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Jesuit's Martinek commits to Oregon State

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit left-handed pitcher Christian Martinek committed to Oregon State University on Saturday for both football and baseball.

After committing to Oregon State University for both football and baseball on Thursday, Christian Martinek will suit up for the Beavers in 2013-14, perhaps.

Head baseball coach Pat Casey and company must be pleased to have the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Jesuit hurler on their 2014 commitment list. The lefty is arguably the Beavers’ most ballyhooed pledge in a decade and certainly a huge in-state boon for a program that prides itself on prized pitching. Martinek could very well roll into Corvallis as a freshman and be OSU’s Friday night ace with his mid-90s gas, trippy-tailing fastball and pinpoint control.

At the same time, OSU has to be a little apprehensive knowing Martinek is a big-time Major League Baseball prospect, who could get picked high in the 2014 MLB Draft. Playing pro ball has been Martinek’s childhood aspiration. It’s the path Martinek wants to pursue if everything goes to plan this year and he continues to display the unrivaled arm talent that appeals to pro scouts.

So, for now, Martinek is a Beaver. But, a lot could change between now and early June, when the Crusader is sure to hear his name called at the draft. By then, it’ll depend on how early he’s picked, preferably the first, second or third round. And, how much cash that selected organization is willing to fork over for the southpaw’s services.

“I’d definitely like to start my professional career as early as possible,” said Martinek. “I know they’re (OSU) is going to say college is the more positive route...I want to pitch for them (OSU), but it’ll be fun to see what happens. That’s for sure.

“Just the whole college life and living with a ton of kids at the college level would be awesome, but I’m kind of looking past that into the professional life,” continued Martinek. “I definitely want to jump start that (pro life), but only if the money is right.”

OSU began scouting Martinek as a freshman and offered him a scholarship as a 14-year-old phenom. What sealed the deal, the big southpaw said, was the Beavers’ steadfast commitment to Martinek after he suffered a slight tendon tear in his pitching elbow last spring that sidelined the pitcher for most of the 2013 season. Casey assured Martinek and his family that the scholarship offer was still on the table, despite the slight setback.

“They had confidence that I’d bounce back easily, and after that, everything went great,” said Martinek. “They gave the whole family environment feel, and that’s definitely what I’m looking for in a school like that. The coaches are just awesome. They’re great.”

Since 2004, OSU has been a central figure in college baseball, winning back-to-back National Championships in 2006 and 2007, while making a College World Series appearance in 2013. Martinek said he grew up following players like Darwin Barney, Jonah Nickerson and Dallas Buck, local Oregonians who were crucial in the Beavers’ national title runs. He’s always desired to be part of the winning tradition in Corvallis.

“Ever since I’ve been watching them as a kid I thought, ‘Wow, that’s basically the big leagues’,” said Martinek. “Watching them compete every year, that’s definitely a program I want to be in.”

Martinek said he wants to be a top-of-the-rotation starter from the first day of fall camp and possibly be the Beavers’ Friday night ace. Martinek’s primary priority between his upcoming senior year and impending freshman debut is keeping the arm pain-free and throwing hard without much exertion.

“I need to focus on mechanics and everything, of course, but I think the main thing right now is staying healthy and staying at that ‘low effort, high velocity’ kind of throwing,” said Martinek. “I’m definitely working on hitting my spots and locating with rotation.”

Football-wise Martinek was told he’s coming into OSU as a “defensive athlete,” meaning the 225-pounder wrecking ball could end up at linebacker or defensive line. Martinek plays defensive end for head coach Ken Potter and the Crusader football team.

“I have some places to improve size-wise, getting a little faster and stronger, but I’m just excited to go knock some heads around,” said Martinek. “It’s definitely baseball first, and football’s a great opportunity I’d like to keep open... committing early takes some stress off with the college part of it, but I’m still looking forward to the (MLB) draft.”




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