Baseball in March is pretty much the definition of spring, where teams can’t help but chase the taste of fresh air after being locked up for winter.
Snipers Baseball, out of metro Phoenix, has the luxury of breaking loose earlier than most programs, thanks to the mild Southwest weather. But director and coach Tom Horn has appreciated another moment of good fortune over the years, and that’s when the Triple Crown Spring Championships come to town.
Four Snipers teams will be playing in the last of two sessions for this year’s event, set for March 17-20. One of those, a 14u team, is fired up enough for the challenge to play in the earlier session as well, over March 10-13.
“What we like is you get all these other teams from other states, instead of having to play the same teams all the time from here in Arizona. It’s more variety and more of a challenge,” said Horn, who started Snipers Baseball about seven years ago. “The event, with teams coming in from Alaska, Canada, all over – it’s just fantastic. California teams aren’t that big a deal, because we travel there all the time. Oregon, Washington, seeing these other kids from other places, that’s cool stuff. Those teams see us and say, how great (the weather is) and that you get to play here all the time.”
The Snipers are in a good place in other respects these days. Based in the Ahwatukee area of the city, Horn has teams also playing in Scottsdale and Chandler; his brand is growing in popularity, and the club is looking at a growth spurt in the near future. They’ll continue a partnership with RedLine Athletics, where each team will get weekly training visits to drill on speed, conditioning and agility
“The Snipers name actually started as a softball team in California with my daughters. That name has been around since 1991 — a buddy of mine convinced me to start a club (baseball) team up at 8u here,” Horn said. “All of our coaches played college baseball or semi-pro. We have become more known in tournaments, through Triple Crown and our travels; more and more kids have wanted to try out, so it looks like we’re going to expand. We’re thinking 7-8 teams and maybe as many as 10.”
Regardless of the ages (which will range from 9u through 15u), Horn expects his players to focus on the fundamentals, on and off the field.
“We talk about it from Day 1; letting them know what’s going to be expected of them, from middle school through high school all the way to the college level,” Horn added “We really emphasize keeping the grades up; it’s very important to me. You can’t go flying through when you’re on scholarship like the old days; your GPA has to be up, because that’s what schools are looking at. If you’re not eligible to play for your school, you’re not going to be playing for me, either.”
For more information on Snipers Baseball, please email SnipersBaseball@cox.net