ENGLEWOOD -- Former Lemon Bay High baseball standout Dan Flaherty could stand out as a real-life version of Clark Kent/Superman.
For the past couple of weeks, Flaherty has participated as a catcher in the Cincinnati Reds' extended spring training program during the day in Sarasota. At night, he is the batting coach and works with the catchers for the Manta Rays. This week, Flaherty is coaching Lemon Bay in the Class 4A-District 11 tournament on their new field.
The 2000 Lemon Bay graduate signed as a free agent with the Reds in January.
"It was a fantastic feeling," Flaherty said. "It was like a dream come true. It was something I have been working hard for all these years."
Flaherty said pro baseball is different than college or high school ball.
"Pro baseball is done down to a plan," Flaherty said. "Everything is done down to the last detail. You have to treat the game like a job."
Flaherty begins his day at 8 a.m. at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota and works out until around noon. Around 12:30 p.m. the Reds will play games against either the Orioles, Twins or Red Sox organization teams. The Orioles' team plays at Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota. The Red Sox and Twins teams are out of Fort Myers.
"After extended spring training ends, I'll go to either the Gulf Coast League here in Florida or the Single-A team in Billings, Mont.," Flaherty said. "I hope I go to Billings."
In the 2000 high school season, Flaherty clubbed six home runs (a school record for the season) and batted .340 as the Manta Rays had their best-ever season at 27-6. They lost to Fort Myers-Bishop Verot in the regional championship, one step away from the State Final Four.
"That (senior season) was without a doubt the biggest thrill of my high school career," Flaherty said. "Just being able to catch for someone like Brian Almeida, who later signed with the Braves, was a great thrill."
Flaherty attended Florida State for three years but did not play baseball. He then transferred to Florida A&M and played two years of baseball for the Rattlers.
The Lemon Bay coaching staff appreciates what Flaherty has done for them.
"Dan's done a great job with our team," Lemon Bay coach Woody Smith said. "Our batting average is about 100 points higher than last season. That should tell you how much he's helped us. He also relates to the players really well because he's young and not much older than they are."
Besides baseball, Flaherty played soccer for four seasons at Lemon Bay. He has been part of a family affair at Lemon Bay. His cousin Sean Flaherty also played baseball for the Manta Rays. Dan's brother Ben played football and soccer for Lemon Bay. Dan's other brother Gabe competed on the Lemon Bay football and wrestling teams.