Aug 09, 2013 | Dan Thompson | 306 views
Alumnus Martin Shines For Mavericks
The following article was taken from the Medicine Hat News.
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His arm’s not what it used to be, but it’s more deadly than ever.
The only hint is seeing the lack of complete games on Billy Martin’s resume this summer.
As the 5-foot-11 right-hander comes off the field from Medicine Hat Mavericks practice Monday, he smiles as he hears another quip about the fact he can no longer extend the limb straight.
With the Western Major Baseball League’s pitcher of the year award under his belt and an invite to play for Canada at the World Baseball Challenge later this month, there’s no need to feel sorry for him.
“It’s kind of weird thinking there’s only a week and a half left wearing the Mavericks uniform,” he said. “It’s been exciting, it’s been a great ride. Hopefully it ends well for us.”
No matter how it ends for the team, Martin is going out in style. The 23-year-old from Mississauga has no intention of playing pro ball, having accepted a job with Oyen’s Badlands Baseball Academy after three summers in Medicine Hat and a college career with Canasius University in New York.
Canasius won a league title this spring, but Martin only threw 11 innings all season.
“It was after my first start of the year,” he said of the injury. “I was fine throughout the winter, then I get on the mound first game of the year, I only went four innings maybe.
“The next day my arm, I could not even lift it. It took maybe a month, month and a half off.”
And then made the trek west.
“He had a flexor strain in his forearm,” said Mavs pitching coach Brett Stanton. “We were definitely worried, because he’s always been a horse, we’ve always depended on him.
“We got him a little rest for the summer, we’ve tried to limit his innings just to make sure he’s healthy and stays strong.”
Instead of complete games Martin has settled for shutting out teams through six or seven before turning the ball over to a reliable bullpen. The most runs he’s allowed in an appearance? Three, in a 12-4 win over Melville June 27. Only one was earned.
Martin’s earned run average of 1.14 is believed to be the best ever by a WMBL starting pitcher. His WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) was a ridiculous 0.78. And that doesn’t include his six innings of four-hit ball (plus no walks and eight strikeouts) in the series-clinching win at Moose Jaw last Friday.
“I think he’s actually getting stronger,” said Stanton. “But we’ve also got to get other guys work.”
Martin won’t get the start in Game 1 of the Mavericks’ semifinal series tonight David Hatt will meaning he wouldn’t be available for a second appearance in the same series. Given the pitching staff’s dominance the team probably doesn’t need him for it anyways, and last week’s invite to play for Canada later this month he has an incentive to save his arm for a couple more starts. Hatt and Kyle McKay will also join him in Prince George for the international tournament Aug. 13 to 23.
“That’ll be very exciting,” he said. “I’ve never worn the maple leaf, so that’ll be pretty cool.
“Winning a title here, then going to play for Canada, I think that’d be a good way to end my career. I’m getting older; my body’s telling me that every day.”