Horner contributes to Dayton Dragons

Kevin Horner enjoying employment with Dayton Dragons professional baseball team

GREENVILLE – Kevin Horner enjoys his job working for the Dayton Dragons while wearing more than just one hat.

The Greenville resident keeps track of each pitch and each play as the game is going on and can be followed on the Dayton Dragons app. Horner recently filled in as the Dragons’ official scorer for the first time.

“That was fun,” Horner said.

A big baseball fan, Horner has the opportunity to meet the players as he goes about his daily duties.

“We just had Elly De La Cruz who moved up,” said Horner. “He is kind of once in a decade minor league player. He hit a homerun from both sides of the plate in a double header game one and he almost did it in game two which has never been done in baseball.”

De La Cruz was recently promoted to Double-A Chattanooga. The 20-year-old is one of the fastest-rising prospects in the sport, ranked No. 21 overall in Baseball America’s latest rankings.

The 6-foot-5 switch-hitter proved to be one of the best players in the Midwest League after playing 73 games at High-A Dayton. He led the league in homers (20) and slugging percentage (.609). He ranked third in batting average (.302), fourth in hits (85), fourth in stolen bases (28) and fifth in RBI (52).

De La Cruz was the third player in Dayton’s history to register 20 homers and 20 stolen bases in a season, joining Wily Mo Pena (2001) and Jose Sire (2017). De La Cruz reached the 20-20 club in 71 games.

“If you listen to the Reds game, they have an Elly De La Cruz report each game on how he is doing,” Horner said. “His last game he a 500 foot homerun and also stole home in the same game. He’s pretty good size – 6’5” – 200 pounds, plays shortstop and he is supposedly their next super star.”

Horner has talked with De La Cruz but noted, “The language barrier as you can imagine – you try to figure it out.”

Horner is especially fond of Dayton Dragons coach, Jaun Samuel. Samuel, a three-time MLB all-star, joined the Dragons as bench coach for the 2022 season.

Samuel played in the Major League for 16 years with the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City Royals, Reds, Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays. He was primarily a second baseman, but also played center field. He recorded more than 1,500 hits during his big league career.

Samuel set an MLB record for stolen bases by a rookie in 1984. He finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting that year. Additionally, Samuel won the NL Silver Slugger award at second base in 1987.

“The kicker for me is Jaun Samwell is the coach for the Dragons this year,” Horner stated. “In 1983 his teammates were Pete Rose, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez and I would love to hear a couple stories about those guys in the clubhouse – maybe someday.”

“Here’s the problem between him and I,” he added. “He’s not a numbers guy. He could care less how many homeruns he hit, he cares less about numbers.”

“I’m all about the numbers,” Horner concluded with a smile.

Darke County Now Editor Gaylen Blosser

Gaylen Blosser / Publisher

Gaylen Blosser is a sports enthusiast and has covered high school sports for nearly 20 years in Southwest Ohio. Gaylen has been a media sportswriter while most recently serving as Sports Editor for the local newspaper and will now serve as editor of Darke County Now while continuing to cover athletics. Gaylen is an accomplished photographer who has captured thousands of athletes in action over the years and is the recipient of the OHSAA Friends of Athletes Award and OHSAA Respect the Game State Award. Contact Darke County Now Editor Gaylen Blosser at gblosser@darkecountynow.com or 937-459-9547.

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