Photo: Etowah High senior Abbi Martin (pictured at center) signs a softball scholarship with Carson-Newman University on November 12 in Attalla. Pictured with Abbi are her parents, Mark and Shannon.
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Etowah High senior Abbi Martin knows exactly who is responsible for her signing a softball scholarship with Carson-Newman University on November 12.
“It’s just knowing that my savior Jesus Christ gave me the ability to reach this point. Then the support of the whole community allowed me to pursue my dream. I want to thank those people who have been in my life for all their love and support during this journey, especially my parents, because it’s been a struggle at times.
“I also want thank my teammates, who have been there for me every step of the way, and every single coach in every one of my sports for always pushing me to be the best I can be, no matter what, what because they know what I’m capable of. I also want to thank all the parents and all my teachers for their support.”
A starter at shortstop since her seventh grade season, Martin wielded a big bat in the 2021 Etowah lineup with 62 hits (including 12 doubles, eight triples and four home runs), 57 RBI, 50 runs, 18 walks and only three strikeouts while batting .488 with a .539 on-base percentage. She was a first-team Class 4A All-State and All-Messenger selection.
Etowah finished the 2021 season one game shy of competing for a state cham-pionship. At the Class 4A state tournament in Oxford in May, the Lady Blue Devils lost to eventual state champion North Jackson in the playback bracket finals. At the East Central Regionals in Montgomery, Etowah won three straight playback bracket games to finish as tournament runner-up. The Lady Blue Devils finished with a 35-11 record, won the area tournament and finished the regular season as the eighth-ranked team in Class 4A.
“We had a lot of people injured, and making it that far really built our spirits up,” said Martin. “It was heart-warming, knowing that we had each other’s back and that we were going to cheer each other on and pull for each other until the end. It was unreal, the amount of energy that was in our dugout It was one heck of a run, and it was so much fun.”
Located in Jefferson City, Tennessee, the 2021 Carson Newman softball team went 22-14 overall and 14-10 in the Southern Athletic Conference.
“When I went to visit, the coaches said they wanted me after having me take just a couple of ground balls,” said Martin. “So that meant a lot. They also have one of the top nursing programs in the country.”
Etowah head softball coach Kim Jones noted that Martin is “the whole package” as a softball player.
“Offense, defense, leadership; anything you can ask for, Abbi provides it. You also won’t find anyone who works harder than her, on and off the field. There’s not been many times at all when I’ve seen Abbi hang her head; she’s always picking everybody else up. But the thing that stands out the most for me is Abbi’s faith. As far as wanting to build everybody up and showing how to do the right things, especially when no one is looking, her character and integrity means everything to us. Whether it’s getting together to go to the movies or having a bonfire at someone’s house, Abbi is the one who puts it together. We’re really going to miss her leadership after this year.”
Along with the six seniors on the team, Jones pointed to Martin as a catalyst for the Lady Blue Devils’ extended postseason run this past spring.
“At the beginning of the season, we weren’t on anyone’s radar. But Abbi and several of our seniors said, “Hey, get on our backs; we’re going to go. Nobody believes in us, but we believe in each other.’ And that’s pretty much the same mentality the girls have for this year.”