By Thomas Grant Jr.
The Dutch Fork High School graduate and former Chapin/Newberry infielder is playing his first season for the Lexington County Blowfish. The summer college baseball team competes in the Coastal Plain League and has called Lexington County Baseball Stadium home since 2015.
Martin’s first two weeks with the Blowfish have proven to be a ‘win-win’ for both parties. A blistering start at the plate for Martin earned him CPL Co-Player of the Week honors in the opening week as he batted .556, had a .714 on-base percentage (.714) and OPS (1.381) and drew four walks in four games for Lexington County.
So good was Martin’s early performance that his original 10-day contract fully guaranteed for a full season.
“He’s earned it,” Blowfish head coach K.C. Brown said. “He’s played himself into the lineup and he’s a guy we don’t want to be without and we’re going to extend his contract for the rest of the summer. He’s earned it, man. I’m really happy to have him.”
The feeling is mutual for Martin, who played in only 18 games in his freshman year at Spartanburg Methodist College. He still batted .483 with two home runs, nine walks and a .549 on-base percentage.
“Since coming off my injury, I’ve just been trying to get back to kind of what I’ve been doing over the past season at SMC. Yeah, I would say it’s definitely shocking batting .500 through five games. It’s a dream come true. I’m playing for a team I grew up watching. Being able to perform like I have on a 10-day contract as well as facing some better guys and still be able to perform as well as I did in college is a surprise.”
Martin credited his early hitting pace to seeing the baseball “like a watermelon”. In the past week, his batting average has dropped to .389 which is second on the team and he went hitless in back-to-back home games.
He still led the team in hits (7) and second in runs scored (6) and walks (5). He also has added a stolen base threat to his repertoire, providing even more versatility to the lineup, according to Brown.
Brown also believes Martin has shown an ability to rebound quickly from offensive struggles at the plate.
“When I go up to the plate, I just try to be myself, don’t try to do too much,” Martin said. “I know I’m not a big power hitter. I just go out there, try to put the barrel on the ball and hope for the best.”
Lexington County was in second place in the CPL West Division behind Forest City. The team will play host to the “All-Star Show” July 18-19, an event Martin hopes to get voted for by the fans.