accepted until ends May 7th 2021:
By Mark Molz
In a year of uncertainties, one thing is certain, and that is the Champions League never failing to disappoint.
Four teams remain in the hunt to take home the ever so coveted Champions League Title. The Premier League boasts two teams in this year's semi-finals in Manchester City and Chelsea FC. Meanwhile, PSG and Real Madrid represent their respective leagues in Ligue 1 and La Liga.
Last year's champions, Bayern Munich, fell to PSG in the quarterfinals leaving this year's trophy up for grabs amongst the last four. Let’s take a look at the last four teams and see which one has the best chance at taking home the UCL final to their club.
Real Madrid vs. Chelsea
Chelsea will be looking to secure their second Champions League title in club history, meanwhile Real Madrid are hoping to add another victory to their already record holding thirteen titles.
Currently 1-1 on aggregate, Chelsea has the lead with their crucial away goal in last week's competition. Captain America, Christian Pulisic, put one away against the Real side in the 14’ minute, which could turn out to be the winner if they can hold Real to a clean sheet in game two of the semi-finals.
Real Madrid will need to come out aggressive in hopes of putting an away goal in at Stamford Bridge. Karim Benzema scored their equalizer in game one of their semi-finals matchup and I wouldn’t be surprised if he found the net again. Benzema has been in top form recently and he will be fighting to push his team through to the finals.
It is hard to bet against such a storied club in Real Madrid, so that is exactly what I will not do. Real will use their experience against Thomas Tuchels Chelsea, snatch the victory at Stamford Bridge, and push their way to the finals where they will either face Manchester City or PSG.
Manchester City vs. PSG
The first leg of the semi-finals was a tale of two-halves. PSG came out aggressive, fast, and ready to bury City. City on the other hand looked slow, timid, and had a difficult time getting the ball inside the box, leaving them trailing at half-time 1-0 to the French side.
But, with Pep Guardiola managing the City side most viewers knew the second half would be much different. The mastermind simply out coached Pochettino, and to put it simply, Pep was playing chess once again, while everyone seemed to be stuck with checkers. One free-kick goal from Kevin De-Bruyne and another from Riyad Mahrez found City leaving the French grounds with a 2-1 victory and two extremely important away goals.
In order for PSG to secure their spot in the UCL final they will have to march into the Etihad and score a minimum of two goals against Pep’s team and with Neymar and Mbappe on the pitch it surely seems like a possible feat. In the round of 16 they were able to put four goals away against Europe’s greats in Barcelona, with a sensational hat-trick from Mbappe. But, while PSG has some of the top scorers in the world. City has been in top form for months and it feels ambitious to bet against them on one of the biggest stages in Europe.
City will push their way to the finals where they will face Real in hope of taking down one of Europe’s great giants. While Real is looking to add to their current record of thirteen titles, City will be hoping to add their first UCL trophy to their cabinet.