FHS baseball alum having success at Central Alabama, signs with ASU

Published 9:22 pm Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Central Alabama Community College sophomore B.J. Martin is making life tough on opposing pitchers this year.

The 2010 Franklinton High graduate is fourth in the Alabama Community College Conference with a .384 batting average and .486 on base percentage. He ranks fifth in slugging at .522. Martin has two homers, 36 runs batted in, nine doubles, two triples and he’s tallied 40 times.

Martin, who is riding a nine-game hitting streak, played his freshman season at East Central Community College in Mississippi before taking off last year to help his mother deal with an illness.

Central Alabama coach Wynn Fletcher said Martin has hit in the three-hole all season for his club.

“He can bunt, and he can hit and run,” Fletcher said. “He’s our best bat handler. He has a fundamental swing. If he does have an 0-for-4 day, which rarely happens, you don’t have to reinvent his swing.”

Martin has had just five hitless games this season with three of those coming in three of the first six games he played this year.

Martin does a great job of putting the ball in play, which is something he’s done throughout his baseball career. One of his impressive stats is that he’s struck out just seven times in 135 at bats, which spans 181 plate appearances. He’s also walked 26 times, while being hit seven. Martin has also posted six sacrifice flies and four sacrifice bunts.

In his senior year at Franklinton, Martin struck out just three times in 102 plate appearances.

Martin said he hates striking out.

“You have to have a plan when you go to the plate,” Martin said. “Sometimes when you strikeout it’s because you are trying to do too much. I go up there and try to attack. If get to 0-2, then I try and play pepper and force them to make a play.”

He said nothing has really changed with his hitting.

“I’m focusing less on mechanics and more on seeing the ball better and letting everything else do the work for me,” Martin said. “I work on mechanics in the cage. When I’m at the plate, I have a simple approach. Basically, my approach is right center, and if it comes in, then I’ll pull it.”

Fletcher said Martin has played mostly third and shortstop but has played every infield position for them and has pitched.

Martin threw a perfect third of an inning and picked up the victory.

“If I had to do it, he could be my best catcher,” Fletcher said. “We’ve had him in the bullpen at times, and they don’t receive nearly as well as he does.”

Martin feels being versatile is important.

“At an early age my dad was my coach, and he put me in different positions. I didn’t want to play all of those positions, but he told me I had to,” Martin said. “When I got to high school they put me at third and then moved me over the field. I really like it. It keeps me on my toes. I want to play somewhere on the infield. I attack the fall and the spring pretty hard because I hate losing and sitting on the bench.”

Losing is something Martin hasn’t experienced much this season. Central Alabama is 31-13 overall and sits in second place at 19-6 in ACCC play. Central Alabama is a half of a game behind Southern Union.

Central Alabama has won five games in a row and nine of its last 10. They close out the regular season with a three-game series on the road against Wallace State. They play one tomorrow with a doubleheader Friday.

Martin has also committed to Alabama State University to play baseball for the Hornets next season.

He said Alabama State coach Mervyl Melendez contacted him the day they played Auburn.

“I went to the game, and he offered me,” Martin said. “It kind of surprised me because I didn’t know he was looking at me. I talked to my parents and then accepted. He said they have a young team and he wanted me to bring my leadership and my bat. I said I am all-in.”