Block’s McCarthy tapped as 2017’s Coach of Year

Published 12:01 am Sunday, June 4, 2017

Stevie McCarthy had been waiting for more than a decade to earn his first playoff win as a baseball coach at Block High School.

This year’s Bears squad didn’t let him down.

Block trounced East Beauregard in the opening round of the LHSAA playoffs in late April, 15-4, then stunned top-seeded Logansport days later, 19-11, giving McCarthy a memory that he will treasure forever.

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For his team’s efforts, McCarthy has been selected as The Natchez Democrat’s 2017 Coach of the Year.

“It was one for the books,” he said. “It was a long time coming. We had a lot of hard practices and a lot of disappointments in the past, but these guys played their hearts out for me.”

The Bears eventually fell to Oberlin in the third round, 20-13, ending their run.

McCarthy took over the Block program in 2009 after serving several years as an assistant at the school. The grizzled coach said he started seeing things coming together during an April 12 home game against LaSalle in which the Bears emerged with a 9-4 win. Block then went on to win two of its final three games of the regular season, with its lone loss coming at the hands of Logansport.

“They started hitting the ball,” McCarthy said. “When they started doing that, I told them they had a good chance of going somewhere this year. I told them to fight for me and give me everything they have, and they did.”

Despite losing two regular-season games to Logansport, Block was full of confidence as it traveled to face LHSAA’s top seed in the second round. The Bears pounded out 16 hits and rallied for eight runs in the seventh inning, earning the nickname “Giant Killers,” from opposing coaches.

“It was special for the kids,” McCarthy said. “The kids came up to me and told me they weren’t going to lose this one. They were talking about going to the ’ship. I told them that they were going to have to fight for it.”

Perhaps what makes this crop of players extra special for Block is the entire starting lineup will all be returning next season.

“This bunch of kids really enjoys playing ball,” McCarthy said. “They can’t wait to play the next ball game. They just know the game and love it … I’ve had great teams in the past but this group of kids, they came together in the end and really played hard for me.”