RICHMOND — Richmond High School junior Meranda Martin was recently named Player of the Year in the East/West Conference in softball, no surprise considering her resume as well as this year’s statistics.

Unlike Major League Baseball or the NBA there was no voting list released, but there’s little doubt her teammate, sophomore Sydney Tilton, was considered as well. The two form the most potent pitching, catching and hitting combination in Class D softball and have contributed heavily to the team’s 66-game win streak, best in state history.

The two played softball together growing up — Tilton even made the district’s all-star baseball team at age 12 — and arrived in high school ready to play.

“They work hard in the offseason, which most of us don’t,” Richmond senior Kelsea Anair said. “This is their sport and I knew they could carry us pretty far if they wanted to.”

Martin and Tilton alternate pitching and catching and both are hitting over .500 this season. They bring different aspects to the team based in part on their size.

“Sydney’s big and strong, Meranda’s small and fast,” said Richmond coach Tony Martin, Meranda’s dad.

Both are solid pitchers. Martin was on the mound as a freshman when the Bobcats won the first of three state championships. Tilton grew up primarily as a catcher but her speed and accuracy on the mound was tough to ignore. In 34 innings of work this season, she’s struck out 58 while allowing six walks. Martin has fanned 47 in 40 innings while walking five.

Tony Martin generally alternates the two on the mound but said the team is a little stronger when Tilton is behind the plate because of her experience and throwing arm.

“Sydney doesn’t let anything go by,” he said. “She’s a wall back there.”

Neither complains no matter where they play.

“I’ve been catching Meranda for over half my life,” Tilton said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Since we’re pitcher and catcher with our relationship we know what to throw, we know when to throw it, we know what’s working and what’s not working. And with different teams we know what we can and cannot throw. We’re always on the same page and if we’re not we call time and meet up.”

Martin has mastered a wider variety of pitches than Tilton to this point and has command of her curve, drop, changeup knuckleball and fastball.

“I think that my junk is working a lot better this year that it has in the past,” Martin said. “We’ve been mixing it in a lot more than usual.”

Both play during the offseason for the Southern Maine Flames and often alternate on the mound. At the same time, they’ve proven they can play any position on the field. Martin, with her speed, is an excellent outfielder as well as shortstop, while Tilton is strong at the corner and behind the plate. There is less experimentation with the Bobcats, though.

“Our infield is so strong it just makes sense for us to alternate at pitcher and catcher,” Martin said.

Martin has developed into a solid catcher despite a lack of experience at the position.

“Meranda’s like me,” Tilton said. “She can play anywhere.”

As much as they enjoy playing a variety of positions, they both love to hit.

Martin is batting .536 and leads the team in hits, walks and runs while Tilton is batting .551 with seven doubles, three triples and three home runs. Neither has struck out this season.

Both have seen Ashley Woodcock for hitting instruction for the past few years. Woodcock played for the University of Southern Maine and later coached for nine years at St. Joseph’s College.

“These are two of the best kids at their level that I’ve ever seen,” Woodcock said.

Woodcock suggested Martin bat from the left side in junior high to utilize her speed and she’s flourished.

“Meranda has a lot of weapons,” Woodcock said. “She can slap, she can fake bunt, she can bunt and she can swing away. On her summer team you’re going to see all those different weapons.”

Woodcock recognized Tilton’s power when she played in middle school.

“In the eighth grade she actually swung harder than a lot of kids I’ve seen in college,” she said. “I would be afraid to stand at third base when Sydney was up to the plate.”

Both Martin and Tilton played on the state championship soccer team at Richmond last fall — Martin at midfield and Tilton in goal — as well as the basketball team which reached the Class C tournament. But softball is their game and they’ve dedicated themselves to getting better year round. Both plan to play in college but there are high school matters to deal with first.

“It’s been great,” Martin said. “Everyone that we play with, we all hang out together at school. We have really good chemistry and I think that’s a big part of every sport.”


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