Pemberton catcher Jose Martinez batted three times Friday against Moorestown.
He walked all three times.
"That happens all the time," Martinez said. "It's frustrating, but at the same time, it helps my team."
Pitching around Martinez has become standard strategy for Pemberton opponents. The 5-foot-9, 195-pound senior set a school record with 23 walks in 2011. He already has walked 12 times this season.
But what's most notable about Martinez is what happens when he finally gets a pitch to hit. He is batting .733 (11 for 15) with three doubles and 10 RBIs for the Hornets.
"He's an amazing hitter," Pemberton coach Tom Achey said. "He's so patient. He will wait for his pitch, and when he gets it, he doesn't miss it."
Martinez batted .745 last season (35 for 47) with 26 RBIs, five home runs, and nine doubles. His power numbers are down a little this season, but that's likely a function of the new BBCOR bats as well as the paucity of good pitches.
"I want to make sure I swing at my pitch, not the pitcher's pitch," Martinez said.
Achey knows some folks are skeptical of Martinez's statistics, especially since Pemberton's schedule outside of the Burlington County League's Liberty Division doesn't include traditionally strong programs.
"I walked in the coaches' all-star meeting last year, and the other coaches didn't want to believe his stats," Achey said. "I said, 'I fully understand.' So we took out his stats against out-of-conference teams, and he still was hitting .610 in the Liberty Division. He's that good of a hitter."
Martinez plans to attend Harford Community College in Bel Air, Md. Harford is a top junior-college program that has a 37-9 record and a No. 17 national ranking.
Martinez said he had Division I offers from colleges such as Delaware State, Seton Hall, and St. Peter's. But he wanted to attend junior college to see if that might be a faster track to professional baseball, or to other major-college programs.
Achey said scouts from the Phillies and Cleveland Indians have tracked Martinez.
"He's only 17, and he doesn't have any wear and tear on him because he's only been catching since his freshman year," Achey said. "He's got a cannon for an arm. He's going places."
Achey said that because of his position and body type, Martinez reminds him of Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz.
"That's who he is - he's Carlos Ruiz," Achey said.
Pemberton went 3-16 last season. The Hornets are 4-4 this season, but they don't have a lot of hitters to offer Martinez much protection in the lineup. So he sees a lot of bad pitches.
"The other day, we were playing RV [Rancocas Valley]," Achey said. "They were throwing him a lot of off-speed stuff in the dirt, nothing to hit. They finally throw him a fastball that was a few inches outside, and he ropes it down the right-field line.
"[RV coach] Dave Hower comes up to me after the game and says, 'I don't know how he does it.' "