GS: James Marvel Sports Stars Bay Area Spring Athlete of the Year

Gamespeed’s own James Marvel was featured in Sports Stars magazine for the AOY honor. Hers a copy of the article in the Sports Stars July issue.


By Chase Bryson
James Marvel • Baseball • Campolindo-Moraga

For those who followed the four-year varsity career of Marvel, it’s hard to imagine anything else in his hands than a baseball or a bat.

But of all things, he could’ve just as easily been holding a hockey stick.

In an alternate reality based upon him  and his parents staying in Connecticut and not moving back to California before his sixth grade year, Marvel could just as easily been heading to his mom’s alma mater (University of Minnesota) dreaming of one day playing in the Frozen Four. Instead, he’s heading the opposite direction across the country — going back to the East Coast in hopes of one day making the College World Series as a member of the Duke Blue Devils.

And that’s just fine with him. Even though he can still admit that giving up hockey was extremely tough.

“I was a really big hockey player,” Mavel said. “If I’d stayed back there it might have been hockey (as my main sport). When we moved out here it’s just a different culture, and hockey just wasn’t going to be quite the same. I still miss it, but it turned out great for me. The baseball out here is some of the best in the country and I was fortunate to learn from it.”

Campolindo was fortunate to have him.

Marvel tossed a four-hit shutout in the 2010 NCS Division II championship as a sophomore — beginning a championship run that would yield three consecutive NCS titles. The Cougars were the first East Bay program of the NCS modern era (which began in 1975) to win three straight crowns.

This season, in his final campaign, Marvel batted .433 with 39 hits, 26 RBI and a team-leading .544 on base percentage. Some arm fatigue led to him only starting 9 games but he still went 5-2 with a 1.81 ERA and 59 strikeouts over 58 innings. He was the designated hitter in the NCS final, finishing 3-for-3 with three runs scored and two stolen bases.

“It was an amazing experience,” Marvel said. “So much of that success has to go to (coach) Max Luckhurst … But we were really lucky to have such a great group of guys over the years. … We’re going to look back and realize just how successful we were, but we won’t remember the wins and losses as much as we’ll cherish the relationships we made.”

— Chace Bryson


• THE STATS: Batting — .433 average, 32 runs, 39 hits, 26 RBI, 7 doubles, 3 home runs, .544 on base percentage. Pitching — 9 starts, 58 innings, 5-2 record, 1.81 ERA, 59 strikeouts, 23 walks/hit batsmen.

• SIGNATURE PERFORMANCE: Filling the DH role for the NCS Division II championship, Marvel went 3-for-3 with a walk, three runs scored and two stolen bases. Campolindo beat Dougherty Valley-San Ramon 6-3.

• HIS BASEBALL ROUND TABLE: Asked what three baseball people he’d invite to a conversation, he chose Derek Jeter, Roy Halladay and his personal pitching coach Jeff Pick. “I’m all about learning and continuing to get better. If you can’t get better sitting at that table, I don’t know what you’re doing.”

• THE NEXT LEVEL: Despite having Major League suitors, Marvel never wavered in his intention to attend Duke and get an education. “My parents always stressed academics first. … Duke is a great school in the ACC, one of the best baseball conferences. Why not go play great baseball in a great part of the country while going to a great school? It doesn’t get much better than that.