Montclair High School’s Martin smacks the ball en route to NJ Group 4 softball honors
A softball squad that only makes it to the second round of the state sectional tournament is not one that will usually have one of its players make a group all-state team.
Montclair High School’s Hannah Martin is an exception to that rule.
The sophomore third baseman's offensive numbers were such that the voters could not look past them, and she was named last week to the All New Jersey Group 4 second team.
Martin was tops in New Jersey in RBI with 56. She led Group 4 in hits (53) and extra-base hits (23) as well as RBI and was second in the group in runs scored with 52, behind teammate Brooklyn Awad, a freshman who had 54 runs.
Those numbers helped Montclair finish with a 20-7 record and the Super Essex Conference Liberty Division title.
The honor caught both Martin and her coach, Michael Goldstein, off guard.
"I was surprised usually because the players on the all-state list have teams that go deep in the state playoffs," Goldstein said. "We don't get the recognition because we are not one of the power teams. But her hitting statistics were so outrageous."
Martin was blindsided by the honor as well.
"I was honestly really surprised to get all-state because I didn't even know it was a possibility," she said. "It's such an honor to be mentioned with all of those great players, and it’s still hard to believe."
Goldstein said that there's nothing Martin can't do. "She's the total package, and I think when it’s all said and done that she will be the best player in Montclair history," he said.
For Martin things started in the 2021-22 off-season, when she put in extra time getting ready for this spring.
"I worked on everything from fielding to speed and agility to hitting," she said. "This winter I really committed to the position of third base and focused on learning every aspect of the position."
Coming into the spring Martin recalled her coach’s mentioning the “sophomore slump.” In her freshman year she led the Mounties in both hits and runs.
"Prior to the season, coach Mike had reminded me about the sophomore slump," she said. “Having said that, I have always approached every game and every year the same way. So honestly, this year hasn't felt much different at all."
She also said her attitude about practice has been beneficial when it comes to a game.
"Treating every practice like a game has prepared me for every in-game situation and has simplified the game," she said.
While her numbers on paper are extraordinary, Goldstein said Martin’s best aspect is her intangibles, so much so that she has already been named a captain for her junior season next spring.
"She's selfless and a great teammate," the coach said. "She is not thinking of her own stats."
This spring, Martin said, possibly the most important game was the 18-9 victory over Caldwell on April 22 as the Mounties outraced the Chiefs for first place in SEC Liberty. Martin had a huge game, going 5-for-5 with two home runs, six RBI and four runs scored.
"It was such a great game, especially for our senior class, who had yet to beat them in their careers," she said. "It was an awesome feeling for the team to come together and finally beat Caldwell."
Martin also had a big game against rival Glen Ridge, as she went 3-for-4 with six RBI and two runs scored in the 16-7 win in the Essex County Tournament. The Mounties had lost 14-11 to the Ridgers in the second game of the season.
"Being able to come back and win two games, one being a county game, was extremely satisfying to say the least," she said, also referring to the 10-1 win over Glen Ridge on April 25.
Martin is not resting on her laurels this summer. She is going to play for the East Coast Tsunami, on the 18-under Gold team, as well as on the 23-under Gold team that includes college players.
She checked off her to-do list for this summer: "The main things I'm going to work on this summer are tinkering with my swing, specifically adding more power," she said. "In addition, I am going to work on my position at third, focusing on my lateral movement."
She added that she will concentrate on softball and will not play volleyball in the fall, as she did the last two years.
Next spring, it seems a sure bet Martin will again become the opposing pitchers’ worst nightmare on the diamond.