Some people have to jog their memory to recall their favorite sports moment.
Benton third baseman Cameron Horton is not one of them.
Growing up in a baseball family with a father who coached the Louisiana Thunder select team. Horton gained lots of experience against quality opponents in major tournaments. Not surprisingly, at age 11, he found himself in a situation similar to that in the classic poem, “Casey at the Bat.”
And while Horton didn’t have the pressure of reputation that Casey did, Casey didn’t have his father as the team coach and coaching third base when he had to step up to the plate.
“We were down two,with two outs,” Horton said. “Dad called timeout and started advancing toward me. I said, ‘Hey I got this.’ ”
Horton cranked out a triple, scoring everyone on base, and the team went on to win the game.
The experience of growing up in a baseball family has served Horton well at Benton.
Heading into this past weekend, he was batting .364 with six home runs and 28 RBI. He added another home run and three more RBI in a key 6-5 District 1-4A victory over Minden.
A junior, Horton has taken on more responsibility and leadership this season than last. Then, he was a contributor but now he’s one of the team’s unquestioned leaders.
“He’s one of the leaders of the team, on and off the field,” said coach J.D.Stephens. “He’s very coachable. He has a passion for baseball and wants to be as good as he can be.”
Horton typically bats third and usually plays third base. When the team’s other leading hitter, Jordan Shaffer, is pitching, Horton takes his spot at shortstop.
“I think my strength is my ability to hit the ball,” Horton said. “My leadership role on the team has increased since last year. A lot of people look up to me.”
Stephens said Horton has shown a lot of growth and development since last season.
“He’s done a great job of growing mentally,” Stephens said. “He applies the wisdom he has gained.”
Horton attributes a lot of his baseball success to his father.
“My dad has taught me most everything I know about baseball,” Horton said.
And while he enjoys spending time with his family, parents Timm and Kara Stephens, as he has grown older and more involved in baseball his team has become a greater part of his life.
“I like to hang out with friends and family,” Horton said. “The team mostly now is my family, they are like family now.”
He sees baseball as a key component in his life, but tries to keep it in perspective and avoid the pressure of being someone like Casey with sometimes unrealistic expectations.
“Mostly, I want to have fun, relax and enjoy the game,” Horton said.
“He’s a great kid and a great teammate,” Stephens said. “He’s taken on a more vocal leadership role this season. You see him at practice, at the field, talking to others. He has stepped up into a greater leadership role for us.”