The high Single-A Potomac Nationals used the longball to trip up Salem 7-4 on Saturday. Kevin Keyes, Steven Souza Jr. and Jason Martinson connected on homers for the P-Nats, who have erupted for 32 hits in the past two games.
Shortstop Martinson continued to add to his milestone of 100 runs and 100 RBIs in the same season, split between low Single-A Hagerstown and Potomac. With the home run Saturday, he now has reached 101 runs and 103 RBIs. He also has 22 homers and 30 stolen bases in 122 games.
The 6-foot-1, 190 lb. Martinson appreciates the achievements and remembers what it has taken to get to this point.
“It means a lot,” Martinson said. “I have been putting in a lot of work about playing situational baseball and executing on a consistent basis. I have been doing a pretty decent job of it whenever I have guys in scoring position just drove them in. With the runs, I try to get on base any way I can, just put the pressure on the defense.”
Martinson said the 100-run/100-RBI did not come by mistake. He made a concerted effort to improve and value each at-bat this season after feeling like he had a lot of missed chances last season.
“It wasn’t easy,” Martinson recalled. “I put in a lot of work over the offseason. Last season, I missed out on a bunch of different opportunities to get guys in, getting RBIs. I worked on the little things in the offseason.”
To start this season, Martinson scored 68 runs, had 23 stolen bases and drove in 68 RBIs with Hagerstown, which has put up incredible offensive numbers under the direction of manager Brian Daubach.
“They are all about being aggressive, putting pressure on the defense, trying to advance any way that we possibly could, and not being overly aggressive,” the 23-year old Martinson said.
Hagerstown is second to Asheville in runs scored (742 to 704) and second to Lexington in stolen bases (182 to 176) in the South Atlantic League.
“We were definitely more aggressive I thought than any team in the league. It was showing by the runs that our team was putting up,” he said.
Martinson said he worked to improve his strategy in the box under the watchful eye of Hagerstown hitting coach Mark Harris.
“I still keep in touch with him,” Martinson said. “He was a big part of our progress. I worked with him every day in the field or hitting. He taught me to go up there with a plan and he was a tremendous help to me this year.”
Martinson has also seen how the pitching gets better in the high-A Carolina League, and he has to follow suit.
“It is going to be a little bit tougher league as you go up, but it is just trying to be as consistent as you can on a day to day basis, try to do that as much as possible,” he said.
“Basically going up there with a plan and not just swinging. When I first got up here, I was overly aggressive and not as patient. Now I have settled in.”