When Oceanside pitcher Kyle Martin committed to Fordham University as a junior in September 2014, he was not satisfied. A second-straight league MVP nine months later did not quell his desire for more.
He grew up watching his father work long hours as a Long Island Railroad conductor. If Matthew Martin could devote seven days a week to his job to provide for his family, Kyle also could commit his life to the craft he loves: baseball.
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“My dad’s work ethic is second to none,” Kyle Martin said. “Just watching him, he teaches me to go out and get what I want.”
After an offseason of strenuous training, Martin capped his high school baseball career with the highest honor in Nassau. In addition to earning a third Conference AA-I MVP, the senior shortstop and pitcher received the Diamond Pitching Award at the county’s all-star banquet Wednesday night at the Uniondale Marriott.
“My parents just always try to push me to do my best,” Martin said. “They said [the Diamond Award] is the best personal goal I could achieve.”
Before his senior season at Oceanside, Martin spoke with his parents about his goals. First and foremost, he wanted to lead the Sailors to the county title. They had fallen in two straight championships, and Martin was so devastated he kept a photograph of MacArthur’s 2015 dogpile at the foot of his bed. It haunted him each night before he fell asleep and each morning when he awoke, fueling his will to improve.
To achieve that goal, Martin knew even a two-time league MVP needed to work. He and his parents spoke about the Diamond Awards, given to Nassau County’s best pitcher and position player. Winning that award would not only top two league MVPs, it likely would mean Martin did all he could to help Oceanside win a county championship.
“My parents are always about hard work,” Martin said. “They’re very blue-collar people. It makes me want it more, and they instilled that in me.”
The Sailors fell to Massapequa in the county semifinals. Without Martin, they likely would not have advanced so far. The senior struck out 76 and posted a 0.99 ERA in 49 ⅔ innings, pitching to a 7-1 record. He hit .340 with six home runs and 22 RBIs in 74 at-bats.
“He’s a true five-tool player,” Oceanside coach Mike Postilio said. “He can run. He has a cannon. He can field, and he can hit.”
Or as Massapequa coach Tom Sheedy phrased it, “What doesn’t he do?”
For as long as friends can remember, Martin has turned teammates and opponents alike into admirers.
“He was always a level above everyone else,” said Oceanside centerfielder Nick Vlahakis, who has known Martin since elementary school. “We thought we would catch up to him, but that didn’t happen.”
The difference is likely Martin’s work ethic.
Martin increased his workout intensity this offseason. At the end of summer ball, he said he weighed 175 pounds. Then he trained five or six days a week from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with teammate Mike Pagona at Athletic Movement Protocol in Syosset. During the season, he said he weighed 195 pounds.
“I look forward to seeing how high his ceiling can be,” Postilio said, “because he’s never going to stop working.”