A pair of Amherst County High School athletes, Jazmyne Smith and Christian Martin, recently were named to the 1st Team All-State in their respective sports by the Virginia High School League.
Smith was honored for her performance at first base in softball while Martin took the honors as the designated hitter for the Lancers baseball team.
“With me being out for eight games roughly the first 5 1/2 weeks, I never would have thought I would have been so blessed to receive this honor,” said Smith. “I’m kinda in shock, honestly, to be named all state. ‘Wow’ is all I can say. I can’t wait to see what next season brings and am hoping with hard work I can keep improving.”
Smith’s glove helped the Lady Lancers to go deep into the post season as she committed only one error the entire season while posting 88 outs and swinging a mean .333 at the plate.
“Jazmyne missed part of the season due to having her appendix removed, but she was always at practice and still working, even if it was just minimal skills she could at the time,” said Amherst coach Samantha Thacker. “She came back strong from her surgery and was a big key to our team. Jazmyne is a leader, an all-around athlete and a team player. Jazmyne is a player who is always wanting to get better and she shows this on and off the field. She is very deserving of this award and I cannot wait to have her as a senior leader on the field next year.”
Among Smith’s biggest fans are her parents, Dwayne and Dawn Smith.
“As Jazmyne’s parents we are in aw of her making All-State first basemen,” said Dawn Smith. “Coming from a rough beginning season with to finishing this season with the accomplishments that she did is amazing in our eyes. We are so blessed to have a child that continues to work hard in the classroom and on the softball field. Our hearts are full. We are so proud of her. We can not wait to see what comes this upcoming season.”
Martin also faced a few rough patches this season.
“This was a tough season for me personally because of a shoulder injury. It was also a tough season for our team; some of our pitchers weren’t able to throw because they also had had injuries” said Martin. “I wanted to do whatever I could to help our team offensively because I couldn’t play defense. To make first team All-State at DH as a sophomore means so much to me because it shows that I still worked hard to help Amherst win baseball games through my effort at the plate. The Seminole district has really good arms so I feel really good about my numbers, but baseball is a team game and winning takes the whole team. We are a young team and we are trying to build a good program here in Amherst.”
Martin batted .583 with 5 home runs, 29 RBIs, 22 runs scored, 20 walks and 19 stolen bases.
“Christian was a 1st team All-Seminole District selection, 1st team All-Region selection and 1st team All-State selection as a DH. He was only able to play defense for three games due to a season-long shoulder injury,” said Lancer coach John Apperson. “In those three games he compiled a 1.000 fielding percentage at shortstop. This kid is such a hard worker and continues to strive to be the best everyday. It’s cliché, but he’s truly a remarkable student-athlete and an even better person that makes the people around him better.”
Christian Martin’s dad, Peter Martin, could be found at all the games with his video camera capturing his son’s action.
“Christian has had the good fortune of always being coached with the idea of ‘team over me.’ That was especially important this year,” Peter Martin said. “He was battling a shoulder injury this season and we knew that he likely wouldn’t play defensively until late in the regular season or playoffs. We talked about being there for his team at the plate and being a leader in the dugout. As a family, we are very honored by the recognition.”
Robert Curd, ACHS athletic director, commented on the pair.
“Jazmyne and Christian are well-deserving of their 1st Team All-State recognition,” said Curd. “They both overcame injuries early in the year to have outstanding seasons. Their hard work and perseverance are a testament to them and a great example for all student athletes.”