MARTIN DOMINATES at the plate and on the mound

GVL Archive / Brian Sevald
Sophomore Katie Martin connects during a past game.

GVL Archive / Brian Sevald Sophomore Katie Martin connects during a past game.

Jon Adamy

It’s not too often that an athlete can strike fear into pitchers and hitters alike, but for Grand Valley State University’s sophomore softball pitcher Katie Martin, its all part of the game.

After receiving the GLIAC Softball Player of the Week title after the team’s trip down to Florida, where she hit .543 and smacked six home runs and 18 RBI, Martin has managed to keep up her torrid pace. A starter in all of GVSU’s (19-4, 5-1 GLIAC) 23 games, Martin’s average is still well above .500, and her 13 home runs on the season are more than all of her 10 opponents combined.

And she pitches, too.

While most players have enough trouble excelling at either pitching or batting, Martin is able to do both with startling efficiency. In addition to gaudy batting statistics at the plate, Martin has a team-best 2.10 ERA after pitching in six games.

Martin finished last season by taking home the 2010 GLIAC Freshman of the Year award, which admittedly placed some pressure on her shoulders. But it’s something she said she’s used to her advantage.

“I don’t really let that get to me or determine how I do, like I just go out there and try to do my best every single time,” she said. “The pressure doesn’t do anything to me, I really enjoy being under pressure like that.”

Martin is not the only one to feel the pressure when she plays. Opposing pitchers often intentionally walk her rather than take the risk of her knocking one out of the park when she comes up to the plate. Thus far this season, she’s walked almost twice as many times (15) as she’s struck out (8).

GVSU head coach Doug Woods said even when teams intentionally walk Martin, it helps the Lakers.

“One of the good things is if we get people on base in front of her it’s a little tough to pitch around her,” Woods said. “We have some other very good hitters behind her, so I’m hoping that helps and they’ll have to pitch to her.”

When she does not get the opportunity to swing when she’s at the plate, Martin knows that it benefits her team in the end when she gets on base.

“(Being intentionally walked) is a little bit frustrating as it goes, but I just see myself as someone on base and someone else can hit me in so it’s for the best for the team,” Martin said. “It does get frustrating but it’s worth it – if I score I know it’s worth it.”

The softball team does not have any seniors on the roster this year, which means it’s up to players like Martin to lead the team. Sophomore infielder Kayleigh Bertram said Martin’s work ethic rubs off on the rest of the Lakers.

“We can count on her to get some of the big hits, but also we see that she’s putting in 100-percent effort, and that makes us want to put in one hundred percent effort,” Bertram said.

For Martin, being a team player trumps individual accolades and home runs. She said when she plays well, the team is excited for her just like everyone else on the team.

“They’re all happy for me, but it’s not like it’s a big deal because everybody’s doing it,” Martin said. “No one singles me out, which is perfectly fine – I don’t want that at all. I’ll get a high five, of course, but so will the next person who gets a home run or a base hit.”

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