Valley Stream North's Anthony Martelli wins Diamond Award for position players
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You can easily track the ascension of the baseball career of Valley Stream North's Anthony Martelli. He was an All-Conference player as a freshman, All-League as a sophomore and All-County as a junior in 2012.
Martelli topped all those accomplishments Wednesday night when he was awarded the 2013 Diamond Award as the best position player in Nassau.
The senior shortstop led Long Island with nine home runs, four of which came in the Nassau playoffs. Martelli finished the season with a .505 batting average, 35 RBIs, 37 runs, a .610 on-base percentage and 20 stolen bases in 21 attempts.
"I would have been more than happy if he had just repeated his numbers from his junior year because he was the best hitter on the team," VSN coach Phil Sanfilippo said, "but this year he took it to a completely different level and he just exploded."
Martelli saved his best for last. He led the Spartans into the playoffs as the No. 14 seed and went 4-for-5 with two home runs and six RBIs as VSN upset Valley Stream South, 17-2, in the first round. He then stepped onto the pitcher's mound the next day against No. 5 North Shore and fired a gem, going the distance with nine strikeouts in a 3-1 win.
He finished 4-0 on the season with a 3.20 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 30 strikeouts.
"It was a good feeling to get North back to really where they should be every year," Martelli said. "To work with the same guys the past three years was great and I made a lot of memories."
Martelli's biggest shot of the season came in extra innings against eventual county champion Clarke in Game 1 of the quarterfinals.
Martelli smashed a two-run homer in the top of the eighth to help VSN win the game. The Spartans eventually dropped the series but it was a punctuating moment in a season of big hits.
"You always want to be up in those situations," Martelli said. "When I was able to get up I was fortunate to have a big opportunity and you don't get many of them so when you get them you have to make sure you take care what you need to take care of and come through for your team."
Martelli's power came from generating bat speed despite not being a physically imposing figure at 5-11 and 180 pounds.
"Pound for pound I don't think anybody hits the ball further," Sanfilippo said. "He's not that big of a kid but the ball explodes off his bat. I didn't see anybody his size hit the ball as far as him."
Now before heading off to NYIT to play in college, Martelli capped his stellar season and career with Nassau's top honor.
"I looked at all the kids nominated the last few years and I just thought to myself 'wow it could be me' and now that it is it's crazy," Martelli said. "And to win it? I don't even know, I don't even know."
Virtually everyone in Nassau knows that Anthony Martelli was the best player in 2013.