Joey Gonzalez will lead Marathon High School’s varsity baseball team this year. SARA MATTHIS/Keys Weekly

Marathon High School has a new head baseball coach — Joey Gonzalez. The 2012 MHS graduate said it’s his dream job.

“When the opportunity presented itself, I immediately knew that I wanted to pursue it,” he said.

Gonzalez is coming off an extremely successful four-year coaching stint of Marathon Middle School’s junior varsity team. The team finished 29-1 last year and a lot of the young talent is moving up to the varsity team this year.

MHS Athletic Director Lance Martin made the announcement on Aug. 5 with some encouraging words: “Joey is a great addition to our athletic department as the head baseball coach. He has great knowledge of the game. He is an excellent educator and coach who is well respected by our staff, students and community. He grew up in our school system and understands how unique of a community we are representing in the Keys. Lastly, he will continue the stability our baseball program had for the past 14 seasons under Luis Leal.”

The new coach also teaches ESOL, or English as a second language, to high school students. His brother Luis Jr., also a teacher at the MHS, will be his assistant coach.

Gonzalez acknowledges the legacy and influence of his predecessor, Luis Leal.

“Not only did he teach me about baseball, he’s also taught me about team management,” Gonzalez said. “He’s been such a great mentor and teacher to me.”

He said he has high hopes for the team.

“This team is young and has a lot of talent. They’ve been playing together for years. And now they are coming into their own — older, stronger, faster. They’ve put in their time.”

The high school’s ball teams will be getting a big bump of interest this year, of course, due to the new athletic complex. 

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