Martinow has unfinished business to attend to
This week, we catch up with Matt Martinow (Simcoe, Ont.), Badgers starting pitcher and four year veteran. Martinow, who's coming off an OUA First-Team All-Star selection last season, is anticipating big things for this years squad. Matt discusses his recent decision to return for a fifth year of eligibility, his goals for the new season, and where his career might take him after Brock.
Martinow comes from a multi-sport background and is no stranger to athletic accomplishments. He won senior athlete of the year in his grade 12 year. Won three Ontario Baseball Association Championships (2002, 2003, 2006) and represented team Ontario at the 2006 Junior National Tournament (pitching a 1-hitter, 7 strikeout performance against Team New Brunswick and winning a bronze medal in the process). Matt also played Junior B hockey before concentrating on baseball.
Martinow, who will be graduating with his Physical Education degree this spring, explains why he chose to attend Brock University in 2006.
"I chose Brock over the other schools I applied to because everything about the school was the right fit for me. I liked the size of the campus, the fact that Brock is known for their Physical Education program and obviously because of the success of their baseball team. I wanted to be apart of a winning tradition and a chance to make a contribution to this team and program."
Two weeks ago, the Badgers baseball program received excellent news, when Martinow announced his decision to return for one final season of OUA ball. Matt clarifies his decision to return.
"I will be graduating this coming June with my Phys Ed degree however I decided to come back to take some extra classes. I wasn't planning on coming back next year but things just didn't work out this year with teachers college for me, so it was a last minute decision to come back and take some upgrades and classes that will beneficial to me as a future teacher."
Clearly Matt is going to be a leader on this team 2010 team. The type of guy everyone on the team can look up to, figuratively and literally (he's 6'5"). Martinow explains how he's more than willing to accept the responsibilities of being a leader
"I absolutely welcome that role on this team. The one thing I believe though is that everyone can be a leader on a team. You don't need to be a captain or have that status to be a leader. I want to lead by example on and off the field, just as our captain Mike Walker did for us this year. I want to be a positive role model to the guys and encourage everyone to work hard, have fun, and enjoy spending time at the park with the team. Personally, I don't think that it will add any more pressure to my game. When it's my turn to get the ball, regardless of having that status or not, my focus and job is to pitch a good game and give the team a chance to win. I think in the past I've put more pressure on myself to throw a good game, but through the experiences I've had playing this sport, you play the best when you're relaxed and focused. So this is the approach that I will continue to take."
With certain key players graduating this spring, Matt provides his early insight on the new-look pitching staff for next year.
"The pitching staff is going to look a little different I think this upcoming year. We are going to be younger than we were in '09. We are going to have spots available in the starting rotation, middle relievers and the closer role. So there will be spots to fill since we lost quite a few arms. Having said that, I think it will be a staff that will work hard and be competitive in the league. We won't take any teams lightly and we'll be more prepared this coming season with scouting report charts. I want our staff to have a good work ethic, show up and work hard everyday at the ball park. If we do that on a consistent basis, then we will be just fine."
Head Coach Jeff Lounsbury expresses his enthusiasm in having Martinow back in a Badgers uniform this fall.
"Matt, is one of those kids that just wants to contribute to the team's success. He's a key component to our success. The last two years Matt has really come into his own on the mound. He has learned how to pitch, learned how to hold runners on and learned how to win when he doesn't have his best stuff. I expect another season of IBL will also help, he's a lttle bit of a late bloomer like Stefan Strecker was. I tell you, one day I was saying goodbye to him thinking he was graduating, and when he pulled me to the side at practice last month and said he was coming back I know he heard the excitement in my voice. With the new guys coming in, the return of Matt and how much more the returning guys seem to be improving, we will have a solid and deep pitching staff."
Martinow is quite blunt when explaining his goal for the Badgers this upcoming year. With this being his final chance at OUA gold, Matt is willing to put everything he has on the line to get one more shot at the championship.
"Obviously I want to bring back the OUA title to Brock. In the 4 years I've been here, we have made it to the finals 3 out of the 4 times and all 3 times we fell short and left with a silver medal. I'd love to add a gold to that collection and will do everything I can to make that happen. But it is a team game so in order to bring the title back, every single person on the roster will need to contribute."
After suffering an injury to his shoulder and back this off-season, Matt assures everyone he will be good to go come opening day.
"At the start of the off-season I was going to gym to improve my overall strength and conditioning. This February, I hit a little speed bump that has set my training back a bit. I was injured in a lab for one of my classes and I couldn't participate in anything physically active for the past 3 months. It was so painful that simple everyday things like putting socks on, or even lying down to go to bed were very difficult and challenging to do. The past week or so, I have been finally cleared to start throwing again, so I'm behind where I would like to be heading into the summer season. I'm just going to work extra hard to get back into game shape and try to be ready for the start of the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL)season in the beginning of May. (Readers should note that Martinow was traded last week from his former team the Mississauga Twins to the Hamilton Thunderbirds)
Finally, Matt shares his plans and goals for the future, ambitions that seem well within his reach.
"My biggest goal is to become a teacher. That will be figured out in the next few weeks. As for baseball, I'm excited and anxious to play at the Rogers Centre and return for another season in the IBL. I still want to accomplish a childhood dream of playing professional baseball someday. Currently I have been receiving offers to play pro ball over-seas. I've been in contact and talks with professional teams in Europe and the Frontier Independent Pro League in the States. Also, my name is in the mix to represent Team Canada at the World University Baseball Tournament held in Japan this summer so I'm hoping that all goes well and I can make the team."
We are pleased to have Marty back for one more season. We wish him a successful and healthy season with the Thunderbirds this summer and look forward to seeing him lead the Badgers pitching staff to victory this fall.
Written By: Mike Hardill (Brock Baseball Communications)