There's always room in the McCarthy nest

Faulkner coach Patrick McCarthy and his wife, Katie Beth, pause with their adopted boys, Miller and Keenan (front), before heading back to Harris Field. The McCarthy family has another adopted son, Andre, who opted to stay home from this year’s Series.

Throughout the Harris Field stands, you'll see it occasionally during the NAIA World Series: a local wearing a Faulkner hat or jersey - these fans, in a way, having adopted the Eagles.

But the theme of adoption runs far deeper in the Montgomery, Ala., school's baseball program.

Coach Patrick McCarthy and his wife, Katie Beth McCarthy, have adopted three kids already - and are looking into adding a fourth.

The brood goes as follows: There's 14-year-old Miller, who was adopted from South Korea at 15 months of age; 13-year-old Andre, adopted at age 3 from Guatemala; and 7-year-old Keenan, adopted as a newborn from Texas.

Naturally, Katie Beth points out, their family dog, a pitbull named Zoe, "was adopted too."

While Patrick winds down with his kids by playing Madden with them, there's another way the McCarthy family spends time together.

At the ballpark - so much so that Miller came up with a way to explain it.

"We live at the field," Miller said. "We just go spend the night at our house sometimes."

Many of the players on McCarthy's team have one thing in common, Katie Beth said: they've probably dealt with some sort of hardship - which gives them something in common with their coach.

Patrick and Katie Beth spoke in similarly vague terms - calling his upbringing "rough" while explaining just what attracted them together when they met nearly two decades ago at Freed-Hardeman as students.

"Her inspiration, she's passionate about everything she does," the Eagles coach said. "We love big, we fight big, everything's just big. And I love that about her because my life had always been about (being) in the shadows. And in darkness. And bad things.

"And she's just like, 'God can light any room and do anything in your life.' And man, what an amazing marriage he's given us. So that we could glorify him and give him all the credit."

When McCarthy took over the Faulkner baseball program eight years ago, he promised three priorities: God, school and baseball - in that order.

And that's been a recipe for success in his program, which can list the following accomplishments: winning the 2013 national title, finishing runner-up last year, and, as they make their fifth straight trip to Lewiston this spring, being one of just four Series unbeatens left as they head into today's game against Missouri Baptist.

First pitch is at 3 p.m.

Whatever happens at the Series, McCarthy said, is "like icing," since he got into coaching for another reason.

"The plan had always been to minister to players. To try to give them an insight into how my life was, and how their life could change through getting a college degree and doing the right thing," he said. "We've got to stand up and fight for our faith and fight for what really matters."

Which for the McCarthy family has been accomplished most effectively through one means: adoption - both literally and metaphorically.

"He's like your father, away from home," former player Antonio Kendrick said.

Fatherhood is something of a theme: Current Eagle John Price Jr. admires his coach because of the leeway he's given the outfielder to first and foremost be a dad himself.

"It just makes me want to be a better father for my kids," said Price, who will sometimes miss practice to go visit his son three hours away.

Though the McCarthy family's middle son, Andre, opted to stay with Katie Beth's parents in Tennessee during this year's Series, the family isn't lacking for kids - since "every player," Katie Beth said, "I really consider them mine."

In that vein, McCarthy estimates that as many as a dozen former players throughout the years have ended up staying at his house as they finished up their degrees - and the love isn't limited to players who stay in McCarthy's program.

Case in point: For playing time and financial reasons respectively, Miguel Castellanos and Roberto Aldana both left Faulkner after last season - but were thrilled to get a chance to see their old coach when their new programs made it to the Series this season.

"They've been calling and texting," said Castellanos, now with Keiser, "to make sure I was doing good."

Added Aldana, now with Science and Arts: "He was more than a coach."

Sometimes, when people find out about McCarthy's three adopted kids, they'll tell him, "how nice of you," or "that's such a great thing."

But McCarthy sees it another way.

"Our children saved us," he said. "We were in depression, we were going through infertility, and my children, in their uniqueness - of their nationality, of where they came from, of Keenan being African-American, and Andre being special needs, God has shown me so much of what he is through my children."

Note - The McCarthy family plans to adopt another child at some point, and has set up a GoFundMe.com page to help defray some of the initial vetting costs. Donations can be made by visiting https://www.gofundme.com/mccarthy-adoption-journey.

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Edelman may be contacted at bedelman@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2277.