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Wilson Christian Academy senior baseball standout Brice Murray, in the words of his head coach, Ty Bissett, “has come a long way since last year.”
Those strides have earned the Chargers’ right-handed pitcher-shortstop an opportunity a short distance away at the next level.
Barton College head coach Jim Chester reported Murray is committed to play baseball and possibly football for the Bulldogs. During a ceremony at Wilson Christian on Wednesday, Murray, the son of Carla and Tim Murray, announced his decision.
“I’m very blessed and excited,” Murray commented. “I have basically just always had my eyes on (Barton). I like the atmosphere. I went to a couple of their games and I really liked the way they kept fighting together as a family. There was no separation among players.”
The possessor of a 3.8 grade-point average, Murray is undecided on his field of study.
Murray, age 18, has played baseball at Wilson Christian since the sixth grade and has been a member of the varsity since the eighth grade.
The 5-foot-11, 165-pounder is enjoying a sensational senior season, batting .480 (24 for 50), with seven doubles, three triples, 20 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in as many attempts. On the mound, Murray is regarded the WCA ace, compiling a 6-2 record with one save. In 32 2/3 innings, he has posted 50 strikeouts as compared to 15 walks and has compiled a 1.93 earned run average.
Murray was proclaimed North Carolina Christian Schools Association 2-A All-State as a junior although an injury prevented him from participating in the state championship game, won by the Chargers.
This year’s team is bidding for another state title with a 16-3 record and status as the No. 1 seed from the East Region. With the Chargers in the championship game Saturday, Murray will be on the mound.
Murray indicated he was recruited by Barton head coach Jim Chester and his staff as an infielder but does not rule out the possibility of pitching.
Bissett emphasizes the local situation and the Barton’s newly established developmental program will greatly benefit Murray.
“College baseball is a different animal,” Bissett warned. “Brice needs to get on the weights and get stronger. His bat has to become quicker. If he develops and gets stronger, he could pitch in the middle (innings) for Barton and in Division II.”
Bissett commended Brice’s maturity — mentally and physically — his senior year. Especially promising, WCA’s head coach believes, is Murray’s sharp breaking curve.
“From the first game, we knew we had something special with his curve,” Bissett declared. “He and (senior Zach) Denmark have carried this team. Brice has been a pleasure to coach.”
Murray said he will respect the Barton coach’s decision (red-shirted, placed on developmental team or compete for a varsity spot) his freshman year.
“I just want to play my hardest, give what I have to offer and benefit the team as much as I can,” he said.
Murray described his WCA career as “pretty successful,” adding: “I had a lot of good teammates and I was really blessed in having the coaches I’ve had.”
Bissett believes Murray’s opportunity with Power Driven to travel to Sweden and the Czech Republic this summer and compete against national teams is a tremendous opportunity.
“I know we haven’t had one in a long time,” Murray noted. “The only reason I’ve gotten to where I am is my family and God blessed me, and because of the hard work the coaches put into making me a better player.”