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Seminole transfer becomes Panther

In time, Chadd Martin hopes to open eyes with his skill.

Right now, he's doing so with his rings.

"Everybody has asked to see them," Martin said. "But I don't mind at all."

Martin, who enrolled at Lecanto on Monday, transferred from Seminole, where he earned state and national titles (and two rings) as an outfielder in 2001. At Lecanto, the 6-foot-2{, 160-pound senior is expected to boost a squad that went 7-19 last season, hit slightly better than .200 and relied heavily on one arm.

He will start in centerfield and pitch, possibly as a closer.

"He runs well, has a good arm, is a contact hitter, puts the ball in play and uses the whole field," Panthers coach Brian Donovan said. "Coming from a great program like Seminole, he has been around a great level of competition.

"Until you get into competitive situations, you can never tell how good somebody is, but he has got skills and desire and he's a baseball kid. He's totally dedicated to baseball."

Martin was a part-time starter and key defensive player in rightfield for Seminole as a sophomore. The Warhawks went unbeaten on the field (21-10 overall, with 10 forfeit losses) and defeated Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas 5-4 in the 2001 Class 5A final at Legends Field in Tampa. Martin started in centerfield last season, batting near .300 after a slow start.

"What I'm going to try to bring is the idea of having a team effort," Martin said. "You're not going to win without playing as a team. We had a lot of great players (on the state championship squad), but if we hadn't played as a team, we wouldn't have gotten along and we wouldn't have gone as far.

"There's really not too much pressure on me. It is a big change, but as long as we work together and practice together, we can do anything any other team can do."

Martin's family moved to Lecanto in July.

"I love this area," Martin said. "It's very peaceful. The kids are great. They accept kids very well around here. A lot of them could have been cocky toward me, but none were at all."

Martin played three games in the Dixie Majors league earlier this month and is participating in a local men's league. He has a hitting instructor in Clearwater whom he plans to keep visiting.

"He's going to better our program because of his love for the game," Donovan said. "He's a good student and a good player. He should be able to play at the next level and hopefully get a scholarship."