The senior shortstop and co-captain, a first team All-Inter-Ac and All-Main Line pick last spring, and a two-time Carpenter Cup selection, has led the Polar Bears’ strong start, batting .630 with an OPS of 1.556 in 30 at bats as of April 18, including a seventh-inning grand slam in a comeback extra-inning win against Archbishop Carroll. Last spring, she batted .514 with 15 extra-base hits, 19 RBI’s, 16 runs scored and an OPS of 1.680. Off the field, the Franklin & Marshall-bound senior is the head of Baldwin’s French literary magazine as well as a peer tutor and peer counselor.
Q: You’ve been noted for your powerful hitting – what do you think has been the most important thing you’ve learned regarding hitting, particularly power hitting? What part of your game are you working on most currently?
A: The most important thing I’ve learned about power hitting is torque. Learning how to correctly separate my upper body and lower body completely changed my game. Right now, I’m working on opening up the field and generating more power to the right side.
Q: Against Archbishop Carroll earlier this season, you hit a grand slam in the seventh inning to tie to score at 10-10 and send it into extra innings, which Baldwin then won. Tell us a little about your grand slam (the pitch, the count, your thoughts at bat, etc.)
A: I was hitless (0-for-2) going into the at bat, so my level of focus was already pretty high. Prior to the game, I had never faced Carroll’s pitcher before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was behind with two strikes. Luckily, I got a middle-in fastball that I was able to jump on.
Q: Tell us a little about your on-field leadership role at shortstop, and how your leadership role expands as co-captain.
A: Shortstop is a position with a lot of responsibility, so each time I step on the field, my main focus is communication. I think communication plays a huge role in defensive success because it keeps everyone on the field, including myself, focused and prepared for the next play. We have a lot of young talent this year, and I think as long as we continue to communicate, work hard, and keep our heads down, we could surprise a lot of people.
Q: What has been your most memorable experience as a Baldwin softball player – can you share it with us?
A: The Carroll game was without a doubt my most memorable experience as a Baldwin softball player. I can’t think of a game from the past four years that was more intense. Every play, every at bat, and every pitch counted. It was a great way to open this season, and I hope our future games are just as competitive.
Q: Who have been your biggest softball mentors, and what was the most important thing each of them taught you about softball?
A: My biggest softball mentors are definitely my parents. My mom’s continued support and belief in my abilities are unwavering, and she’s taught me how to handle failure. As for my dad, I’ve been playing softball since kindergarten, and I can count the games that he’s missed on one hand. The most important thing that he taught me was to focus on the aspects of the game that I can control: preparation, hard work, and effort. He always says that these are things that I’ll never regret, and it’s a lesson that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life both on and off the field.
Q: What is your favorite ballpark and why?
A: My favorite ballpark is Citizens Bank Park. I saw my first game there, and I won’t ever forget it.
Q: What has been your most memorable experience in Carpenter Cup – can you share it with us?
A: My most memorable experience in Carpenter Cup was last summer, when I got the chance to play against my teammates from my travel team, Delco Rage. None of them play in the Inter-Ac, so I had never played against them in high school before. It was really fun to go head to head with them and then joke about it the next day at practice.
Q: You wear uniform jersey No. 17 for Baldwin. Was there a reason you chose this number – does this number have any significance to you?
A: Before my first Little League game, I was handed a jersey with 17 on it, and I’ve kept it ever since.
Q: What do you plan to major in at Franklin & Marshall? Is there a career field that particularly interests you at the present time?
A: I’m really interested in the intersection of the brain and human behavior, so I plan to major in Cognitive Science. In terms of a career field, I’d love to do research and help develop treatments for behavioral and emotional disorders.
Fun facts – Sam Martin
Favorite book: Song of Solomon.
Favorite TV show: Shameless.
Favorite movie: Primal Fear.
Favorite athlete: Charles Barkley.
Favorite team: 76ers.
Family members: parents Patti and Kevin, sisters Brit, Lauren, and Madison.
(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student athlete must first be nominated by her coach.)