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Athlete Spotlight: Rachel Martin takes on ACU softball

Martin shares her excitement for her college career

Streams of sunlight beat down on the spectators as they anticipate the swing of the opponent’s bat. The smell of salted sunflower seeds and dust fills their noses. Hollering from the dugout floats through the air like a wave of suspense. “LET’S GO”, the Fresno Christian Eagles call from the outfield. The pitcher throws the ball, and senior, Rachel Martin, braces to catch it. “STRIKE!” the umpire yells. With her leather glove still clutching the ball, Martin celebrates another inning to bat for the win. 

Rachel Martin, 24’, has played softball since before she was old enough to understand the game. Since then, she has come a long way as both a batter and catcher.

Young Rachel Martin begins her softball journey. (The Martin Family)

Martin is a driven young woman who found that softball was a sport where she could put her competitive energy to use. Her passion for the sport stems from her energetic and leadership qualities. She is thrilled to continue softball at Arizona Christian University in the fall. As a person who strives to be her very best, Martin finds that softball has taught her more than how to swing a bat.

“I believe it helps to develop my character because I’ve learned to overcome a lot of situations during games,” Martin said. “In stressful circumstances, you learn how to cope with failure and other things. It continues the development of me as a person.”

Softball is a team sport in both the physical and emotional sense. It requires mental strength that only an athlete can understand. Martin is empowered by the people who surround her. She loves that her parents are so supportive and attend her games; it allows them to connect with her from a different perspective of the game. 

“I draw strength from my family and my coaches,” Martin said. “Seeing how other people around me have so much confidence in me is so encouraging because in my mind if they have confidence in me then I can have that same confidence in myself.”

Rachel Martin excels as Fresno Christians’s catcher. (Hailey Higton)

Being a senior on the softball team, she has taken on a leadership role among her teammates. She is passionate about the sport and hopes to pass her energy and enthusiasm onto others. Sophomore Jordyn Degroot is a pitcher on the Fresno Christian softball team and has developed a strong bond with Martin. Degroot shares that with Martin as a catcher, she has become a lot more confident in her abilities.

“As a pitcher, it takes a supporting catcher that encourages you through everything to pitch,” Degroot said. “It’s hard to pitch to someone who doesn’t like their position, so hearing Rachel yell every time I hit the spot she told me to makes me so happy!”

Martin has inspired her team not only to continue playing, but to be a team. She leads in love, and her kindness has impacted the mindsets of her fellow teammates.

“She treats all of her teammates so well and it shows me that I should always treat everyone the way I want to be treated,” Degroot said. “I am so happy for her to go on and continue her career in softball at ACU! I know she is going to thrive and inspire so many more people.”

Martin and her Fresno Christian coaches Marilyn and Eric Greene. (The Martin Family)

Martin is a fierce player and has been a light on the Fresno Christian Softball team. Her school coach, Marilyn Greene, is proud of how far she has come over the four years she has played on FC varsity. 

“Rachel works harder and puts in more work off the field than any athlete I’ve coached. All that hard work is paying off in one of her best seasons,” Greene said. “The ACU Firestorm are a scrappy and athletic squad and Rachel fits perfectly.”

Being a student-athlete presents its own additional challenges. Martin has learned to balance her academics by finding time when and where she can to study. After working from eight in the morning to three in the afternoon, she has scarce time to switch her mindset to game mode.

“I prepare through self-motivation,” Martin said. “Coming directly from school you only have about fifteen to twenty minutes to switch your mindset to have lots of energy and enthusiasm for your team. It’s a fake-it-til-you-make-it type situation, fake the energy until it’s real energy.” 

On top of school and Fresno Christian softball, Rachel plays on the Clovis Rockets 18U travel team and helps coach the 12U team. Her travel coach, Megan Ink, has mentored her since she was twelve years. Martin first joined her 18U Gold Rockets team at fifteen.

