Clay graduate Patrick Martin is in good spirits these days.
The 6-1, 195-pound center fielder/pitcher, who played baseball as a redshirt freshman at Bowling Green State University last spring, had to sit out the 2008 season after having Tommy John arm surgery in May of that year.
Martin is spending this summer playing outfield for the Lake Erie Monarchs of the 10-team Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League. The league is for players age 18-23 who are still playing college ball.
"My arm is feeling good, the elbow is feeling good," said Martin, 20. "I have no pain when I throw. The shoulder feels good. The rehab is tough with this, but I've been blessed to be able to come back and throw again without any pain. It was a long trip and it's still not over."
Martin and Woodmore graduate Charles Wooten, a right-handed relief pitcher who also plays at BGSU, are two players from the Press coverage area who were chosen by general manager Jim DeSana to play for the Monarchs this summer.
"We're looking for kids like Charlie and Patrick," DeSana said. "They are both pretty exceptional. They are just high-character kids. They are hard workers and just the kind of kids who come out to the ballpark and are exceptional young men as far as their character."
Last season the Monarchs made the league playoffs after taking sixth in the then 12-team GLSCL. The Monarchs are currently 10-19 overall and 6-11 in the league.
The team plays its weekday home games at Ned Skeldon Stadium in Maumee and its weekend home games at Adrian College. The Monarchs will play 50 games from June 10 through Aug. 2.
This is the first year playing for the Monarchs for both Martin, a lefty, and Wooten.
"This is a lot tougher schedule than what I'm used to in summer ball," Martin said. "We play five to six days a week. It's fun. I played on a summer team, the Toledo Hitmen, and there are a couple guys on the Monarchs that I played with on that team. It's nice to play with some familiar faces and some guys I've known since high school.
"There are quite a few Mid-American Conference players in this league. It's a tough league. I would compare it to playing in the MAC, which is good. You get a chance to see more of what you're going to be facing in the spring."
Martin has appeared in 11 games and started 10, and he has a .333 batting average (13-for-39) with one double, two triples and six RBI. He has walked twice and struck out 15 times, and is 3-for-3 in stolen bases.
"He's been nursing a sore arm for the last five or six games," DeSana said. "He's having a good season for us. He's an extremely fast runner. His arm is much better now. He's a very good defensive outfielder."
Wooten (6-1, 205), has pitched in six games this season, all in relief, and is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 10 innings. He has given up four runs (all earned) on nine hits and four walks, with eight strikeouts.
"He's doing well," DeSana said. "He's one of our top five pitchers. We've been using him in a relief role because that's what he does with BG. He's been throwing two or three innings in the latter portions of games."
Although Wooten was unable to make the trip, Martin accompanied the Monarchs when the team toured Alaska from June 10-24. The Monarchs played 12 games in 12 days - going 4-8 - against some of the best teams in Alaska. The games were held in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Kenai.
The Monarchs also took part in Alaska's annual Midnight Sun game, losing 6-3 to the Fairbanks Gold Panners. The Midnight Sun game is played on June 21 beginning at 10:30 p.m., without the aid of any artificial light. June 21 is the longest day of the year in Alaska.
"A couple of the guys went halibut fishing and a couple guys went salmon fishing, and we all did some sightseeing," Martin said. "I've always wanted to get the chance to play out there and play Alaska league teams. Playing in that midnight game was incredible. There were about 4,500 people there. Playing under the sun at midnight was pretty cool. It was awesome."
For more information on the Monarchs, visit www.lakeeriemonarchs.com.