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State SB Monday Westwood  10

Westwood's Andee Martin stretches to make a catch for an out at first base against Colfax-Mingo during the Iowa High School Softball Championships in Fort Dodge two years ago.

Andee Martin didn't know exactly how she would fit in with her new teammates.

Martin spent her eighth-grade and freshman seasons with the Lawton-Bronson High School varsity softball team, but her family moved to Westwood before her sophomore season.

Martin had to find a way to fit in with her new teammates and a whole new community.

It didn't take long for her new Westwood teammates and her new coach to accept her, though, before she even played a game.

"I was really nervous at first but everyone was great and (coach Dan) Thompson had confidence in me right away and they included me in everything," said Martin, this week's Journal's Siouxland Athlete of the Week.

Adding Martin to the group just make that class more tight-knit. Martin and her fellow seniors have been a part of a good amount of success with the Westwood softball team, which played a 1A regional final on Monday.

The six seniors — Martin, Makenna Harding, Kalie Stanfield, Sam Burkhart, Brenna Pike and Katelyn Martian - have helped lead the Rebels to a 30-10 record so far this season.

"They've been really good for us in softball and some of them were helping us win as eighth-graders," Thompson said. "They have won a lot in all three sports. They are all very different and all together are part of what we are doing. They all lead by example and have been a consistent presence for quite some time for us."

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Westwood vs Gehlen Catholic regional softball
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Westwood vs Gehlen Catholic regional softball
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Westwood vs Gehlen Catholic regional softball
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Westwood vs Gehlen Catholic regional softball
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Westwood vs Gehlen Catholic regional softball

Martin said the senior class has been close for a while. Martin said the group was planning a brunch before Monday's game.

"We like to do things together," Martin said. "It's more fun when everyone comes together and has good chemistry. There are nine people in the field and more in the dugout. It's such a team game and a family atmosphere."

Martin's slid into a key spot in Westwood's lineup right away as a sophomore - right in the middle of the order. Martin batted .432 as a sophomore with 50 RBIs, 34 runs scored, 17 doubles, five triples and one home run.

As a junior, Martin batted .491 with 31 RBIs, 40 runs scored, 14 stolen bases, six doubles, five triples and two home runs. She had a .688 slugging percentage.

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This season, Martin continues to drive in runners. She's batting .483 with 46 RBIs, 51 runs scored, 12 stolen bases, eight doubles and four triples.

"She's a consistent contact hitter and has been huge with runners on base," Thompson said. "She's confident that she can hit every pitch, inside or outside. She's not the stereotypical power hitter in that spot but has the ability to drive in runs and makes contact."

Martin's ability to make consistent contact has come from many years of practice. She said her family took her to the field when she was younger to help work on her game.

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Softball Woodbury Central at Westwood
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Softball Woodbury Central at Westwood
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Softball Woodbury Central at Westwood
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Softball Woodbury Central at Westwood
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Softball Woodbury Central at Westwood

"I always try and put the ball in play. I just want to give myself a chance to put it in play," said Martin, who is going to attend Creighton. "I have focused on what the coaches had to say to me. Thompson has given me a lot of pointers to stay balanced. My teammates, I wouldn't have the RBIs without them."

But Martin admits she gets a bit anxious at the plate and that's her secret to driving in runners.

"I always have confidence and that helps me. I am anxious but that also helps me to relax to know I have to get the runs in and I am confident that I will," Martin said.

Thompson isn't just relying on Martin to drive in runs either. She leads the team in runs scored this season.

"The last two years, she's become a tremendous baserunner," Thompson said. "She's become a threat out there and she's getting more infield hits and things like that."

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Kyler Krieg, Kingsley-Pierson -- The senior has scored a team-high 44 runs for the Panthers. He's stolen 18 bases and has a .375 batting average. Krieg has a .520 on-base percentage.

Michael Ryherd, Alta-Aurelia -- The junior has scored 45 runs scored and ahs three home runs on the season. He also has 11 doubles and has a slugging percentage of .753 to go along with a .397 batting average.

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