Today, the Churchill (San Antonio)
Chargers baseball team is the proud owner of a 25-2 record, a No. 1 area ranking by the San Antonio Express-News
and is No. 10 in the state in the Coaches' Class 5A Poll.
The program's level of success bears little resemblance to the one that coach Chad Marshall inherited in 2007 when he agreed to become the school's fourth baseball head coach in four seasons.
"From the start, the parents and the community bought in to what we wanted to do and the kids have done everything I've asked,'' Marshall said.
The Chargers have been a playoff participant in all five of their previous seasons under Marshall and have reached the Region IV tournament the last three years.
They show no signs of slowing.
For guiding Churchill to convincing wins over Johnson (San Antonio) and Brandeis (San Antonio) by scores of 15-3 and 11-3, respectively, Marshall was selected as San Antonio High Yield Coach of the Week presented by Capital One Bank.
Against Johnson, the District 26-5A champion last season, Churchill rang up 17 hits.
"Everything was dropping,'' Marshall said.
Two days later, Churchill produced 13 more hits in the win over Brandeis.
Marshall, always the optimist, felt before the season the Chargers had a good chance to be a solid club.
"The good teams figure out a way to win even if they aren't playing their best,'' Marshall said. "We've been pretty fortunate in that regard. There have been several close games that have kept my blood pressure up.''
Leadership for the Chargers is supplied by four seniors with varsity experience going back to their sophomore season: shortstop Zane Gurwitz
(bound for the University of Texas), right fielder Jason Serchay
(Ranger College), designated hitter Johnny Whalen
and third baseman/pitcher Justin Kelly
The Chargers' two main starting pitchers, Joseph Dimaline
(3-1, 2.82 ERA) and John Shull
(7-0, 2.17), are part of a strong junior class.
Churchill (8-1 in District 26-5A), riding an 11-game winning streak, leads 6-3 clubs Johnson and Reagan (San Antonio) by two games with three left to play in the league season.
Marshall said he prefers to adapt his coaching style to the type of talent on hand, but he always stresses pitching, good defense and players that live to compete.
Originally from Corpus Christi, Marshall and his family relocated to East Texas when he was in high school. After graduation from Whitehouse, where he played first base, Marshall converted to the outfield at Howard Payne University.
After college, Marshall made coaching stops at a couple of smaller high schools, and then Churchill called.
"Churchill had been losing kids to new high schools and had only been to the playoffs once in something like nine seasons,'' Marshall said. "After going through all the coaching changes, the kids were excited to have a direction. I'm not saying my direction was any better than anybody else‘s, but at least we had one.''
Marshall, still only 33, provides stability on the coaching line. His record of 158-54 proves he is getting through to his players.
"I'm very happy here. We've got good, young kids coming up,'' the coach said. "I'm pleased about the things we've been able to accomplish and where the program is now.''