By David Krueger Herald Writer
Trever Morrison brought quite a few extra spectators to Archbishop Murphy baseball games this season.
The senior shortstop has drawn scouts from about half of the 30 Major League Baseball teams to Roman Miller Field in Everett to see him play.
And he hasn’t disappointed.
Morrison had a .550 batting average, 46 runs scored and hit five home runs in the final year of his high school career while helping Archbishop Murphy place third at the 2A state tournament. His incredible season offensively, as well as being an elite defender on the diamond, has made Morrison The Herald baseball player of the year.
“He’s within the top three players that I’ve had at Murphy,” said Archbishop Murphy head coach Stan Taloff, who’s been at the school for five years. “He’s the best shortstop I’ve ever coached in my 44 years of coaching.”
The team’s leadoff hitter, Morrison posted a .664 on-base percentage. Once on the base paths, his speed makes him an opposing pitcher’s nightmare with Morrison converting 26 of 28 stolen base attempts.
The two times he was caught were because of pitchouts from the opponent.
His speed also makes him an excellent defender, where he routinely makes plays that draw the awe of the Wildcats’ fans and the ire of the opponents.
“Every time he got on base I ran him,” Taloff said. “It wasn’t necessarily on the first pitch. We try to put him in motion as much as possible. He’s really fleet of foot and he glides across the diamond, on defense and around the bases on offense. He doesn’t run hard, he just glides. It’s amazing to watch him.”
Morrison, who has been playing shortstop since his father put him there while coaching Morrison’s tee ball team, looks up to Cleveland Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera is his favorite player because of the spectacular plays he makes on defense.
“I like him because he makes awesome plays at shortstop. I love doing that,” Morrison said. “I love making plays no one expects me to make.”
A three-year varsity member and starter, perhaps Morrison’s most amazing feat came during the middle of this season, when he had a streak where he batted 11-for-12.
“He had an 11-for-12 stretch, which is almost unheard of in baseball,” Taloff said. “It’s pretty amazing.”
It was easy for Morrison not to focus on the streak, because he didn’t know about it.
“Honestly, I didn’t even realize I was 11-for-12. I’m just trying to go 1-for-1 each time I go up into the batter’s box,” Morrison said. “I wasn’t nervous because I didn’t even know about it.”
As a junior, Morrison was a key member of the Archbishop Murphy team that won the 2A state championship in a 7-6, eight-inning game against Lynden.
The state championship remains one of Morrison’s fondest baseball memories.
“When we got it, it was quite a feeling,” Morrison said. “It was a big shocker, but at the same time you’ve got to have that mindset that you’re going to win no matter what. You’ve got to give it all you’ve got. It was definitely a sigh of relief when we got it though. It felt really good knowing all your hard work paid off.”
Unfortunately for Morrison and the Wildcats, Archbishop Murphy was unable to repeat as 2A state champions in 2013. The Wildcats lost a close 2-1 contest with Tumwater in the state semifinals, sending Archbishop Murphy to the third/fourth-place game against Clarkston. There the Wildcats rebounded with a 2-0 victory to take third at state.
Almost a week after the state tournament, Morrison said he was still a bit disappointed with the outcome.
“We definitely wanted to (repeat). We had our sights on it this year,” Morrison said. “It was definitely a tough loss. It took a lot out of us. That night we just got together and just put our heads together and realized this is our last game. We’ve got to push through and give it everything we’ve got. It was definitely tough. We knew what was possible. We knew that we could do it.”
While the year didn’t end the way Morrison and his team had hoped, his senior year did provide another opportunity on the diamond. With key Wildcat seniors Levi MaVorhis and Eric Lawson departing after the championship season, it opened the door for Morrison to take a leadership role during his final year at Archbishop Murphy.
“It was cool because last year we had Levi MaVorhis and Eric Lawson kind of leading the team. This year it felt like it was me, Derrick (Mahlum) and Zander (Clouse) kind of leading the team,” Morrison said. “It felt cool being on that side of it and helping out the younger guys.”
Taloff called Morrison “a quiet leader,” saying he led by example and let his play do the talking.
Even with scouts from the pros watching his every move.
“He got a lot of attention this year, with scouts looking at him, and still he was game face all the way when we went to the final four,” Taloff said.
Morrison, who is ranked No. 137 on Baseball America’s top 250 draft prospects for 2013, is primed to break all of those scouts’ hearts. The shortstop has committed to Oregon State University and has said that no matter where or if he gets drafted in next week’s MLB draft, he will be playing baseball in Corvallis next year.
He was projected to go in the early rounds of the draft.
“I definitely want the college experience. To develop in college,” Morrison said. “I’m pretty set on going to college.”
Morrison was drawn to the coaches, who he said seemed to really care about their players’ development. He also like the location of Oregon State, currently ranked No. 5 in the latest Baseball America poll, which he says is far enough away from home, but still close enough for his parents and family to visit and attend his baseball games.
“Everything about it. It’s great for all the kids. I haven’t heard one bad thing about Oregon State,” Morrison said. “I’m really excited to be a part of the program.”
Morrison isn’t the only Wildcat who has played his last high school baseball game. The Archbishop Murphy baseball team graduates seven seniors who started this season.
However, none may be as hard to replace as its starting shortstop.
“He’s a full-package player. He’s not only the best shortstop, but he’s the best leadoff hitter I’ve ever coached. He’ll be tough to replace for many years,” Taloff said. “He’s not really replaceable. You’ll fill in with somebody, but he’s not replaceable.”