There must be something in the Santa Clara water that is helping breed elite catchers. Last month we learned about teenage catcher James Odle being named to the USA regional baseball team for Northern California. This month is the story of 11-year-old catcher Faith Martinez who is representing the Pacific Coast region at the USA Softball All-American games for the under-12 division.
Similar to USA baseball, the USA softball program puts together teams from around 10 different regions throughout the country. Martinez’s Pacific Coast region includes Nevada, Arizona and California. While USA softball selected 17 players from Southern California, Faith was just one of nine girls selected from the designated Northern California portion of the Pacific Coast.
“I was shocked” admitted Martinez about making the All-American games. “I didn’t realize how big this is until a couple days after. I was like wow, I’m going to Oklahoma to play in the USA softball tournament!”
One of the many perks of the three-day tournament held (August 18-20) in Oklahoma city is that the girls get to meet the players on the US Women’s National team. They’ll also get an opportunity to learn from some of the best softball coaches the country has to offer. As a young catcher Martinez will get instruction she wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else. Not that she seems to need it though, she already speaks like a catcher twice her age.
“I like looking out at the field and knowing what the pitcher is thinking, if I’m at third I can’t really do that,” noted Martinez on her love of catching. “I like seeing the game from that view. It kinda bothers me when I’m not catching because catching is what I’ve been playing most of the time.”
Martinez attended one of three tryouts offered up by the Northern California representatives for USA Softball back in April. In describing the tryout, Martinez once again showed to a maturity beyond her years.
“I just played my normal game, I didn’t want to overdo anything,” recalled the 11-year old. “I didn’t want to try too hard to get noticed, just play a normal game as always, block the balls in the dirt.”
The Santa Clara native admits to being a big fan of San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey. She showed in-depth baseball knowledge by mentioning she also enjoys watching St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina. According to her family, Martinez has always been drawn to the position of catcher.
“She has a natural ability as a catcher,” added proud father Joe Martinez. “She’s just a natural at that position, but thankfully one of her coaches actually specializes in catching and helps her constantly get better.”
When she returns from Oklahoma, Martinez will rejoin her current travel ball team called the Nuggets, formerly known as the Lady Sharks. In a few years Martinez hopes to play for a team with a more traditional name like the Lancers or Monarchs. She’s planning on applying to both St. Francis and Mitty in 2020.