Sooke’s own Kurt Horne is one 28 players invited to the Canadian Junior National Team’s spring training camp this month. On April 11, Horne will be heading to Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Florida. This 16-year-old Sooke “south paw” (left-handed batter, left-handed pitcher) is in Grade 11 at Edward Milne community School.
In conversation, Horne said that he’s been playing baseball for 12 years, since he was four years old.
“I followed after my brother and my dad playing baseball,” he said, acknowledging the inspirational lead from his older brother Kyle and his father, Rocky.
“He [Rocky] pretty much taught me everything I know,” said Kurt, “All of the fundamentals and the mechanics of the sport.”
When he gets to Orlando, Horne will already know his way around. This is not his first time at baseball camp. He also attended last year’s fall instructional camp as a rookie, a 10-day training camp in October also held at the same complex in Florida.
The fall camp was an incredible learning experience for Horne. It’s made him a stronger player.
According to a press release sent out last week by Victoria Eagles Baseball, “Horne … enjoyed a successful rookie season with the Victoria Eagles Premier team, logging 55 innings on the mound with an ERA of 2.00 and a 5-2 record. The Sooke teen, in Grade 11 at Edward Milne community school, also helped the BC Selects capture a silver medal at the Canada Cup last summer throwing eight innings while striking out 10, including two shutout innings in the final.”
“It was a great experience. There was lots of knowledge that I was able to pick up on and bring back and share with my team,” Horne recalls.
When he’s at camp, Horne says, there’s not much time for anything other than baseball. And indeed, their agenda is packed. The mornings are typically filled with practice sessions, and every day they will play an exhibition game. On Tuesday April 16, they will have the opportunity to face the Toronto Blue Jays at the Bobby Mattick Complex.
As for aspirations for this upcoming camp, Kurt plans to continue with an accelerated learning curve.
“I hope to show them how much I’ve improved since they’ve last seen me. And I’m hoping to earn another spot in the next camp. I’m also hoping to keep learning more and more about the game and what I can do to be better at it.”
The next camp is the Dominican Summer League which will be held in late May.
Juggling school and baseball is a challenging balancing act, but he hasn’t dropped the ball yet.
In preparation for the baseball camp, Horne is working hard to get ahead in school so that he doesn’t fall behind in his 10 day absence.
His passion for baseball is abundantly clear. He hopes to see it in his future for a long time, giving back to the community that has inspired him along his current journey. “I’d love to play professional baseball. In 30 years from now, I’d still like to be playing baseball,” says Horne, “like coaching and working with kids, helping them with the game.”
But for now, he’ll focus on the moment and work on improving his pitch and growing his game. You’ll see him in the number 13 jersey when he’s playing with Victoria Eagles, in the BC Premiere, and in number 31 when he’s with Team Canada, in the Jr National League.