LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Athletics) – Kentucky Softball player Alex Martens announced on Friday that she will be forgoing her extra year of eligibility for 2021. In a letter released to Big Blue Nation, Martens opened up her path forward, as she will be pursuing a second degree in a Masters of Art in Strategic Design from Furman University, in conjunction with the Miami Ad School at Portfolio Center.
Martens led the NCAA with 47 runs batted in during her senior season, where she hit a career-high .507 along with 28 runs scored and nine home runs. During her career, she became heavily involved with FCA, and was National Fastpitch Coaches’ Association All-Region in 2019. She ends her UK career with three NCAA Super Regional appearances and a second-place finish in the 2019 Southeastern Conference – tying the 2016 mark for the best in program history.
Martens released the following letter to the Big Blue Nation on Friday:
I have been putting this moment off as long as I could, hoping it would just be a bad dream. Words can not describe how thankful I am. For the past four years, I’ve been lucky enough to wear the great state of Kentucky across my chest. Thank you all, for allowing me to be part of something so much bigger than myself. You welcomed a small-town girl from northern Illinois with open arms and made Kentucky home.
Thank you to the University of Kentucky and Mitch Barnhart for allowing me to chase my dreams to the peak of excellence. What I have accomplished at this university exceeds all expectations I ever had for myself.
To my teammates, who I consider to be family, thank you for all the dance parties, movie nights and dinner dates. Memories we have will last a lifetime and I can not wait to watch you all succeed in what you choose to do; the opportunities are endless. Thank you for making me the woman I am today, and for being my shoulder to cry on more times than none.
To Coach Lawson, Coach Himes, and Molly, thank you for taking a chance on me all those years ago. I would not be the friend, daughter or woman I am today without the standards you held this program to and the way you respect each of us. You created a family environment like no other and truly set us up for success. Not to mention, you gave me the best gift of all…..my cat Milo.
To my family, I know these events have been equally as hard for you. Thank you for being the best support system a girl could ask for and allowing me to grow on my own these past few years. Your commitment to see me play college softball taught me that no distance is too far for those you love.
To 7-year-old Alex, who just picked up a softball for the first time, you did it. I am so proud of you for the barriers you broke and the person you have become. Don’t let anyone tell you your dream is too big.
With all this being said, and after much prayer and reflection, I have made the decision to forgo my extra year of eligibility and continue on the path to pursuing a second degree in a Masters of Art in Strategic Design from Furman University in collaboration with the Miami Ad school at Portfolio Center. I truly believe that when one door closes another opens, and I am excited to see what the future has in store for Big Al. Thank you, all, for the best four years of my young life.
Rachel Lawson added this to the announcement by Martens:
“I will always remember Alex as being someone who put their full trust into the process of being a Kentucky Softball player. Alex trusted everyone from her teammates, coaches, strength coaches, nutritionists, faith leaders, athletic trainers and support staff members and used their advice to become the best version of herself. She was able to maximize the resources that are provided at Kentucky and made herself into one of the best leaders we have ever had in our program. Alex additionally had a great effect on people around her and was able to make anyone feel comfortable. You could tell the effect that she had on her teammates by the way she led in her senior season. We look forward to seeing Alex excel in the next chapter of her life and thank her for being a great Wildcat.” – Rachel Lawson