Brookfield’s Martin returns from injury, bolsters already talented baseball team

BROOKFIELD – It was a little more than six months ago on a Friday under the lights at Brookfield High, when Drew Martin’s left foot got caught in the turf while trying to make a tackle and his leg twisted, leaving him in excruciating pain.

The senior had torn his ACL and meniscus and sprained his MCL during the Bobcats’ game against Joel Barlow.

Five games in, his football season was over. His basketball season was done. And countless others told him playing baseball wouldn’t be an option this season.

Martin returned to the baseball lineup on Tuesday for Brookfield’s game against Newtown, 201 days after suffering his injury.

“He did not listen to them,” Brookfield senior Jake Miceli said. “He probably used it as motivation to get stronger and get back out there.”

Martin, taking batting practice prior to the game, was hitting the ball hard Tuesday, even launching a couple over the fence.

“I have been working for this for six months now, every day,” an excited Martin said before the game. “I just gave it everything I got to get out here and play with (my team).”

Martin went 0-for-2 with a walk, in a 6-3 loss, but looked good at the plate said coach Matt Hart. Martin was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs in the Bobcats 10-0 win over New Fairfield Wednesday.

The center fielder started at designated hitter and will be working back into the fold for the 13-2 Bobcats, who are ranked No. 7 in the latest GameTimeCT media poll.

“We have had a pretty strong season so far,” Hart said. “Imagining doing that without arguably one of our best players was pretty tough.

“So just watch out.”

Martin was named to the coaches’ All-State baseball team a year ago and was expecting to have a big senior season in all three of the sports he plays. He was named a captain for football, basketball and baseball.

“My heart sunk,” Hart said when he heard of Martin’s injury. “My stomach turned for him.”

Even Martin, who has led with energy and positivity his entire career, had a moment of doubt, but just for a second.

“I can not sit here and sob about it all day,” he said. “I have to do something about it.”

He told Hart he would make it back for the baseball season and pointed to the beginning of May as his target date. Martin did his physical therapy and hit the weight room. He was at every practice and game, working with his teammates from the bench.

“Some people just throw in the towel and give up, he worked hard every day,” Brookfield senior Matthew Guilbeault said. “He was putting in the unseen hours.”

Martin was cleared to return to practice a couple of weeks ago and during his first batting session the team gathered around to watch. They cheered each time he hit the ball.

The team cheered again Monday When Hart announced the starting lineup, though Martin’s season debut was pushed a day due to rain.

“It was amazing,” Brookfield senior Gabriel Silva said. “(Everyone was) just cheering, (it) almost brought tears to my eyes.”

Martin said seeing the reaction made him feel loved by his teammates and that all the work paid off. His belief in himself paid off.

“I did not have a doubt in my mind that If I put my mind to it, I could accomplish it,” he said.

If Martin did not believe, could anyone blame him?

He has had more interruptions during his career than most athletes.

He missed most of his freshman year due to a shoulder injury. During his sophomore year, basketball was cut short, and baseball was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He lost his junior year of football to the pandemic as well.

“There is always someone who has it worse than you,” he said. “I am just happy I am out there playing and doing what I love.”

pete.paguaga@hearstmediact.com; @PetePaguaga

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