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Journey continues for Horne
Under-23 Australia pitcher returns after Swiss summer
11/05/2017 11:16 PM ET
Chris "The Swiss" Horne is back after a season in Switzerland.
Chris "The Swiss" Horne is back after a season in Switzerland. (Graphic - Amy Kershaw)

They say slow and steady wins the race and after 15 appearances across two seasons for the Adelaide Bite, proudly presented by SA Power Networks, Chris Horne has been consistently improving with each outing.

The 21-year-old pitched for Australia at the Under-23 World Cup in 2016 and has recently returned from a successful stint with the Therwil Flyers in Switzerland, a move which was sparked by a Bite teammate.

"It was through Alex Carter. During the season we were talking about what I was going to do in the off season and he mentioned Europe to me," Horne explained.

"Just a couple of weeks later in the finals, it was pretty late actually, he let me know there was a team in Switzerland that needed a pitcher for a couple of months and I just took the plunge."

Taking the plunge paid off as he starred for the Flyers with bat, ball and glove. Over 12 games he hit .407 while he pitched 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA from five starts and one relief appearance.

Horne spent most of his time coming in from the bullpen for the Bite but once he had the chance to shine for Therwil and string together innings he struck out 57 hitters in 40 innings.

"Going to Switzerland and being able to throw consistent innings, that's a big thing for my development," Horne explained.

"I mean I come over here and just do what the team needs me to do and I enjoy that but just being able to throw a lot helps with my development.

"I've been able to throw some innings in Switzerland to improve my confidence and if the team needs me to do that then I can."

He also took part in his first complete game shutout, but not as a pitcher. Instead he was catching and that is surely a record very few pitchers can lay claim to with European baseball providing more flexibility in the line-up.

"Compared to the ABL it's [the NLA] a lot more social," he said.

"We played doubleheaders every weekend pretty much. It was a really good vibe with the team and I had a lot of fun over there."

"Over here baseball is very serious, and just pitching, and to go over there and have a bit more fun when I played it, even to catch a game was awesome.

"I've caught more no-hitters than I've thrown at the moment."

Bite Manager Chris Adamson knows Horne can bring in a determined approach to the team with his experience based on grassroots baseball and a high work ethic.

"He's a local Under-23 talent bringing national team experience while looking to really cement a spot as a regular reliever," Adamson explained.

"Now he has really benefited as a player outside of the college system and grown through local club ball and continues to do so at Goodwood."

Horne has also benefited from the return of the ABL and while newer fans may not know it only returned in 2010, the goal of being able to play for a local professional team has provided many young players an opportunity to strive for the best.

"The biggest thing is the ABL gives the younger guys something to work to if they don't go play College ball or sign professionally," Horne said.

"I never had the opportunity to play in college so being able to play at a really competitive level over here really gives you something to work to once you get past that Under-18 level."

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.