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September 19, 2012

Horan enjoys storybook summer in the Cape Cod League

By: Marc Mullen

There can’t be too many young men with aspirations of playing professional baseball who would find joy in learning that, after finishing their third year of college, they’d be spending the upcoming summer living at home with mom and dad.

However, most young men don’t have the luxury of living just a 20-minute drive from playing in the most prestigious summer baseball league in America – the Cape Cod League.

With home-cooked meals and the bonus of sleeping under a roof he’s called home for more than 20 years, Virginia Tech redshirt junior Tyler Horan turned in one tremendous summer performance.

“That was a great experience. I’m pretty fortunate to have the best summer league in my backyard, where I got to live at home,” Horan said. “Being able to play in front of hometown fans … everyone kind of considered me a hometown favorite because, if you look at a roster, you’ll see I’m a local guy. So they were rooting for me regardless of where we played.

“And being able to live at home, sleeping in my own bed, coming home to home-cooked meals from my mom, and having them come to all my games, my friends, my grandparents, everybody … I just got to see everybody. It was the first time I’ve gotten to live at home in four years, so that was great.”

Horan’s magical summer saw him finish second in the TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby in Omaha, Neb., in early July; be named a CCL All-Star; be honored with the John Claffey Award, signifying the top New England prospect in the league; tie the CCL’s wood bat record for home runs in a single season; be named all-league; and lead the Wareham Gatemen to the CCL championship.

The league, which has been around since 1963, had seen just one man hit more than 16 home runs in a season before Horan this year (22 by Cory Sullivan in 1983 with an aluminum bat). He joined Tim Teufel (aluminum bat in 1979) and Dave Stanton (wood bat in 1988) as the only men with 16.

The Middleboro, Mass., native sent two more out during the CCL playoffs, and he capped his season in his final at-bat by blasting his 18th home run of the summer and the 33rd of the year – adding in the 15 he hit for Tech in the spring.

“Omaha, that’s what we strive for as a team, and being able to get a sneak peak at it was really cool,” Horan said. “The fans out there, they live for baseball, and there were over 20,000 people there, so that was the biggest crowd I had ever gotten to play in front of. Afterwards, they had an autograph signing, and I couldn’t tell you how many times I signed my name.

“And tying the home run record, that had been around a long time and being able to put myself in that class was cool. And then you have to chalk it up to a storybook ending, getting to live at home, seeing your family all the time, and being able to win the Cape league title and get that ring. You’re always playing to win, so to be able to do that was awesome.”

Not bad for a man who, five summers prior, was a rising junior at Boston College High and didn’t even play summer baseball, as he was concentrating on trying to pursue football after high school.

Many other Hokies had successful summers and have been garnering post-summer accolades from various baseball publications. For a complete list, go to the following site,