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CBA legendary baseball coach retires after almost half a century

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CBA legendary baseball coach retires after almost half a century

CBA’s Joseph Sparber (#17) receives a special gift for Senior Day during the South Jersey Non-Public A state baseball quarterfinal game against St. Joseph’s at Christian Brothers Academy on May 31.

Marty Kenney coached his first baseball game at Christian Brothers Academy on April 3, 1974.

Richard Nixon was still in the White House. The Super Bowl was eight years old. And color television was still a relatively new American phenomenon.

More than 46 years, 800 victories and countless socio-cultural developments later, Kenney stepped down as CBA’s baseball coach on July 16, 2019.

The coach and his school in Lincroft, which he also graduated from in 1966, announced the decision in a press release.

You hear this a lot when longtime coaches step down, but Kenney’s retirement was truly the end of an era. Perhaps even the end of an epoch, at least in high school baseball terms.

In 1977, Kenney led CBA to its first NJSIAA Non-Public A baseball championship. He also guided the school to two more state titles, in 2009 and 2015, seven Shore Conference championships and eight state sectional crowns.

More than 20 of his former players are currently playing collegiate baseball, with the majority in Division 1. The coach helped 16 CBA alums become Major League Baseball Draft picks.

“I would like to thank all of the coaches who have been part of our program during my 46 seasons. Your dedication was second to none,” Kenney said. “I am humbled and grateful to all the athletes who played for me. Your sacrifices and commitment to our prestigious program has embedded memories that will never be taken away.”

Kenney’s best team was undoubtedly his 2015 squad, which became just the second team in Shore Conference history to win the quadruple crown of championships– the state championship, the state sectional title, the conference crown and the division flag. That team also finished with a 27-5 record.

The coach’s last club was no slouch either. In 2019, CBA went 18-7, won the Monmouth County Tournament title and reached the NJSIAA South Jersey, Non-Public A semifinals, losing to Saint Joseph Regional High School, 3-2.

Left-handed pitcher Joe Escandon was a standout on Kenney’s last team, pitching a complete game in CBA’s 8-1 victory over Ocean Township High School on May 7 in the Monmouth County title game. The ace, like his teammates, was grateful to be a part of Kenney’s last season.

“It was cool that we were a part of the last team he ever coached,” Escandon said. “He had a great career.”

Escandon is a teenager, but he tried his best to wrap his head around the magnitude of Kenney’s longevity.

“It is really mind blowing that he was at the same school for all that time,” the pitcher said. 

The lefty, like so many of Kenney’s players over the years, will continue his baseball career at the collegiate level. He will pitch for Division 3 Salve Regina University in Newport, RI., starting next year. Escandon credited Kenney for helping him get to the next level.

“The impact he made was play hard,” Escandon said. “He didn’t want guys out there slacking.” 

“I always thought he was a good coach,” he added. 

Now CBA will have to find another good coach. And while it won’t be easy to replace an institution, the CBA baseball job should be an attractive one. It’s a strong program in a flourishing athletic department.

“Christian Brothers Academy will commence a search for the next head baseball coach later this month,” said Jason Lutz, CBA’s marketing and communications director. “Information will be posted on LetsGoColts.com.”

 

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