Pat Murphy paced around his clubhouse office about two hours before the first pitch at Kino Stadium on Monday night.
Something very important was on his mind.
The first-year Tucson Padres manager watched on television as his son, Kai, played with the SY Titans in the finals of the National Youth Baseball Championship in Memphis, Tenn.
“I was more nervous for him than any other game I’ve ever coached,” said Murphy, before Tucson (72-64) beat the Reno Aces 12-4. “I’m not that way when I’m at the games he’s pitching, but (Kai) being on TV and stuff, I was just nervous.
“I just wanted him to feel good about himself and it worked out.”
Yes it did.
Kai, whose 13th birthday was also Monday, became the star of his game when he hit a pinch-hit RBI single in the to give the California-based 12-and-under squad a walk-off mercy-rule win and get dog-piled by his teammates in celebratory fashion.
More importantly, however, Kai made his father proud — very proud — in helping grab the title.
“I’m just happy that he got the opportunity to do that,” Murphy said. “He’s better than I could ever be.
“It is emotional to see him do it. I had to go off by myself for a little because I’m just so proud of him.”
It wasn’t the first time in the tournament Murphy was proud of Kai, either.
The left-hander threw a complete-game two-hitter with seven strikeouts in pool play action on Friday, against the No. 2 team in the country.
Kai, who went 3 for 4 at the plate in the tournament, should be getting back to Tucson tonight.
It’s not typical for he and Murphy to be separated for long because Kai usually plays with the Phoenix-based Sandlot team. But he was invited to join the SY Titans for the national tournament.
“I’m going to tell him I love him and how proud I am of him,” Murphy said. “It’s pretty special.”
With the season winding down, Murphy actually isn’t looking forward to the added free time, which most players take advantage of to spend time with their families.
Murphey considers family time to be very important and makes sure to get plenty of it.
“I get family time every day,” Murphy said. “The offseason for me is something I don’t even like to think about.
“I love what I do — I could do this every day — but I don’t love the offseason.”
Meanwhile, Jonathan Galvez, who started at second base for Tucson on Monday night, said he is looking forward to getting a chance to spend time with his family after not getting to see them for roughly six months.
“The family is No. 1,” Galvez said. “You have to spend time with the family and enjoy the moment.”