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Reaping the rewards

Sophomore shortstop Marti Littlefield has proven herself worthy of many honors in the game of softball. Following the VSU women’s softball team first-place victory at the Eckerd Triton Spring Invitational two weekends ago, the Gulf South Conference named Littlefield the GSC Player of the Week in the East Division.
Littlefield was also the best freshman softball player of all time at VSU and she has the potential to become one of the best players in the country.
“She is a freshman all-American,” Thomas Macera, her coach for two years, said. “If she plays to her ability, she will be a four time all-American. In the U.S., that is very seldom. She’s just that good.”
Although Littlefield has experienced little hardship on the field, off the field has been a different story. Growing up as one of four kids and living with a single parent forced her to mature at a very young age.
“I had to grow up sooner than I wanted,” Littlefield said. “I grew up without money and with a single parent, so I had to take care of my brothers and sisters in high school.”
Family has played an important part of her life and her passions as she said that her mother, a softball player for 26 years, was the one who inspired her to play.
Where most would have folded, Littlefield prevailed. She played both basketball and baseball at Berrien High School in Nashville, Ga. and by graduation, the school retired her jersey number.
Her relationship with VSU Head Coach Thomas Marcera has been a focal point to her confidence and success throughout her career. The two were united about five years ago and have developed a great relationship. His role and leadership played a major factor in her decision to come to Valdosta State last season.
“We have a great relationship,” Littlefield said. ”I have known Coach Thomas for some years now and, still, every year I learn something new from him.”
“As a coach, I’ve told her to work hard. I’ve taught her good mechanics about the game of softball,” Macera said.
As with any sport, patience and practice are the chief keys to success. Only a sophomore, Littlefield has come a long way.
“Since last year, she is a better defensive player,” Macera said. “She worked hard with her hitting and she did well with that. She’s also a lot smarter because of her age.”
Littlefield has certainly proven how devoted she is to the game of softball.
“Last year, she hit 25 home runs and had 103 RBIs, which is the second in the NCAA,” Macera said. “This just goes to show how much of a terrific hitter she is. She was in the Top 5 hitters of the Division II softball.”
Littlefield’s dedication is not only acknowledged by Marcera, but by the rest of her team as well. Senior catcher Alyssa Shirley has been a close friend to Littlefield since last year and she had nothing but positive things to say about the strong leader.
“She puts in extra effort into everything,” Shirley said. “Whether it’s BP or ground balls. I’m proud of her dedication to this sport and team.”
“Marti is a very strong player, and she carries herself with a lot of confidence,” teammate Colette Rollins, sophomore infielder, said. “She knows what she is doing on the field, and if she doesn’t, she is not scared to ask for help. Marti works extremely hard on and off the field, always coming up to the field trying to get better outside of practice. In the future, I could see Marti being the first four-time all-American in softball programs history.”
Her extra effort is paying off. After leading the Lady Blazers to a first-place finish at the Eckerd Triton Spring Invitational, the Gulf South Conference has named her the Player of the Week in the East Division. In 2010, Littlefield is hitting .519 with four home runs, and 12 RBIs. In eight undefeated games, Littlefield has yet to strike out.
“We are a sturdy team so we have pretty high expectations,” Littlefield said. “I definitely think we’ll go as far if not further than last year.”

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