Richmond’s Meranda Martin is confident, not cocky, and with good reason. She just completed one of the best softball seasons of any freshman in the state.

Pitching for the underdog Bobcats against Limestone in the Class D state championship game, Martin fanned 11 while also scoring three runs and tripling in her team’s 11-5 win.

The statistics were typical of those Martin posted throughout the season when she batted .670 and scored 45 runs. As a pitcher, she allowed 31 runs in 108 innings while striking out 125 batters and walking just 12.

For her efforts, Martin has been selected Kennebec Journal Softball Player of the Year. Also considered were Gardiner’s Brittany Rollins and Cony’s Arika Brochu.

Martin is a three-sport athlete at Richmond, playing soccer in the fall and basketball in the winter, but softball is her sport, one she pursues year-round.

She sees her pitching coach, Kayla Marsh, each Sunday and her hitting coach, Ashley Woodcock, once a week as well. She arrived in high school as a polished player, yet one willing to take advice.

“She’s a very coachable kid,” Richmond coach Rick Coughlin said. “She’ll listen to you.”

A day after the state championship game, Martin and freshman Camryn Hurley were off to a tournament in Vermont, playing for the Southern Maine Flames, an ASA 16-U travel team. Playing with and against others who are her equal or better, prepared Martin for any big games she might encounter in high school. Before the state game, she felt excitement but not nervousness.

“Those teams have all kinds of good players and they all play to win,” Coughlin said. “That’s how she plays.”

Coughlin said Martin is not only the best freshman he’s coached in 28 years, but also the fastest player. Batting from the left side, the right-handed Martin can beat out a bunt just about any time she attempts one. But she can also hit for power and had several extra base hits.

“Toward the end of the season, I really ripped the ball,” Martin said. “Rick understands I have a hitting coach. I think he knows I know my stuff. He leaves it up to me most of the time.”

Martin’s power belies the fact she stands 5-foot-3 and weighs just 115 pounds. She also has good speed on her pitches.

“I’ve just worked very hard on different drills to get my velocity up there,” she said.

She’s been pitching since fourth grade, influenced by her older sister Leandra, who pitched for a state title team at Richmond in 2010. One of six freshmen on the team, Martin emerged as one of the team’s leaders because of her knowledge of the game and her ability to play it.

“She always gets her teammates up and is always talking to them,” Coughlin said. “She knows the game so well and thinks it constantly.”

Martin is also playing summer soccer, but decided some time ago that softball was the sport for her.

“I want to play in college,” she said.

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