Living In a Sports Shutdown: Baseball's Nick Martinez gives a student-athletic perspective

Nick Martinez collecting one of his 15 hits this season
Nick Martinez collecting one of his 15 hits this season

NOTE: Based on an idea by Padadena City College Sports Information Director Robert Lewis, we will be taking a look at a different Cerritos College student-athlete during this time when all sports have been cancelled.

With his Cerritos College baseball team playing well in 2020, Nick Martinez and the rest of the Falcon team saw the season abruptly come to an end with the world health crisis resulting in a shutdown. In an action by the CCCAA due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), which has spread all over the world, a shutdown has affected every level of sports competition and Martinez is one of thousands of collegiate student-athletes coping with the shutdown.

Through the first 21 games this season, Martinez was leading the team in batting with a .366 average (15-for-41), with a pair of doubles a triple and nine RBI. His 463 slugging percentage was also tops on the team among starters. A two-way player, Martinez was also a spot starter who had appeared in six games and had a 2-1 record with a 5.82 ERA. He started a pair of games, with his last three games coming in relief.

A fine defensive first baseman, Martinez had a .967 fielding percentage, while he committed just one error in his freshman year. In the last four games leading up to the shutdown, Martinez had gone 5-for-12 (.417) at the plate.

"Nick brings maturity, leadership, and a high baseball IQ to the team," said first-year head coach Vic Buttler. "At the plate, Nick understands how pitchers are trying to pitch him and really does an outstanding job executing. Nick consistently displays a great attitude and a high level of effort and energy. He's is a great teammate and club house guy. He's definitely a pleasure a pleasure to coach."

"I've watched Nick develop into more a of centerpiece on the team," added Buttler. "He was chosen to be one of our team captains and immediately fulfilled his role to the best his ability. Nick really bared down in the classroom obtaining an overall GPA of 3.2. He's the true definition of a student-athlete. Nick is a talented two-way player. He can both hit and pitch. I believe Nick has the ability to not only maintain good grades in the classroom, but also manage his work ethic at becoming a good pitcher and hitter at the next level. I am excited to see what the future has in store for this kid, if he returns to Cerritos or move on to a four-year next season. He's on a path for success and greatness.

The following is a Q&A with Martinez.
Nick Martinez dealing on the mound Q: The team was playing much better this season and you were doing well. How did you initially handle the news of the shutdown and was it a shock to you and your teammates?
Nick: After hearing the news of our baseball season being shut down, it was a shock to my teammates and I. One day we had a game and the next its being shut down. We were playing good and wanted to keep on going.
Q: What has been the biggest thing you've missed as a college student-athlete since the season was shut down?
Nick: The biggest thing I've missed is being able to go to the baseball field to practice and play every day with my team. I never realized how much time I put into baseball.

Q: Are you pleased that the California Community Colleges and NCAA are handing back the year of eligibility to Spring sports participants?
Nick: Yes I am glad to hear that the NCAA and Community Colleges are giving athletes a year of eligibility back.
Q: What have you done to stay in shape and pass the time to replace the lost practices/games?
Nick: During this time of social distancing, I have spent time hitting off a baseball tee everyday in my backyard and playing catch. I have also been doing workouts in my garage to stay in shape.
Q: What have you been able to do that you wouldn't have been able to do since the shut down, or what have you done to pass some of the down time?
Nick: During this down time, I have been watching different movies and TV series. Being home has also allowed me to work on yard work and things for my house.
Q: What has been the best part of attending/playing at Cerritos? Do you feel you've grown as a player from high school?
Nick: One of the best things about playing for Cerritos has been all the resources the school is able to provide academically. Also, the relationships built between our team and the feeling that everyone is chasing the same goal. Since high school I feel that I have definitely changed as a player. We have such a great coaching staff at Cerritos, there is so much knowledge to be learned. Also, I feel I have matured a lot on the field, as well.