By Jeffery Armstrong
Matt Murton, junior outfielder for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets baseball team and former Eagle's Landing High standout, will start his professional baseball career in a familiar place.
Murton was the 32nd pick taken in the first round by the Boston Red Sox in Tuesday's Major League Baseball Draft. Two years ago, Murton was the Most Valuable Player of Boston's Cape Cod summer league baseball tournament and last summer, he batted .400 in the tourney. His teams won the Cape Cod League championship two consecutive years.
"There were a few teams I had my eye on and Boston was one of them. I'm ecstatic," Murton said from his home. "I am blessed to be in this position and I'm ready to go ahead and start my pro career."
While he was tearing up the Cape Cod League, Murton became familiar with the Boston area and its residents.
"Boston is a great baseball town. The city has a lot of knowledgeable baseball fans," said Murton. "There's a lot of baseball history there and I'm privileged to be a part of the organization."
Murton's mother Sue said it was an exciting day in the Murton household.
"Matt was very excited to be drafted by Boston," Sue said. "He said the people were very supportive when he was up there and he enjoyed that."
Murton's younger brother Luke, who just finished his sophomore year at Eagle's Landing and starred on the baseball team, was glad his brother was drafted Tuesday.
"I'm happy for him. Boston was one of the teams he wanted to go to," said Luke. "Things worked out for him."
Murton said he can trace his great draft position to the lessons he learned from playing for Blake Lyons and the Eagle's Landing Golden Eagles and for Georgia Tech.
"Eagle's Landing was a great school I learned a lot about competitive baseball there and also from summer baseball leagues in East Cobb," Murton said. "What can I say about playing at Georgia Tech? It was an awesome experience and a major stepping stone to being drafted."
Murton said the baseball company he kept was among the best. He said Lyons and the Tech coaches helped him and he also had great teammates; all he had to do was put in the hard work to be the best player possible.
"Coach Lyons is a great guy; he won the Southern Crescent Coach of the Year this year and for good reason," said Murton. "He knows how to relate to the guys. He knows how to draw the line between being competitive and being a father figure."
Murton also said Lyons was the kind of guy that teenage boys playing sports could look up to at an age when they are going through a life transition.
Lyons was definitely happy that his former player was drafted.
"This is fantastic, super, wonderful - all the words that describe a good feeling," said Lyons. "I'm thrilled to death for Matt. He deserves everything the baseball world can give him."
Lyons said Murton should do well at the Major League level, in part because he had a great personal instructor in the person of his father Bill, a Physical Education teacher at Eagle's Landing.
"When coach Murton realized how good Matt was in baseball, he studied the game and helped him out," said Lyons. "He deserves a ton of credit for Matt's success."
Murton is only three semesters shy of obtaining his degree from Georgia Tech and said he will take advantage of Major League Baseball's policy of paying for the players' final collegiate semesters.
"Getting my degree is something I definitely want to do," Murton said.