Swift Current's Ethan Murdoch recently capped off an incredible final year at McCook Community College.
The outfielder/catcher won the school's Male Academic Athlete of the Year. He led McCook in nearly every offensive category while also scoring a 4.0 GPA with a heavy science course load.
The sophomore was quick to acknowledge how accommodating his teachers and school were in allowing him to succeed off the field.
"I put a lot of time in school throughout the last two years," he said. "A lot of times when people go to junior colleges, the school can be put on the back burner a little bit more for some people and they kind of take the classes they need to take to get by. That's something I never did and I tried to challenge myself in a lot of the classes I took."
Murdoch's courses included anatomy, physiology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, nutrition, and zoology. He's majoring in biology.
On the diamond, the former Swift Current minor baseball player had to overcome the Tommy John surgery he underwent in the spring of 2022.
"Last year in a game, I slipped while I was throwing and it just came out funny and my arm kind of blew up," he explained. "I had to get a graph for my hamstring, a tendon in my hamstring and they basically put that into my elbow to replace my ulnar collateral ligament. It sort of becomes a ligament over time with the healing process."
It seemed like a slow return to action for Murdoch as he began fielding fly balls a few months later. That progressed to swinging the bat lightly around 4-5 months post-surgery.
"I started hitting off the tee with wiffle balls to start, it was pretty boring, it was really tough," he said. "I was at school at this point and we were playing and having fall scrimmages and practices and I just had to watch."
November 11 marked the six-month mark, which is when he was cleared to begin throwing. Before he knew it, the doctor cleared him for game action on February 1, a few days before McCook's season began in Dallas.
"I was basically right on time, I had a nine-month recovery to full strength," he said. "Obviously not necessarily right when I started playing again I was back to normal but I was healthy enough to start playing."
The freak injury last season didn't hold Murdoch back from appearing in all 62 games McCook played this season. He posted a batting average of .396, with 18 home runs, 82 RBIs, 78 runs scored, and an on-base percentage of .488.
"For us as a team it was really tough because we were inside a lot at the start of the year because of terrible weather," he said. "That extra time inside in the gym we were just hitting all the time because we couldn't get outside... Once we got outside, we really swung the bat well and I think that extra time in our indoor facility really paid off."
Now that Murdoch is finished his junior college career, he will spend the next few weeks mulling over options for his next four years at school.
"I have a lot of good options right now and I have a lot of interest I've gotten the last few weeks," he said. "Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, I'll have something for you."
As for now, he'll be joining the Swift Current 57's who open up their season on Friday at home against the Regina Red Sox.