Rio Grande inks versatile Murnahan

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 29, 2007

PEDRO — He can play catcher, first base, third base, and even the outfield. But Rock Hill Redmen baseball standout J.C. Murnahan has one favorite position.

A starting position.

“I don’t care where I play as long as I’m on the field. I’m happy as long as I get to play,” said Murnahan.

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Signing a letter-of-intent with the University of Rio Grande Wednesday will give Murnahan a chance to remain happy as a member of the Redmen baseball team.

Rio Grande head coach Brad Warnimont said Murnahan’s versatility is what caught his attention.

“J.C. is more than just a catcher. He’s an athlete,” Warnimont said.

“He’s not your atypical catcher. He runs a 6.8 (second) 60 (yard dash), he can play the outfield as well as third base. His big thing is flexibility. I want to put my nine best players on the field.”

Murnahan was an all-district and All-Ohio Valley Conference performer as a junior and senior.

Murnahan hit .482 this year with four home runs. He struck out only five times in 129 at-bats over a three-year period. His career batting average was .504 and he had a .537 on-base percentage.

“J.C. can play catcher, first base or third base, but he’s better suited for a place like left field or he can play right because he has the arm for it,” said Rock Hill coach Barry Litteral.

“He’ll fit in well and do well. It’s up to him.”

Warnimont said Murnahan has the necessary tools to play various positions.

“He runs the bases well. He’s a guy who can get bigger. He’s got the arm strength and the speed. You can’t teach athletic ability,” Warnimont said.

“I’m expecting to step in and play,” Murnahan said. “I want to prove myself in the fall and step in and play in the spring. I just want to step up and play and be a contributor as a freshman.”

Murnahan looked at several schools including West Virginia Tech, Shawnee State, Ohio Valley University as well as five other program.

An all-conference player in football, Murnahan considered West Virginia Tech and Kentucky Christian University for football.

But, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play baseball.

“It’s the game I’ve loved since I was six,” said Murnahan.

Warnimont has made the local area a target of his recruiting.

“We’ve signed seven kids from Southeast Ohio and Northern Kentucky. I want to get the best kids out of Southeast Ohio and we’re doing that,” said Warnimont.

Murnahan plans to major in pre-med and eventually attend postgraduate school to become an optometrist.

J.C. is the son of Emerson and Janice Murnahan.