By Lenny Sementi
Softball player Jessie Martin has been planning out her future on the softball diamond for the past few years and a few weeks back that plan became reality. The Warrior senior jumped in with both feet signing a letter of intent to continue her softball career at Olney Central College.
Martin had a breakout year in her sophomore campaign holding down the hot corner for the Lady Warriors. The third baseman committed just four errors in over 50 attempts posting a 92 percent fielding average earning her a spot on the Central Illinois Conference All League first team. Hardware collection didn’t stop there as she collected a few all area nods and a third team All State selection by the coaches association. She also moved her way up the batting order in her first full year of varsity softball landing in the three hole to end the season with a .438 batting average and on base percentage of .495 recording one homerun and 28 RBI’s.
After not competing the spring season due to its cancellation she was able to compete at a high level playing for the Mattoon Pride. The Pride used her at a few infield positions and behind the plate at times on their way to a NSA World Series Championship in late July in Gulf Shores Alabama.
Coach Nick Short has been a mainstay at Olney for a long time and developed a winning mentality. Martin will be the fifth Warrior to take the field for the Blue Knights and should compete for a spot on the diamond quickly with her ability to play numerous positions. “I was more than a little nervous to meet coach Short because we only ever emailed before my visit,” stated Martin. “After talking to him for a little bit all those nerves went away, I felt like he was someone I could go to if something went wrong. He also seemed like a coach that would tell you what you’re doing wrong but would definitely bring you back up and I really value that a lot.”
Martin was being recruited by three or four other schools but when asked about her decision She stated, “I chose Olney because after my visit it felt like it could be a second home for me. I loved how everything was so close, the field, the apartments, and the classrooms. My hopes for my senior season is ‘that of course it ends up happening’ which I think it will. Last year we got the year stripped away from us. It affected everyone but I can’t imagine how the seniors felt. This year I hope we can play for those seniors and to play like it’s our last game because as we all know now we’re not sure when it’ll be.”