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Sebastian Murillo hits first home run of the season, shines defensively in first Gatemen victory in eight days

Sebastian Murillo (Georgia) fields a throw at second during Wareham’s 9-8 win over the Bourne Braves, July 6, 2023 at Spillane Field in Wareham. Photo by Maddy Djuric.

On a team with a significant amount of talkative, outgoing personalities, Sebastian Murillo isn’t often the one drawing the most attention. He’s not typically cracking jokes or playing around when he’s at the baseball field; Murillo stays focused on the task at hand.

The Georgia Bulldog has flown somewhat under the radar throughout his time as a Gateman, despite making stellar defensive plays at shortstop and consistently reaching base. He’s one of the few remaining players who have been with the team since Opening Day, and has thus been witness to all of the highs and lows.

Thursday night saw an end to arguably the lowest of lows for the Gatemen this season, largely thanks to Murillo. The Gatemen knocked off division rival Bourne in a tense 9-8 victory at Spillane Field, ending their five-game losing streak and earning their first win in July.

“It’s good to be back in the W column,” Murillo said. “We had a meeting this morning and just talked about that we’re fine and everything’s going to play out, just keep playing hard. We’re just one hit away.”

It took more than one hit for Wareham to come away with the win, but one hit was all Murillo needed to set the tone for his night.

In his first at-bat in the bottom of the first inning, Murillo stepped into the batter’s box with a runner on and two outs. The Gatemen already led by two runs, but knew they would have to keep the offense rolling in order to stay ahead.

With that in mind, Murillo took a swing at the first pitch and sent the ball sailing over the left field wall for his first home run of the season.

“There wasn’t really much thinking,” Murillo said about his headspace as he rounded the bases. “I was just looking around, like ‘This is awesome’.”

Sebastian Murillo (Georgia) rounds third after hitting a home run during Wareham’s 9-8 win over the Bourne Braves,, July 6, 2023, at Spillane Field in Wareham. Photo by Maddy Djuric.

That home run was Murillo’s only true hit of the night, as he went 1-for-5 and reached base on a fielder’s choice. His bat, however, still accounted for three of Wareham’s nine runs and that impact can’t be overstated.

It’s difficult to overshadow one’s first home run of the season, but if anyone could do it, it would be Murillo with his defensive showmanship. On multiple occasions throughout Thursday night’s game, Murillo pulled off diving stops and long-range throws that had the crowd gasping in awe.

Perhaps the most notable play of the night came on a sharply hit ball that Murillo snagged, bobbled and caught barehanded to make the throw and just barely beat out the runner at first base.

Murillo said he knows he’s not always going to be the biggest, fastest or strongest player on the field, but that doesn’t stop him from putting in the work to prove that he belongs there.

“There’s more people with more talent, but you’ve got to beat them at something else,” he said.

Murillo is putting his hard work to good use out on the Cape, and credits his father for a large part of his success. The countless hours of work, the “unwanted hours”, were fueled by Murillo’s own motivation, but also by the fact that his dad was right there with him.

“I can remember being in the front yard, in the backyard, on the field, every day with my dad,” Murillo said. “At times, during COVID, we would even (be) hitting it in our apartment complex in the parking lot.”

Murillo’s defense has been one of the most consistent parts of the Gatemen team throughout the first half of the season, and everyone around him quickly realized how talented he was. 

“He’s the best defensive shortstop in the league,” manager Ryan Smyth said after Wareham’s win over Cotuit June 24. “I’ve been in this league for a while now and I don’t know if there’s going to be better hands out there.”

Murillo will be entering his senior year at Georgia this fall, but when he returns to his college team he’ll have a few more accomplishments under his belt. Beyond having the reputation as one of the best shortstops in the league and a highly effective bat, Murillo can also say he got to do something he’s always wanted to.

“It’s actually kind of funny, you talk about how you manifest it and it happens,” he said. “This past year I was like, ‘Man, I hope I get this opportunity’. And something came up and now we’re just running with it. So that’s all we’ve got to do now.”