Chris Murphy was on the mound, in the middle of a game in New York with his North East Baseball summer club, when he peered out into the stands and saw his mother on the phone.
With the third day of the Major League Baseball Draft under way, that could only mean one thing. Murphy, the burly righthander and Merrimack Valley Conference MVP, had been picked, taken in the 29th round by the Toronto Blue Jays.
"It was a cool experience," Murphy said. "It was crazy. I've been pitching in front of scouts for the last two months in high school and it was just me out there today. Once my mom told me that, all the weight was lifted off my shoulders, and I went out there and threw really well."
Murphy becomes the third Billerica High product taken in the MLB Draft, joining two legends: Mike Mastrullo (1994, 46th round), the former runner-up in football to Peyton Manning for National Gatorade Player of the Year; and Tom Glavine (1984, 2nd round), the two-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee.
"It's absolutely unbelievable. I can't put into words how awesome that is," Murphy said of the legacy. "To be from Billerica and have the great history that we have in Billerica...It's an unreal thing to even think about, really."
The University of Maine commit was named MVP of the Merrimack Valley Conference's second division after posting a 1.24 ERA with 88 strikeouts in 56.1 innings. He also hit two home runs and 17 RBI at the plate, as the Indians were one of the top seeds in the MIAA Division 1 North Tournament.
Scouts have clocked Murphy as high as 92 mph this spring.
"They really like how I battle and challenge batters when I get behind in the count," Murphy said. "I don't get frustrated if I give up a big hit. They like how I stay in there and work hard."
Murphy says he is undecided on whether he will sign with the Blue Jays or honor his commitment to the Black Bears.
"As of right now, I've gotta talk to the Blue Jays, and they have to handle the high round picks before they get to me," he said. "I'll see what they offer and talk with my family and decide from there. It's gonna come down to money...I couldn’t really say I was leaning any way right now."