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Our Tribute To Stanford’s “9”

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STANFORD, Calif. — Saturday brought me back to the Bay Area once again as I was drawn to the Stanford campus and Sunken Diamond for their planned “surprise” party for retiring Cardinal head coach Mark Marquess. Over 100 former players and coaches returned to The Farm to honor “9” and the legacy he will be leaving behind as he announced his retirement following this season before the beginning of this 2017 campaign tipped off.

The first time I ever saw Marquess in person was at the 1996 West Regional in Palo Alto. The first thing I noticed about him was when he went out for conversations with his pitcher on the mound, he stood in stark contrast with Florida State’s Mike Martin, who can be clocked with a sun dial on his deliberate pace of going to the pitcher’s mound. Mark Marquess RAN to the pitcher’s mound. A brisk jog at worst.

This guy is still, to this day, a ball of energy.

Coach Marquess thanked his players, coaches and especially his family members who were on hand.

The way he paces in the dugout when his defense is on the field and his pitcher is on the mound. He’s non-stop. Just constant movement and constantly checking his charts on the dugout wall. Oh yes, he has charts. An endless amount of them. As if they are some kind of wallpaper he needs to use to cover the inside of the dugout. Nine is known to look out at the situation on the field, leering out over his reader glasses and then check back on his charts that are taped to the wall. In other words, he’s never not coaching. This ain’t no Bear Bryant-type CEO who lets his assistants do the coaching as he stands in a tower during practice.

As has been well-documented in the past, Mark Marquess brings a briefcase to the park every game. I mean literally a briefcase, like he is playing an account executive on Mad Men.

During the games you can audibly hear him yelling out “No, no no!” when he sees one of his batters take a pitch that is a borderline ball/strike call. But as you would probably imagine, the biggest influence he’s had on college baseball is the influence he has had on his former players, many of whom showed up for Saturday’s tribute. Some of the more prestigious names in Stanford baseball were there to pay tribute, from Black Jack McDowell, to Carlos Quentin to Chad Hutchinson — all wearing Stanford No. 9 jerseys. Coach Marquess must’ve shaken a million hands before the game.

Black Jack McDowell among the crowd honoring coach Marquess.

In typical Mark Marquess fashion, he didn’t get overly emotional on his special day, but said many thank yous in his speech to the Sunken Diamond crowd and his numerous former players during the pregame ceremonies.

“It’s hard to believe I’ve been at Stanford for almost 50 years of my life,” Marquess started. “It’s obviously a place I love. I truly believe in the mission of the University and the combination of academics and athletics. I have been blessed to be involved with a place like this for so long.

“A lot of you may not know that away from the diamond my life has been dominated by women, thank God,” Marquess said to the snickers from the crowd and his former players. “My mother, who is here today is 91. Unfortunately I still can’t beat her at tennis. So she’s going strong. My sister Kathy, my oldest daughter Bridgette, my middle daughter Annie, my youngest daughter Maureen, my eight grandchildren and of course my best friend and the love of my life, Susan, is also here.

“One of the things you learn as a coach is that it’s not about the coaches,” Marquess said. “It’s about the players. These have all been my sons for 41 years. I’m not their father but I’ve tried to act as their father. A lot of tough love, but I think they know there was love there all along. It’s all about the players. We are there to love and to lead. That tradition and that culture will always be there, you all make Stanford very proud and me very proud.

Coach Marquess addresses the crowd with the 100-plus players and coaches behind him.

“I’ve had a lot of outstanding experiences in my long career, but not any more special than this,” Marquess said while holding the microphone. “I will never forget the accomplishments you’ve made over the years. And I thank you for it.”

Coach Marquess then posed for an endless amount of pictures with all the baseball alumni from the different decades while the “9” flag was being raised in center field in his honor.

And just like coach Marquess himself, the flag just kept on moving in the wind. Never stopping.

STANFORD’S SECOND STRAIGHT SHUTOUT
As for the game itself, the Cardinal put the clamps on Kansas for the second straight day with a 5-0 shutout. Three Stanford arms held the Jayhawks to just three hits, meaning that in 18 innings so far in this series, KU has managed just four hits against the Stanford pitching and defense.

The Trees jumped out to a 4-0 lead after three innings, helped by a plunking to Duke Kinamon with one out in the second inning and eventually having him knocked in by Mikey Diekroeger to take an immediate 1-0 lead after two innings.

The third inning cemented the outcome when the Card scored three runs in the frame after Andrew Daschbach led the inning off with a double and Alex Dunlap scored him with an RBI single. A batter later The Duke struck again as Kinamon slapped an RBI single into left field, giving Stanford a 3-0 lead. Later in that inning Cardinal superhero Mikey Diekroeger put the game on ice with a two-run single, making the score 4-0.

Mikey Diekroeger led the Cardinal with a 4-for-4, 3RBI day at the dish.

After Andrew Summerville and Will Mattheissen combined to carry a no-hitter into the eighth inning and complete just the fifth one-hitter in SU history on Friday night, lefthanded freshman Erik Miller continued the clampdown, going seven innings and giving up just three hits while striking out four and not allowing a single run. The strapping 6-5 lefty from St. Louis was bumping 93-94 yet still wasn’t overpowering the KU hitters. He was efficient though, throwing 83 pitches on the day and getting 11 of his 19 outs via harmless grounders.

Jack Little came out of the ‘pen to throw eight balls outside out of the zone and summarily got pulled, but was followed by senior Tyler Thorne, who breezed through the final six outs without any drama, going six-up, six-down with two strikeouts to secure the win.

Diekroeger was the stud of the game, going 4-for-4 with a double and three RBIs thrown in. Though there were 11 Stanford hits in the game, no other player had a multi-hit day, but Alex Dunlap had an RBI single and freshman Dan Bakst also plated a run with a fifth-inning sac fly.

Though they have yet to score in this series, the Jayhawks haven’t been overwhelmed. Sure their bats have been weak thus far but pitching and defense-wise they haven’t been too terrible, allowing Stanford to score in just five of the 16 innings they’ve thrown to them. Then again, this is a team that always seems to need some warming up as the weather warms up, so we’ll see how the rest of their season goes.

No two ways about it though, the Cardinal seem destined to have a postseason run in them them. For 9’s sake, let’s hope so.

LINESCORE:
Kansas – 000 000 000 – 0  3  1
Stanford – 013 010 00x – 5 11  0

PITCHING
WP: Erik Miller, 1-0
LP: Jeider Rincon, 0-2
Save: None

TOP HITTERS.
Jayhawks:
– David Kyracou, 2-for-4

Cardinal:
– Mikey Diekroeger, 4-for-4, 3RBI, double
– Alex Dunlap, 1-for-4, RBI

RECORDS:
– Kansas, 2-4
– Stanford, 4-2

PICS

A few more images from Stanford’s win

Coach Marquess in his element, working the game from the dugout with all his charts and boards behind him.

 

Erik the Red. Freshman Erik Miller threw like a veteran against the Jayhawks.

 

Alex Dunlap persevered through some tough at-bats, handling the pitchers from his catcher position and withstanding this flying body block from Chris Castellanos after scoring a run.

 

Two-hole hitter Andrew Daschbach was the only freshman in the starting lineup, but impressed with a double, a walk and a run scored in the game.

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