By Ray Hamill — If College of the Redwoods head coach Megan Valente wants to instill a winning mentality in her program she’s going about it the right way.
On Thursday, Valente added a third recruit from one of the most successful local teams in recent years, when Hoopa senior Nae-Rew Martin signed her letter of commitment to play for the Corsairs after graduation.
Martin is the fourth local player to commit to the local community college in the last few weeks — following Fortuna’s Kylee Fennell and her Hoopa teammates Diamond and Jewely Bibancos — and she could be Valente’s most significant signing yet.
The Warriors star played a key role in leading the Warriors to an H-DNL record seventh North Coast Section championship a year ago while playing second base, and was even more pivotal this spring, helping the team to a fourth consecutive league championship after switching to shortstop.
And that athleticism and adaptability is one of the things that put her on CR’s radar.
“I remember watching her over her high school career playing second base, and then this year playing shortstop, and I really do feel she is athletic enough to play any position on the field and is a true utility player,” Valente said.
But that’s not all the CR coach likes about the new recruit, who was one of Hoopa’s two most influential players this spring.
“She also was a great lead-off batter for Hoopa and has speed,” Valente added. “So that will be a huge help for us next season.
“CR softball is happy to get three of Hoopa’s seniors and I know all three of them will make a huge impact in the spring.”
But, according to her high school coach Ryan Colegrove, her impact went well beyond the stats.
“Rew brings so much to the game and the team, where do I begin?” The coach said. “She has always been a hard worker and one of the best attitudes a coach can ask for.
“She was always my go-to when I needed the morale picked up. I knew I could always rely on her to lift the spirits of her dugout or on the field.”
Those intangibles should help the Hoopa senior adapt quickly to the college game.
“Her hard work and dedication will help her continue to get stronger and grow at the next level,” Ryan Colegrove added.
Martin, who always seems to play the game with a playful demeanor, is also this year’s Hoopa Valedictorian.