Thursday, May 27, 2010

Reigning MVP Martinez Excels Late

Jacksonville's Alex Martinez experienced a moment all little kids dream of when they start playing the game of baseball - a game-winning hit followed by your teammates mobbing you in celebration.

His game-winning double in the bottom of the ninth kept the Dolphins' hopes of back-to-back Atlantic Sun Baseball Championships alive as they eliminated the Stetson Hatters, 3-2, on Thursday.

A season ago, Martinez hit a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning of the A-Sun Championship title game with Lipscomb giving the Dolphins a 6-4 lead en route to a 7-4 victory and their fourth A-Sun Championship. Though that blast came in the top of the inning and did not end the game like his double did on Thursday, he was able to rank the two shortly after the game.

"I don't know, that's a tough one...depending I guess on what we do from here on out," Martinez said. "I guess right now last year. I mean it was a big home run and it felt great. I mean they all feel good."

With the Dolphins suffering a 10-1 loss on Wednesday to Mercer and having just allowed Stetson to tie the score in the top half of the ninth, Martinez, a senior, came to the plate with perhaps a greater sense of the moment.

"This [year] is my last year of playing college I was just thinking this might be the last at bat of my career, so I better make it count," he said. "In those situations I just for some reason tend to focus a little more."

Martinez had struggled through the first two games of the A-Sun Championship, going hitless in his first six at bats. However, he applied knowledge he remembered from when the Dolphins and Hatters met in the final week of the regular season.

"Last weekend they kept beating me with fastballs and today they were taking the same approach so I sat on one and just hit it," he said. "I've learned throughout all the years of playing baseball that if you're so antsy in those situations, you're only going to get yourself out. I talk to myself, breathe deep and just try to lock in as much as I can. When I first got [to Jacksonville], I pressed a lot and the coaches all along with [Terry Alexander], they've all helped me, instead of trying so hard, to just let it happen."

Martinez wasted little in providing the winning tally and now the Dolphins can only hope their next ninth-inning rally ends with Martinez at the plate.

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