Samantha Martin has had nothing short of a stellar career at Chiles High School. And now the senior pitcher has led the Timberwolves to their second straight FHSAA Finals.
Martin heads into today’s 7A semifinal against Tampa Freedom at the Vero Beach Sports Village with gaudy numbers.
The right-hander has a career record of 61-17 and career ERA of 1.50, setting a new school record.
She also has a school-record 787 career strikeouts, topping former Florida State pitcher Sarah Hamilton’s 677.
And while all of these numbers are impressive, maybe the most revealing statistic is the opposition’s batting average. Opponents haven’t had much luck against Martin, batting a dreadful .169.
No wonder Timberwolves coach Adam Rich says Martin, who has signed with College of Charleston, has helped change the face of the program.
“She really put us on the map,” Rich said.
“We’ve had great players before, but we never made as much of a state or national impact until Samantha got here. We’re headed to our second straight final four and we couldn’t have done it without her. College of Charleston will be happy to have her.”
After the Timberwolves lost their district championship to rival Lincoln, they continued to fight through the postseason. While Rich said many didn’t believe Chiles was good enough to return to the state tournament, it proved otherwise.
Rich credits the Timberwolves’ success to finding their rhythm at the plate, but he’s not shy about Martin’s impact.
“We’ve been really good at the plate lately,” Rich said.
“But this game is about pitching, and we have that. We know we have a chance to win every time Samantha steps on the mound. It allows everyone to relax and just play ball. She’s a huge advantage for us heading into Wednesday’s game.”
While the Timberwolves fell to Bartow in last year’s state semifinal, Martin says they’re better prepared this time around.
“It was everyone’s first time so we didn’t know what to expect,” Martin said.
“We’re a lot more relaxed this year and we’re ready to play. Chiles has meant everything to me so I have a little extra motivation, too. I don’t want this to be my last game just yet.”
In Class 1A, Liberty County also returns to the state tournament.
Liberty County faces Pierson-Taylor today in a semifinal game.