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Allen “Moonlight” Murphy returns to Newark Pilots for 2019 season

Guess who’s back? Back again?

Moonlight’s back. Tell a friend.

Allen “Moonlight” Murphy will return to Colburn Park this summer for his second stint as a Newark Pilot. He also says he still hopes to be a doctor someday, too.

The “All-American kid” as Pilots owner, Bob Ohmann, describes him has aspirations to either get drafted into the Bigs, or “settle” for a career in medicine. And he has a legitimate shot at both.

The St. John Fisher College junior finished last PGCBL season as the All-Star Game’s Home Run Derby champ and earned first team honors as an outfielder.

Murphy led the league with a .730 slugging percentage, while pacing the Pilots with a 1.196 OPS, .369 batting average (among qualified hitters), .466 OBP, six HR and 41 RBIs.

The only offensive category Murphy didn’t lead the Pilots in was base hits, where he finished with 41 in only 32 games.

Murphy comes from Class C’s Bolivar-Richburg high school in Allegheny County and landed at Fisher three seasons ago. So far this season, Murph leads the Cardinals in batting average (.417), OPS (1.196), hits (60), total bases (103) and slugging (.715). At press time, he was near the top in RBIs and triples.

But getting drafted by a big league club, like some have suggested, doesn’t sound like something that concerns Murphy.

“I’m not really sure,” he told The Times last summer. “It would be great if that happened. There are a lot of uncertainties with that. I don’t know about that. But, I’ll just keep playing and whatever happens, happens.”

Last season at Fisher, his OPS was .980, drawing walks in 40 percent of his plate appearances—a sabermetric GM’s dream target. His average was .324 over the course of the season, ranking fifth on the team, and tied for second in the team’s HR department. In 2017, his offense and pitching landed him a spot on the Empire 8 Conference’s All-Tournament Team.

When asked about Murphy, Fisher head baseball coach, Brandon Potter tells The Times what separates the future doctor from others.

“He was always a really, really talented kid,” the one-time College World Series coach noted. “Really good arm, really fast twitch, good swing, worked hard…”

Then comes the qualifications that sold a man–who has already produced two MLB draft picks–on Murphy.

“He always played harder than anyone else. He always flew around the field no matter where he played.”

That work ethic translates in the classroom.

“He’s a really good student,” Potter adds. “I mean a REALLY good student. And he tries to do well in everything he does, whether it’s baseball or school. He’s a great kid. Easy to like. Easy to cheer for. Easy to root for that he can go on to play professional baseball, or whatever it his he decides to do. Incredible work ethic.”

“He’s talented enough to both pitch AND hit, which is RARE in college. I’ve told him since he was a freshman he is the most talented kid on the field in every game we play, so it’s good to see him do really well with the Pilots.”

Asking Potter if Murphy can be his third player drafted, the 35 year-old coach sounds cautiously optimistic.

“It’s hard to definitively say yes or no,” Potter prefaces. “But, I think if he keeps playing the way he does, there will be opportunities.”

When he does get drafted, he’ll join the likes of Robin Yount as Pilots who got the call Little Leaguers dream about.

Pretty good company.

Or, at worse case, he can go to medical school.

The Pilots have already produced one baseball Hall-of-Famer. How about a doctor, too?

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