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Archbishop McCarthy's "guy behind the guys"

Know of any high schools with a director of baseball operations?

Archbishop McCarthy coach Steve DeMatties didn't.

"I've never heard of a baseball program at the high school level that has a director of baseball operations," DeMatties said.

That is, before this season -- thanks to the guy who hired the former Miami Beach and Stranahan coach: ex-Marlin Alex Fernandez, who took that very "director of baseball operations" position last fall for the Mavericks, after his son entered Archbishop McCarthy as a freshman (Fernandez also owns two StrikeZone stores, one of which is across the street from the school).

That new position has bred results -- and very visible ones. Not only did the Monsignor Pace graduate hire an experienced coaching staff (DeMatties was drafted by the Mets, while assistant Nelson Santovenia played for the Expos, White Sox and Royals), but he brought a new ballpark with him.

As in, new fencing, batting cages, dressing area, infield, sprinkler system -- pretty much everything.

Oh, and the Mavericks just completed the best season (19-7-2) in their history, hosting a regional game for the first time (although they lost 6-5 to Key West on Tuesday). Coincidence? Probably not.

Who knows if it'll continue. But DeMatties and Fernandez seem to think so.

"This is going to be the place to play," DeMatties said.

Added Fernandez: "I really feel good about building a great, all-around school for the baseball program.

"It's not only about sports, but about everything else. ... It's a learning facility for life, and I think that's very important."

--Patrick Dorsey (e-mail)

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