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KYUSUNG GONG, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Marina's Bob Marshall led his team to a Sunset League championship and owned league rival Huntington Beach.

O.C. baseball coach of the year: Marina's Bob Marshall

STAFF WRITER

Marina had five returning varsity players. Only one of them was an NCAA Division 1 college baseball prospect.

The Vikings did not look like they would be an Orange County top-10 team. They were a longshot to win the Sunset League championship.

Marina did win the Sunset League championship. They did finish in the Orange County top 10.

For leading a team that exceptionally exceeded expectations, Marina’s Bob Marshall is the Register’s Orange County baseball coach of the year.

The Vikings finished on top of the Sunset League, as always one of the county’s better leagues, with a 10-5 league record. They beat national preseason No. 1 Huntington Beach in all three of their league games.

Marina stumbled in the playoffs, losing to Corona in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.

The abrupt ending did not reduce Marshall’s enthusiasm about this year’s Vikings.

“These guys played the game loose and free,” Marshall said. “And when you play loose and free, good things happen. We had a very tight group of kids who really bonded together so well.”

Marshall, 48, who is married with two adult children, saw some indications that this might be a fun season in early March when Marina went 3-2 in the always-tough, always-deep Loara Tournament.

“I thought then that maybe we had something special,” Marshall said. “I told the kids right then, ‘If we’re going to win or lose we’re going to do it as a team’ because we didn’t have that one guy who could carry us.”

He was right.

“We must have had 10 different guys who had a game-winning hit,” said Marshall, who teaches health and biology at Marina. “Everybody in the lineup and a bunch of guys on the bench gave us a clutch hit that won a ballgame.”

The season was Marshall’s sixth as head coach at Marina, his alma mater. He had been an assistant to Paul Renfrow for 16 years. Renfrow, who retired from teaching and being head coach in 2010 to deal with some family health issues, remains at Marina as a walk-on assistant coach. He is pleased Marshall is running the program Renfrow ran for 27 years.

“Bob’s got a lot of energy and he really cares about the kids,” Renfrow said. “If he makes a mistake, he’ll admit it. He’s not one to try to bury it.”

Marshall did not make many mistakes in 2016, a year in which he guided Marina to a great season.

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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