After spending the bulk of his first two varsity seasons as a pitcher, Our Lady of Good Counsel’s Danny Martinson earned a spot in the everyday lineup this spring and the versatile infielder-pitcher has more than made the most of his new opportunity during the early stages of the season.
Martinson, in fact, has not only earned a starting spot in the field, where he has manned first and third base, but the University of Richmond-bound senior also has claimed the No. 3 spot in the team’s batting order, a position typically occupied by a team’s best all-around hitter.
“In summer ball, you’ll get a chance to swing the bat but when you get down to high school, you’ve got so many kids who can play every position,” said Martinson, who started his high school career as a catcher but that position was held by one of the area’s best backstops in T.J. Brockway, who graduated last year. “This is my first year, me and Kevin Ross actually have been able to swing a bat. We haven’t gotten as many runs as we’d like but we’re hitting the ball well.”
Martinson began the week with a .395 batting average (17 for 43) with seven runs scores and six RBI. The Falcons (9-2) are averaging 3.5 runs per game in Washington Catholic Athletic Conference play with three one-run victories and a one-run loss to St. John’s College (D.C.) for a 5-1 league mark.
“He’s probably one of our best hitters. He can take [the ball] anywhere,” Good Counsel pitcher-outfielder-first baseman Kevin Doherty said of Martinson. “He’ll get on facing the best pitchers in the area. He’ll just drive it and never strikes out so he gives the other team a chance to get errors and he always gets on base, which is huge for the team because we always need people on.”
Martinson collected five hits in a doubleheader split with Archbishop Spalding, the reigning Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champion. He also banged out three hits with an RBI against Gilman, the defending MIAA B champion, drove in one of the team’s two runs in a 2-1 victory against Bishop McNamara and had two hits and two RBI in a 10-0 win against Bishop Ireton.
At the same time, Martinson had committed two errors in 72 total chances with three double plays and 59 putouts.
“He could play anywhere we put him,” said Good Counsel coach Carl Smith. “I told him to start taking fly balls last week in case we have to move him out there [to the outfield]. He came back in better shape this year. He’s physically bigger, faster, stronger, which you hope every kid gets, and he worked hard in the offseason. It’s showing up. He’s probably saved us several runs at first base this year.”
Speaking of saves, Martinson also has recorded three of those while serving as the team’s closer this spring. He has allowed a single earned run in six appearances that had spanned 8 2/3 innings to go with six strikeouts and a 0.81 earned run average while using an arm angle that lies somewhere between three-quarters and side-arm.
“I was lower a little while ago,” Martinson said of his delivery. “I started throwing harder and I gradually started to come up. I’d like to get down lower like I used to. I had a lot more movement but it’s a different angle and it throws them off. It’s working.”
So much so that the University of Richmond offered him a scholarship. Martinson most likely will be a pitcher in college.
“I love the school, it’s a great academic school,” he said. “It’s got a small campus. I really like that. I love the coaches there. They’re good guys. I’ll most likely be in the closer’s role [because] kids can react when they get their first two at-bats against me but that first round of at-bats, it’s kind of tough for them [to adjust to his pitches].”
That’s something Martinson has had no problem with this spring.
“He’s been like that his whole life,” added Good Counsel shortstop-pitcher Colin McGowan, who has played alongside Martinson since their elementary school days. “Everyone can fill in anywhere they need to go and he’s really one of our top players. He’s really stepping up for us this year.”