CHARLES CITY — For as long as Sara Martin can remember, she has been able to hit a softball a long way.
It wasn’t until she got serious about it that she realized how far she can send a ball into orbit.
The Charles City senior and future Wartburg College softball player has socked 21 home runs the past two seasons, and her 10 home runs this season tie her for fifth among all Class 4A hitters.
“I don’t know where the power came from, but I just have always been a powerful hitter,” Martin said. “As far back as I can remember when I was playing on a travel team, I was the clean-up hitter.”
When Martin, who is batting .483 with 42 RBIs and 30 runs scored for the 15th-ranked Comets (25-3), got to high school she found the weight room.
As a three-sport athlete, Martin discovered she liked getting better.
“The work ethic is something my dad instilled in me,” Martin said. “He was always saying if you want to be better you need to work harder than the others. I like pushing myself to be better and I enjoy making myself a better player.”
Charles City head coach Brian Bohlen says that is exactly what he sees from his leftfielder.
“It starts in the weight room,” Bohlen said. “She always puts in her time there and not only for softball, but for track and volleyball, too. She has put in the work and has great core strength that really helps her in all of her sports.
“She is part of a core group of girls who want to put in extra work ... girls who are willing to get the keys to the shed and come early for a game night and take 200 extra swings before I get there.”
Martin has not only starred for the Comets’ softball team, but was a valuable member for the volleyball team that reached the state tournament for the fifth time in six years in November and recently finished fourth in the Class 4A shot put at the state track and field championships.
Bohlen feels she has saved her best for last.
“She is really seeing the ball well this year, even better than last year,” Bohlen said. “Last year, she had the tendency to pull her head. She is staying on the ball and is hitting everything hard every time she makes contact.
“Not all of her home runs are 50 feet in the air, she’s had several that have been 10 feet off the ground, just hard line drives that carried out. She’s also hit a lot of home runs that are pushing 250, 260 feet.”
For her part, Martin says she doesn’t go to the plate looking to hit home runs.
“I really just want to put a good swing on it and hit it hard, hit a line drive,” Martin said. “It’s never about hitting a home run.”
With 21 home runs and 91 RBIs the past two seasons, Martin has been a key component for a Charles City squad looking for back-to-back state tournament berths.
A year ago, the Comets pulled off a big upset in the regional finals over West Delaware to reach their first state tournament since 2009 where they eventually finished fifth in Class 4A.
Currently, Charles City is riding a nine-game winning streak and at 12-2 in the Northeast Iowa Conference is a game back of Crestwood in the league standings.
Martin believes the current team has what it takes to get back to Fort Dodge.
“Last year’s team had amazing chemistry that helped carry us to the state tournament,” Martin said. “I think that chemistry carried over to this year and I feel we can go as far as we want to.”