Player Profile: Martin focuses on fielding while in Falmouth

By David Lauterbach/PA Announcer

©2013 Property of the Falmouth Commodores. No reuse without permission.
©2013 Property of the Falmouth Commodores. No reuse without permission.

Even though Richie Martin Jr. was born in 1994, he loves the 1980s, and 1986 in particular.

On June 11, 1986, the Commodores’ shortstop’s favorite movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, was released. 63 days later, Hall-of-Fame shortstop Barry Larkin, the player Martin aspires to be like, made his major league debut.

“My build is a lot like him and the way I play, if I just get a little more power, a little more speed, I think I could be just like him when I get older,” Martin said.

Larkin went on to hit .295 and steal 379 bases over his 19-year career that ended with his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame last year. Luckily for Martin, he’s already one step ahead of the famous Reds’ shortstop in that Larkin never played on the Cape.

Martin has struggled at times with the bat this season. But one place where he hasn’t struggled is on the base paths. As of Aug. 1, Martin had 11 stolen bases, good enough for second on the team. During his freshman season at Florida, the infielder only had 7.

Even though Martin has found more success on the base paths, that was not what he wanted to work on when he came to Falmouth.

“One of the goals my coaches made for me at Florida is try to have less than seven errors and above a .925 fielding percentage,” Martin said. “So that’s the thing I’ve been focusing on the most.”

Like his teammates, Martin is very superstitious. As a result, Martin knows that he is on track to complete his goal, but doesn’t know where exactly he stands in terms of errors and fielding percentage.

While working on his fielding was his main goal when he arrived in Falmouth, he said he has noticed something about the league that makes it so special and tough to play in.

“There’s a lot of great pitching out here,” Martin said. “I thought that SEC pitching was top of the notch. Well now I know that there’s a lot of great pitching around the country, and I got to face it head on.”

While Martin has struggled at times against the great pitchers he’s faced, there was one pitcher in particular that he dominated.

When Falmouth traveled to Orleans to face the Firebirds, Martin led off for the Commodores and went 2-3 against his teammate at Florida, Bobby Poyner. The Firebirds pitcher has been one of the best pitchers on the Cape this year. As of Aug 1, Poyner is 2-3 with a 1.71 ERA.

In the third inning, Martin knew what to expect from Poyner in his second at-bat of the game. The Commodores’ infielder launched a two-run homer over the left field fence. It was Martin’s first and only home run of the season so far.

“It was cool (to hit a homer), especially off one of my teammates,” Martin said. “It’s been about a year since I’ve had one.”

Now that Martin has hit a homer on the Cape, he can add another accomplishment onto his list of things that he’s done, and Larkin hasn’t. But even though that’s the case, he still looks up to the Hall-of-Famer every day. Luckily for Martin he has an entire career ahead of him to do what Larkin did the majors, and maybe even more.

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