Rachel Martin is celebrated by the 12U Clovis Rockets team she coaches for. (The Martin Family)

Despite knowing she would not receive substantial playing time, Martin seized the opportunity to learn from older, more adept athletes who prepared her for the future. The experience she gained from playing on this fast-paced team equipped her with the skills to be a starter for the past three years.

Ink is like a second mother to Martin, and she has formed a lasting bond with her as both a player and a person. As one of her biggest supporters, Ink is excited for this next stage of Martin’s journey. 

“I am so excited about her opportunity to go to ACU,” Ink said. “She has never waivered on what she wanted in her ideal college. ACU fits every category. As a player, she will immediately impact their team; ACU is lucky to have her as a student and athlete. I will miss our talks about softball and life, our “bad advice sessions with Coach Meg” and the little jokes she shares. I know she will be successful on and off the field.”

Martin desired to find a college scholarship to continue her passion after high school. She sent email after email to many schools to seek out a scholarship to play college softball. February of her junior year, her hard work and skill in her sport caught the attention of the Arizona Christian University coach, Mike Mayben. They compared schedules and Martin showcased her skills at games and tournaments to impress him. Shortly after, she signed to ACU on a softball scholarship.

While Rachel Martin excels on the softball field, she has several other interests. She is an avid reader, has learned to crochet and is passionate about spending time with her friends. Martin dabbles in tennis and has recently picked up kickboxing to keep her active. 

With a passion for science, Martin is hoping to major in the medical field and become an anesthesiologist. She has shadowed doctors in surgeries to gain insight into what her future career would be like. 

This coming school year will be a big step for Rachel Martin towards adulthood. With the confidence of knowing her family is with her every step of the way, she is prepared to take on ACU on her own. She can’t wait to experience the new atmosphere of college life and is grateful to her parents for having her back.

“I’m excited to get out of Fresno and see a different world, like having a college life and being able to do more than just softball,” Martin said. “For example, joining different clubs. Yes, it’s a small school where I’m going, but it’s not as small as Fresno Christian, so there will be a lot more things to experience. It’s like a chance to expand my horizons and try something new.”

Rachel and her parents on their visit to ACU. (The Martin Family)

The Martin family has a strong foundational bond and Rachel is eager to begin her college career. Her parents are thankful that they can drive and fly directly from Fresno to Phoenix, Arizona, and plan to attend every game they can. Martin knows that college softball will be a different kind of pressure than she is used to, but she finds comfort in her faith that she can do all things through God.

“Knowing that softball doesn’t define who I am, and that God didn’t create me specifically for softball helps me to eliminate my doubts,” Martin said. “And yes I can use my talents to glorify him, but I know that if I fail I’m not finished because I have a bigger purpose.”

The 2023-24 softball season is her last season with her Fresno Christian team. There will be some heavy hearts, and her team will miss her, but everyone is excited to see her thrive at Arizona Christian University. 

For more from The Feather visit Alton Brown celebrates ‘Good Eats’.

To read more on Rachel Martin visit Softball senior night 2024.

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About the Contributors
Delaney Meyers
Delaney Meyers, Journalist
First year journalist Delaney Meyers, 26', is excited to join The Feather Online and begin her writing journey. Delaney strives to learn the inner workings of journalism and online media. She is an ardent reader, movie enthusiast, and loves music. When she is not playing tennis, she cheers on the Fresno Christian cheer team. Delaney hopes that with dedication and hard work that she can grow as a writer and as a person.
Hailey Higton
Hailey Higton, Photojournalist
Hailey Higton is launching her freshman year as a photojournalist for The Feather Online at Fresno Christian Schools. Known for her tenacity on the soccer field, and in life, Hailey dedicates herself wholeheartedly to cross country, high school worship team, and children’s ministry at The Well Community Church. Hailey’s creative ambition is on display through her graphic art, videography, reels, and social media posts that aim to glorify God, celebrate student success and build school spirit at FCS.  
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