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Martin: Alma softball in a good place 4/29/22

Martin: Alma softball in a good place

By Kevin Taylor 

Alma Schools 


Makenzie Martin will leave the Alma softball program with a number of decorations. 


But first, she’d like one more playoff ride. 


The Lady Airedales (15-8) can clinch a playoff berth next week with a win over Mountain Home. It’s been a season of highs and lows for Martin and Co. 


An early-April loss to Russellville could drop the team into fourth place unless Siloam Springs (5-20, 1-11) can upset Vilonia next week. 


No matter what fate the Lady Airedales end on, it’s been a remarkable two-season run for Martin. After missing most of her sophomore season because of the COVID shutdown, Martin is hitting .464 over her last two seasons with eight home runs. 


"My sophomore and junior year, I think I only had four (homers) on the season,” Martin said. “I was expecting to do well, but not as good as I'm doing right now.”


Just how dominant has Martin been? She was hitting almost .700 15 games into the season. 


The right-handed slugging Martin was 39-for-71 in 2021 with four homers and 25 RBIs, and she’s currently hitting .549 with four homers and 29 RBIs. She has 16 extra-base hits. 


"I think we're doing really well," Martin said. "I think it's good, also, because when me and 'T' (Taelynn Perry) leave, she (coach Charla Parrish) isn't losing too many players. Once we (graduate), she'll only have two spots to fill."


Perry, who had 52 hits in 2021, is batting .443 with 30 RBIs this season. 


“(We have) two really good ones (seniors),” Parrish said. “It’s good to have leadership from both of them, on the field and off the field, with either hitting or fielding. (But) we’ve spread it out between the two seniors. Jordan Gramlich had a big triple the other night against Paris. Jocelyn Harless has come up big for us this season, and Jada Wallis hit a grand slam in the first inning against Greenbrier. We’ve had a bunch of kids step up all the way through the lineup.”


Wallis has knocked in 26 runs (third-best on the team) and is hitting .380. 


"I do consider myself a team leader," Martin said. "I'm quiet at school, but at practice, I lead the stretches and as a pitcher, I'm kind of in the center, so I have to keep my energy up and keep all others around me up. 


"I have to make sure they keep their heads up, so they don't get down."


Martin had a productive off-season of workouts, Parrish said, that’s helped her become even better this season. The Eastern Oklahoma State College-bound standout rarely comes off the field. 


“She kind of did all that on her own,” Parrish said. “I guess toward the end of last year and over the summer, she really started working out on her own - going to the gym, eating right, and doing different things. She got into shape and became a better athlete.”


So much so, the coach said, Martin doesn’t require a courtesy runner and she plays second when she’s not pitching. 


“She went from someone having to courtesy run for her to playing second base,” Parrish said. “She does it all. It’s just going to benefit her when she goes to Eastern (Oklahoma State College) and whatever she wants to do after that and become a better player.”


Martin attributes growing up in a close-knit family with much of her success, on the field and in the classroom. 


"When me and my brother (Zachary) were younger, we would go to my nana's house and swim and eat snow cones and chill over at her house,” Martin said. “We always had a good time over at her house. Growing up in a close-knit family, we have dinner at 6, movie night, and sometimes we’ll just talk.”


As for wearing the uniform, Martin embellishes every moment she has. 


"I feel like playing for coach Parrish and being able to play for Alma in a good softball program is really good," she said.