By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (May 5, 2015) — After playing every position except first base in a high school career full of deep playoff runs with one final postseason journey ahead, Stephenville High School senior utility standout and leadoff hitter Ben Martin cemented his college baseball plans Tuesday morning.
After verbally committing weeks prior, Martin signed a national letter of intent to compete for Navarro College in Corsicana. He was joined by his parents, Chet and Gina Martin, high school baseball head coach James Boxley and assistant coach Tyler Kelsey, high school track and field head coach Kreg Kimple and assistant coach Casey Hamilton for the signing in the “Green Room” on the SHS campus.
Martin is a four-year letterman for the Yellow Jackets who plans to focus on playing outfield at Navarro, a national powerhouse that won the National Junior College Athletic Association World Series as recently as 2011. He was primarily a utility infielder throughout high school, playing mostly second base, shortstop and third base throughout his first three seasons.
Martin also played some in the outfield before this season, and opened his senior campaign in centerfield. But a season-halting injury to catcher Ian Horton put Stephenville in a bind. As he always has for the Yellow Jackets, Martin answered the challenge.
Donning a chest piece, leg guards and a catcher’s mask for the first time since his Little League days, Martin has since been kneeling behind home plate and serving as the battery mate for First Pitch All-American Maddux Conger, Josh Bulla, Alex Jimenez, Bradley Morrison and others on the pitching staff.
Martin has pitched for Stephenville as well, even pitching and catching in the same game this season. Behind the plate is where he will be when the Jackets begin the state playoffs. They face Burkburnett in a best-of-three Region I-4A bi-district series in Graford Friday and Saturday. Game one is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and game two for noon on Saturday. If needed, game three will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of game two.
Martin was also an all-district receiver in football, helping Stephenville to the 4A Division I semifinals and quarterfinals as a junior and senior after the Jackets won the 3A Division I state title his sophomore year. He is a two-time regional qualifier in track and field. He anchored the 4×400 meter relay squad that finished fourth at last weekend’s Region I-4A Track and Field Championships in Lubbock.