Toni Martin’s faith helped her become a better leader

first_img Comments In the fall, Syracuse head coach Shannon Doepking brought her team together. An annual tradition for her teams, she held a vote to decide her team’s captains. SU picked three upperclassmen based on how well they represent four values: family, 100 percent effort, selflessness and ownership, Doepking said. The Orange thought junior Toni Martin represented everything they were looking for.“Toni is one of those players that is able to hold people accountable and hold people to a standard,” Doepking said. “She’s been forced into that role because we need it but she’s very well respected on this team.”Martin is a junior captain for Syracuse (9-16, 1-2 Atlantic Coast) with an OPS of .904, first on the team among those with at least one start. But it’s her non-quantifiable role that has the largest impact. Martin ensures that all her teammates don’t panic or make an illogical decision, senior Bryce Holmgren said. Yet, she’s still honest, advising older teammates what they can do better. Martin credits this composure to her commitment to Christianity, where she learned how to approach situations from another person’s perspective.“I know that I do not have the control that a higher power has and to me, that’s God,” Martin said. “I think it takes a lot of stress off my life to know that I’m not in control of everything.”Martin grew up in a devout Catholic household in Raymore, Missouri, a small town with a population of 21,000. Her and her family rarely missed services, attending on almost every Sunday for the first 18 years of her life.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhen Martin joined travel and club softball teams that had games during services, she still cut out time to attend church. If she had to leave before services ended or show up late, Martin would show up with her softball jersey and cleats. It didn’t matter if she appeared out of place around other members in suits, dress shirts, dresses and fancy skirts — staying committed to her faith was more important, she said.“She’s a very rational leader… She always gives us advice for a reason,” Holmgren said. “I think it comes from who she is as a person.”Instead of looking from a narrow-minded or biased perspective, she looks at issues through an outsider’s lens. This helps her when dealing with teammates.During games, Martin advises Syracuse center fielder Alicia Hansen. If the senior dives for a ball that is too far away or throws to the cut-off man when she could have thrown right to the bag, Martin will be direct with the older Hansen.After a 50-50 play, Hansen would look to Martin: “Is that okay?”“Why did you do that?” Martin remembered she’d ask. Martin said she then explains what she saw from left field.She does the same outside of games. While practicing in Manley Field House on March 6, the Orange focused on defensive situations with runners on first and third base. Freshman catchers Michala Maciolek and Alexis Kaiser both fielded bunts and threw to second when they should’ve held onto the ball, or vice versa. After practice, Martin calmly approached the two and broke down what they should’ve done.“I asked them why they’re doing what they’re doing and try to make them see the decision they made just wasn’t the right one,” she said. “They need to think about it differently.” Published on March 20, 2019 at 10:42 pm Contact Adam: [email protected] | @_adamhillmancenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more