Top-10 Stories of 2022: No. 3 POTY Owen Murphy becomes a first-rounder after historic IHSA season

By Maddox Durst
PBR Illinois & Wisconsin Staff

History was made throughout the IHSA in 2022, highlighted by the accomplishments of Riverside-Brookfield’s RHP/INF Owen Murphy (2022; Atlanta Braves). At the conclusion of the high school season, Murphy prepared for the MLB Draft, where he was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the first round at pick No. 20.

“It was pretty crazy and super quick,” Murphy said about the draft process. “The Braves wanted me to get out in about a week, I signed my contract about three days after I was drafted. Went out to Atlanta to sign a ‘fake’ contract [for Braves social media] at one of their games, then a day later, I was sent to their camp to get familiar with the organization.”

 Before he got to Atlanta though, Murphy showcased his dominance on both sides of the field in the IHSA season. At the plate, Murphy hit .564 with 53 hits, 75 RBIs, and 56 runs scored. His 75 RBIs are tied for second all-time in a single season in IHSA history, alongside the 2011 PBR Illinois Player of the Year, Sam Travis (Providence Catholic, 2011). He hit 18 home runs this past season and only 10 other IHSA players have hit more, emphasizing Murphy’s rare power and skill. All of this happened within 33 games.

Even with all of those massive offensive power numbers, including insane 2.028 on-base plus slugging and 1.351 slugging percentages, Murphy’s pitching stats may have somehow topped those.

On the mound, where many evaluators considered Murphy’s future the brightest, he finished the 2021-22 season with a minuscule 0.14 ERA in 58 innings of work. He struck out 137 batters over that span, good for an average of over two punch-outs per inning. Murphy only allowed one earned run to cross the plate when he was on the mound, topping what he had done in the 2020-21 season, when he also won PBR Illinois’ POTY award.

The righty casually finished his season with five complete games, four shutouts, and four no-hitters, two of which were perfect games. One of those perfect games came against the eventual Class 2A champs, Joliet Catholic Academy, on April 27.

Murphys’ all-around perfect season made him a lock for the PBR Illinois POTY Award for the second season in a row. Today, Murphy is working his way through the Braves organization and facing the new challenge that this level of play brings. 

“The competition is ridiculous, even from the spring complex ball to Low-A, the jump is ridiculous,” Murphy said. “The talent level is unmatched, I'd be kind of kicking myself if I only struck out 14 or 15 guys in a high school outing. But, if I strike out five guys in one of these outings, then I’m feeling pretty good about myself.”

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound righty has gone away from the two-way position, and now specializes in pitching as he begins his pro career.

“Yeah for sure, it was a lot different,” Murphy said about the change. “Most of it, especially transitioning from a two-way to a pitcher-only. My work load decreased as I transitioned from being a two-way to a pitcher-only, so I felt more comfortable with the pacing of it all.” 

Murphy started in five games, threw 12 innings with a 4.50 ERA between his introduction to pro ball in mid-August at the Braves’ complex club through his promotion to Low-A affiliate Augusta, where he debuted on Aug. 26. He struck out 17 batters across five Rookie and Low-A appearances, and he showed signs of becoming more comfortable in his new home.

“You could tell that I was a high school kid playing on a minor league field,” Murphy said. “It was crazy the amount that I learned. I was taken under the wing from some of the older guys, and learning from their experiences from the entire season, as some of us younger guys kind of hopped into the last 15 games of the year.”

(From Sept. 10, 2022;

With a little experience, Murphy was able to create goals for himself as he enters 2023.

“Stay true to who I am, keep doing what I'm doing,” Murphy said. “I've done a pretty good job for myself so far, always trying to get one percent better every day and continue to learn the mental side of the game, which is something that I really have to tune into. Take each day and be grateful because I get to continue to play this amazing game at the highest level.”


While Murphy was one of the main focal points of the IHSA this season, there were other individuals and teams who etched their names into record books in 2022.

+ St. Joseph-Ogden had a historic season where they rattled off 27 straight wins, locking in at No. 20 for longest winning streak. They scored 399 runs, which was the most since Lincolnwood in 2009, putting that 2022 squad at No. 15 all-time for a single season. Star OF/LHP Hayden Brazelton (2022; Kaskaskia JC) was a big contributor for the Spartans, as he scored 74 of those runs, which was the third most in a single season in IHSA history.

+ SJO’s lengthy win streak wasn’t even the longest of the ‘22 season, surprisingly. Father McGiveney had the longest winning streak of 2022, as they got up to 28 straight victories, putting them at No. 19 all-time, finishing a successful spring season as Class 1A runners-up.

+ Mt. Pulaski showcased their speed and aggressiveness on the basepaths all season, as they stole 171 bases, inserting themselves at No. 17 in IHSA history. 

+ And finally, Annawan-Wethersfield’s MIF/RHP Mason Heitzler (2023; Joliet JC commit) hit two grand slams in one game, and had 10 RBIs, tied for No. 9 all-time in a single game. 

All of this excitement allows us to look forward to the 2023 season, as these players and teams continue to insert themselves in the IHSA record books and beyond.