Waterloo second baseman part of Canada’s core for Pan Am Games

May 11, 2015

Waterloo, ON


ORIGINAL STORY by Josh Brown, Waterloo Region Record

Waterloo second baseman part of Canada’s core for Pan Am Games

Waterloo Region Record

WATERLOO — Brandon Horn is all heart.

It's one of the main reasons the Waterloo second baseman was identified as one of the seven core players for Canada's national softball team ahead of the Pan Am Games in Toronto.

"He'll do anything to make a play," said head coach John Stuart, who isn't naming the rest of his 15-member roster until mid-June.

"He is a true professional and he'll do whatever it takes to learn the game better to improve his hitting and fielding."

Stuart likens the 29-year-old plumber to Dustin Pedroia, the scrappy second baseman for the Boston Red Sox and one-time American League most valuable player.

Like the major-leaguer, Horn too relies on his speed and bats high in the order to set the table for Canada's heavy hitters in the power slots.

"He's a heart and soul guy," said Stuart. "He just goes out there and performs every night."

Men's softball is returning to the Games for the first time since being dropped in 2003. Until then, Canada dominated the diamond by winning every gold medal — seven straight — over a 24-year span.

The Canucks join the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Dominican Republic and Venezuela with preliminary games beginning July 12 and medals matches slated for July 18.

"We're going in with a goal to win the tournament," said Horn, who attended Waterloo Collegiate Institute. "We feel like we have a very good shot at it."

Softball is a labour of love for Horn, who juggles a full-time job at Waterloo's Kastl and Zuch Plumbing and Heating with a crazy summer schedule that sees him bouncing between ballparks across North America with the national program and his Kitchener Hallman Twins tournament club.

"Your friends are going away to the cottage or camping and you kind of miss out on that," he said. "At the same time, I'm happy to be playing and going away to play ball."

Horn's ascent started with T-ball and three-pitch before softball won him over.

"I was just happy to play softball," he said.

He joined the national side four years back and struck gold soon after at the 2012 Pan-American men's softball championships in Columbia. He was with the club when it grabbed bronze at last year's Pan Am qualifier as well.

Horn credits talented teammates for pushing him along the way in helping him reach the national squad.

"To get to this level you have to play with and against good players and I think that's why I'm here," he said. "It brought my game up." , Twitter: @BrownRecord