Jack Murphy admits he loves ''as much attention as possible'' and the spotlight was squarely on him when he hit an extra-innings home run to set-up the Canberra Cavalry's 9-5 victory over the Samsung Lions to earn an historic spot in the Asia Series final in Taiwan on Wednesday night.
The Cavalry have rewritten the record books since arriving in Taiwan last week, becoming the first ABL team to win an Asian Series game, the first to make the play-offs, the first to make the grand final and the first non-Japanese, Korean or Taiwanese team to win a game.
Murphy said he was ''just returning the favour'' on Monday night to the Taiwanese fans who have quickly adopted him as a cult hero.
Until the catcher latched onto the fastball, he'd been in a rut and was averaging just .083 during the series.
But fortunes can change with one swing of the bat and Murphy went from zero to hero with one towering bomb.
The Toronto Blue Jay prospect knows how fickle the game can be and was just waiting for his chance.
With scores locked at 5-all after the nine-regulation innings, he smashed Lions closer Kim Hyun Woo over the right-field fence for a two-run homer to break the deadlock – just the second home run of the tournament.
Moments later, first-base Aaron Sloan produced a monster double that drove in two more runs and sealed the win.
''It's a game of streaks, you get hot, you get cold and you just try to make the cold ones as short as possible and the hot ones as long as possible,'' Murphy said.
''...You always know that this team was built on trying to play as selfless as possible and trying to play to win.''
Going into the finals as massive underdogs, the Cavalry looked the better team from the start and quickly shot out to a 5-2 lead, thanks largely to second-base Jon Berti, who starred with bat, boot and glove.
He got hits, stole bases, took blinding catches and was electric in the field and if it wasn't for Murphy's long bomb would surely have been named most valuable player.
But the Lions capitalised on some loose pitching in the bottom of the fifth and levelled the score, gaining the momentum in the process.
From there the Cavalry scrapped, with reliever Jeff Lyman pulling the punches, and forced it into extra innings.
''[Berti has] been huge, he's a top-of-the-order [hitter], a very dangerous player, not only with his speed, but he has the ability to drive the ball out of the park as well,'' Cavalry coach Michael Collins said.
''It's been great to have someone like that at the top of the order ... and his defense has been huge as well.''
Lions coach Ryu Joong Il said this Cavalry team was a new breed compared with Australian Baseball League teams that have competed at the Asia Series in the past.
''The Australian team is quite powerful, a lot different from the other Australian team [Perth Heat] we knew and that is why they won,'' he said.
Collins said Ethan Cole would probably start for Canberra when they play the winner of the second semi between Tohoku Golden Eagles and Uni-President Lions, which is played on Tuesday night.
Cavalry 1 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 4 – 9 14 0
Lions 1 0 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 – 5 8 4
Cavalry's best – SS Berti (3-5, RBI, 3SB), 3B Barnes (4-5, RBI), C Murphy (1-5, 2RBI, HR), DH Wells (2-4, RBI), 1B Sloan (1-5, 2RBI), P Lyman (3I, 2H, 0R, 2K), P Toler (1I, 0H, 0R).