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Played here, Coaches here (to a championship)



May 25, 2023

Only a few miles down Springdale Drive from where he played baseball for the Blue Hose, Sean McCarthy ’98 celebrated the biggest win of his coaching career.

Leading the Clinton High Red Devils to a thrilling 5-4 win Wednesday over Hanahan High for the AAA state championship, McCarthy stood on the field with his triumphant squad – enjoying the moment and absorbing a grateful community’s heartfelt congratulations.

“It was very surreal,” he said. “Before every game, we say this is the most important game because it’s the next game. But Wednesday night – seeing all of those people coming to see us play, we knew it meant a lot to our community.”

Before the game, McCarthy said he and his squad stuck to the same pre-game routines they used throughout their 26-3 season. Even with a thousand fans in the stands, McCarthy said he tried to be stoic and calm.

But he also understood what kind of impact a win at home might have on him, his players, the school, and the community if the Red Devils delivered their first state championship in baseball since 1961. That impact was felt when Clinton scored the final run in the last inning of the last game.

“This is a very special team,” McCarthy said. “And we’re very appreciative of being in a town and a community that loves baseball.”

For McCarthy, the merging of community and baseball stretches back to his time as a catcher for Coach Doug Kovash’s Blue Hose squads in the late 1990s. It means taking pride in the accomplishments of his teammate, PC head coach Elton Pollock. It means taking English classes with retired English professor Dr. Dean Thompson and discussing their shared love of America’s pastime. It means getting congratulatory calls from classmates and former teammates. It means publicly recognizing retired PC coach Bob Strock as the coach of that ’61 championship team.

McCarthy has taught in Laurens County School District 56 for 26 years, so community also means the love he has for his players and his profession. It’s about “While We Live, We Serve,” he says, and finding a purpose in serving young people in the classroom and on the field.

“If you choose to be a teacher or a coach, it’s not for the financial rewards,” he said. “There is an intrinsic reward for both. I’m so blessed with the relationships I have through baseball and PC and this community. I’m blessed to have this opportunity to give back when it’s given so much to me.”