Under former coach Kiko Garcia, the Bellarmine-Jefferson High baseball team went 4-13 last season and finished fourth in the five-team Santa Fe League with a 3-9 mark. The team also didn’t make the postseason.
It was the first time in 10 years that the Guards were shut out of the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
Garcia stepped down at the end of the 2012 season.
Marty Marquardt is hoping he can help the Guards get back to their previous winning ways. Marquardt, a 2001 graduate of St. Francis High, was named the Guards’ new coach Thursday.
Marquardt, 30, who was an assistant varsity coach with the Golden Knights the last three seasons, said he believes the Bell-Jeff program is one that is capable of winning.
“I know coming from a program at St. Francis where we had to compete in a very tough Mission League, it’s going to be a little different at Bell-Jeff,” said Marquardt, who served under Aaron Milam last season as well as under Brian Esquival for two years at St. Francis. “But there should be no difference with the kids and their wanting to win and their dedication. Baseball kids are really the same no matter where you go.”
The coach said although he is confident that the Guards, who last captured a league championship in 2005, will be competitive under his tutelage, he also realizes there might be some challenges at Bell-Jeff.
“It’s a very small school, so we might have to scrap together athletes who want to play, maybe not even all baseball players, but individuals who want to compete as athletes,” he said. “But like I said; I think we will have the caliber of athletes where we can be successful. I have seen some of the athletes come out of Bell-Jeff in the past, and I have even competed against some. I know we can turn out good players.”
Following his graduation from St. Francis, Marquardt went on to play at Citrus College in Glendora. As a senior for the Golden Knights, Marquardt hit .457 and had a team-high 23 runs batted in.
He comes from a talented baseball family. His brother Andy, a 2005 St. Francis graduate, was an All-CIF baseball and football standout at the school who was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Currently serving as a substitute teacher in the Glendale and San Marino school districts, Marty said his flexible work schedule will allow him the time to devote to the Bell-Jeff program.
“I know it’s going to take a lot of work on my part,” he said. “But my substitute teaching gives me the flexibility to give the amount of time to the program that it will need. I can always work my schedule around to accommodate what I need to do for baseball.”
Bell-Jeff Athletic Director David Machuca said he thinks the baseball program has gotten a good coach in Marquardt.
“St. Francis has a good baseball program and to get someone from that program is very nice for us,” Machuca said. “He comes from a league with good competition and that is a big plus. He might have his work cut out for him here, but we’re confident that he can come in and get the job done.”