Feb 5, 2018
PORTLAND – The Portland Panthers will have a new face in the dugout for the 2018 baseball season, as head coach Justin Martin enters his first year with the team. Martin comes from East Robertson High School, where he spent one season as an assistant coach with the Indians program.
Before his stop at East, Martin coached at Springfield High School from 2008-2015.
Martin is without a doubt ready to begin a new era in his life at Portland High School.
“Spending last season at East Robertson as an assistant really allowed me to step back and evaluate everything that I do,” Martin told The Portland Sun. “I really learned how to put an emphasis on how to communicate with players, which is the biggest thing.
“The growth and communication with the players today as opposed to 10 years ago is so different. I’ve definitely evolved. The kids know my expectations and know that I am there for them and to love them. I want to make sure they understand that every day. Whether our conversations are tough or jovial, they know where I stand with them.”
The team is not allowed to fully practice until Feb. 12, but Martin says the team has been very active in the bullpen and in the weight room while also getting cuts in the practice facility.
“We have a very talented group,” he said. “We just need to learn the game and continue to improve the understanding of the game. How quickly we pick up that understanding will determine how good we end up being.”
The Panthers are coming off a tough 11-14 season, and with a tough 2018 schedule already laid out, Martin added that he just wants to see how his team competes once they step inside the white lines.
“My expectations for this year are for our guys to do our best in everything we do,” he said. “We just want to constantly compete at everything, both on and off the field. Our mentality is to do our best and if we can apply that to everything we do then we will be alright. These guys work hard so the results will take care of themselves.”
Senior Logan Wilson will likely take on the role as the team’s ace this season after an Austin Frye injury knocked the senior out of the pitching rotation. Although Frye will not pitch for the Panthers this year, the class of 2018 product will still likely be able to DH, as well as possibly play first base.
Joining Wilson on the mound this year will be Houston Ellis, Brandon Dover, Logan Summers and Tyler Newland. Accompanying Martin in the dugout will be Doug Geulde, Brandon King, and Randy Dixon
The 2018 season kicks off on Feb. 17 with a home scrimmage against White House.