One of only two baseball players in Sooke has been selected to play in the Canada Cup National Championships in London, Ontario from Aug. 8 to 12.
Kurt Horne, 15, set himself a part at a four-day try out camp in Langley last month, where 120 players were parred down to 20 for the B.C. U17 Selects provincial baseball team.
“It was a really cool experience getting to see all the levels of baseball, all the talent that comes from B.C.,” Horne said.
The tournament will see scouts from 30 Major League Baseball teams and a chance to be chosen for next year’s junior national team — a current goal for Horne.
Although the pressure is on, Horne responded to the greatest opportunity of his career yet in a calm and collected manner.
“It’s been nerve-wracking, but I think it’ll be a really great experience. I just hope to play well when I’m there.”
During the regular season, the Edward Milne community school student plays for the Victoria Eagles in the B.C. Premier league.
Standing nearly six-foot-five, the teen’s height and left-handed pitch have gained him the reputation as the, ‘Big, left-handed kid from Victoria.’
“He’s a left-handed thrower, which is not as common as right-handed throwing in baseball, so it kind of makes him special,” said Victoria Eagles coach, Gautam Srivastava.
“Pitching wise he’s got really, really good mechanics, and he throws quite hard for his age.”
Srivastava only began coaching Horne this year, but has been watching him grow as a player since he was eight years old.
“He’s come a long way this year… if he continues on that path, I think the sky is the limit for him.”
To which Horne’s father agreed.
“I wish I had half his talent when I was his age, and you know, his brother feels the same way, too,” said Rocky Horne.
“Kurt’s dedicated himself to be a quality baseball player. All the hard work he’s put forth has brought him to the position he’s at right now.”
Coming from a family of baseball fanatics, it was a natural progression for Horne to pursue the sport.
As former baseball players, Horne’s father and older brother gave the teen his foundation in the game.
But it was his paternal grandfather who should be credited with introducing Horne to the sport.
As a tot, prior to officially joining the sport at five years old, Horne’s grandfather taught him how to hit a golf ball-sized Wiffle ball with a broom stick — opening the flood gate to a life of baseball.
“I’d get home from school, and the first thing you’d do is go out back and play a game of baseball,” Horne said.