WACO, TX — "He was one of our top guys on the mound that took us all the way to the State Championship," Cory Beckham, the head baseball coach of West High School, said.
"He's been a part of winning programs everywhere he's been. At West, winning two state high school championships, coming here and helping lead us to the junior college world series in '17, and then this is the next step for him," Mitch Thompson, McLennan baseball head coach, said.
Bailey Horn is now a pitcher for the Auburn Tigers, and as of Monday, is headed to Omaha.
"We're proud of him, but it doesn't surprise me to see his success. It didn't surprise me at all going into junior college. He kinda started at the back of that pitching rotation and then worked himself into McLennan's best pitcher, and did it pretty quickly," Beckham added.
During his time as a Highlander, he struck out 77 batters in 77 innings pitched, and so far at Auburn, he's tallied 28 strikeouts in 34.1 innings pitched.
"I think that our players aspire to be those guys, and now that Bailey's doing what he's doing, obviously, we've got kids growing up here going man, I wanna play for Auburn. I wanna play in the College World Series," Beckham said.
"We're constantly selling to potential recruits the opportunity to use this as a spring board to get the next place whether it be professional baseball or high level division one baseball," Thompson added.
That's how Waco became the place where Horn and Dylan Neuse's road to Omaha crossed paths. Neuse is a former MCC teammate of Horn and now, as a Red Raider, has also punched his ticket to the College World Series.
"You notice that this guy has elite speed and elite baseball kind of instincts," Thompson added. "He's just a natural. And when you see some of the plays he's been able to make this year at Tech, it's been phenomenal."
So, whether you're SEC or Big 12, whether you're Auburn or Texas Tech, you can be a Central Texas fan, and cheer on two young men who started their careers right here in our backyard.
"I know this, that all the people from around West, if they're not there, they're gonna be watching them on TV," Beckham added.
"I think all of MCC should celebrate both these guys and really be watching them and rooting for them to have a great experience this week," Thompson said.
The head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, another CWS bound team, is Dave Van Horn, and he played at MCC, too, and his assistant coach/recruiting director is McLennan head coach Mitch Thompson's little brother, Nate Thompson.