[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Santa Clarita CA
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 26
1876 - California oil industry born as CSO No. 4 in Pico Canyon becomes state's first commercially productive oil well [story]

| Thursday, Apr 12, 2018
Mustangs Baseball Alum Menez and Van Horn TMU alums Conner Menez, left, and Brandon Van Horn spent time together with the San Jose Giants early this season before Menez was promoted to Triple-A. Photo by Mason Nesbitt

By: Mason Nesbitt, Sports Information Director

The storyline was gift-wrapped like a two-hopper to short. The headline wrote itself: The Master’s University baseball alums Conner Menez and Brandon Van Horn make the most of time on same Minor League Baseball team.

Yeah, that lasted all of six games.

The San Francisco Giants promoted Menez to Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday with the lefty scheduled to pitch in the capital on Thursday.

Menez left his High-A San Jose Giant teammates, including a reportedly ecstatic Van Horn, in Lancaster shortly after receiving the news and flew from LAX to Sacramento. But not before Van Horn and Menez visited with a guest Monday about the benefit of playing together, adjusting to life on the road and whether Master’s prepared them for the pros.

“That has to be a God thing,” Menez said of opening 2018 on the same roster as Van Horn, who he played with at TMU in 2016, when the Mustangs made the first of two straight NAIA World Series appearances.

The Giants drafted Menez in the 14th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft later that summer and snagged Van Horn, a slick-fielding shortstop, five rounds later.

After spending a season-plus with different teams, the duo’s paths crossed this spring in San Jose, where both were set to start the year in High-A ball.

Menez says his teammates asked about TMU.

“I’m like, ‘It’s a small NAIA school,'” Menez said. “And they’re like, ‘What? You and Brandon are from there?’ It’s a cool way, honestly, to open up to players and share (about Christ) that way.”

Said Van Horn, “You can’t really describe it other than it’s a blessing and it’s really fun. We’re both really familiar with each other. We’ve been doing this for a while. We have better communication than most pitchers and infielders would have.

“Hopefully, we can do it all the way up to the big leagues.”

Menez took a giant, and maybe earlier-than-unexpected, step in that direction Wednesday when he left for Sacramento, where he joined the River Cats for their series finale against the Reno Aces on Thursday.

He will start opposite Reno’s Kris Medlen, who has already seen measured big league success.

“Very surprised,” Menez said of his reaction via text message. “Especially this early in the season.”

Menez made his first start of 2018 on Saturday in San Bernardino. With a handful of former TMU teammates in attendance, he shut out the Inland Empire 66ers for five innings, striking out seven and walking none.

He allowed three hits.

Monday, wearing flip-flops and compression leggings, he climbed atop the bench in the visitor’s dugout at The Hanger before a game against the Lancaster JetHawks, a morning of weights and long toss behind him.

“Definitely coming back for my second year in San Jose I have a little more confidence,” said Menez, who went 7-7 with a 4.41 ERA in 22 starts at High-A last season, “and I feel like my pitches are a little sharper now.”

Menez said he has focused on “tunneling” his pitches, making sure his fastball, change-up and slider start on the same plane out of his hand before going their separate ways .

For Van Horn, the night had just begun. He would later bang a single through the left side – one night after hitting his first home run of the season – and make an over-the-shoulder running catch in shallow left field.

Van Horn’s glove has never come into question. Baseball America recently named him the Giants’ top defensive infielder in the minor leagues. However, his batting is still a work in progress.

Over the offseason, he overhauled his swing with an eye toward producing more power.

“I feel like I was able to work with some guys who are a part of the game changing into launch angles and getting the ball into the air and being a little bit looser,” Van Horn said. “… This offseason I was able to understand my body better, understand the strike zone better. That was one of the things I struggled with was swinging at pitches out of the strike zone.”

Van Horn, a career .251 hitter in the minors, was six for his first 26 as of Tuesday. But Menez said he’s seen a difference.

“His bat speed has gotten way quicker since Master’s,” Menez said. “He has some pop now.”

Adjusting to life off the field has been a bigger challenge, Van Horn said.

“With sleep, food, the schedule and travel,” he said, “you can’t really get prepared for that unless you actually do it.”

What had Van Horn eaten by 5 p.m. Monday?

“We went to a place called Crazy Otto’s, which is the most mom-and-pop diner with some greasy eggs and some buttered bacon,” he said. “… Then I had a PB and J, and I’ll probably have PB and J and applesauce before the game. ”

Menez said he does his best to eat well on the road, even if that means taking an occasional Uber from the team’s hotel.

Back in San Jose, the task is easier, as the players live with host families. Menez stays with a “sweet old lady.”

“She’s super nice to us,” Menez said. “She buys us food.”

As for whether Master’s prepared him for the pros, Menez pointed to the work ethic instilled by coach Monte Brooks. He said he learned a lot about pitching at TMU, too.

Menez arrived at Master’s throwing in the low 80s. Over the next three years, he trained in the weight room and on the field, developing command and depth on his change-up and slider and velocity on his fastball.

As a junior, Menez hit 90 to 92 mph on the radar gun and finished 11-3 with a 2.47 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 102 innings.

Van Horn also benefited from his time at Master’s. He said he gained confidence in who he was.

“I can have that unashamed faith,” Van Horn said. “Before, you’re kind of iffy in your different crowds and all that and maybe the clubhouse. But I’m very free to be who I am and share my faith.”

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.


You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment

Tuesday, Sep 25, 2018
NORTHRIDGE - The University of San Diego edged No. 13 CSUN 1-0 in men's soccer action Sunday night at Matador Field.
Monday, Sep 24, 2018
The Master's University women's volleyball team continued its best start to a season since 2012 on Saturday night in El Cajon, sweeping San Diego Christian.
Monday, Sep 24, 2018
The TMU Mustangs women's volleyball team went on the road to face Life Pacific College on Friday in San Dimas and won 3-1 by scores of 20-25, 25-18, 27-25 and 25-17.
Sunday, Sep 23, 2018
Friday, Sep 21, 2018
The Master's University men's basketball team, which finished 29-3 last season, has released its 2018-19 schedule.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1876 - California oil industry born as CSO No. 4 in Pico Canyon becomes state's first commercially productive oil well [story]
An estimated 4,000 students and their parents attended the 2018 College & Career Fair at Golden Valley High School.
Annual Hart District College Fair Sees Record Crowd
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors gave the green light Tuesday to a sprawling housing development set to ruin 1,000 acres of critically important habitat for imperiled animals in a wildfire-prone area of Santa Clarita Valley.
Conservation Group’s Appeal of Northlake Project Denied
The city of Santa Clarita has updated the list of productions shooting in the city and the Santa Clarita Valley for the week of Sept. 24 - Sept. 30.
‘S.W.A.T.,’ ‘Unbelievable,’ ‘Santa Clarita Diet’ Now Filming in SCV
On Wednesday, a number of prominent world leaders, global CEOs, activists and celebrities will join forces to launch new global initiatives for gender equality at the 2018 United Nations HeForShe Impact Summit in New York City.
CalArts President, Animation Take Part in Global Initiative for Gender Equality
Vincente Amigo, the “technically stunning and emotionally free-flowing” (The Seattle Times) Flamenco guitarist will give a rare Southern California performance on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya).
Oct. 17: Grammy-Award Winner Vicente Amigo at The Soraya
NORTHRIDGE - The University of San Diego edged No. 13 CSUN 1-0 in men's soccer action Sunday night at Matador Field.
Missed Opportunities Cost Matadors Game Against San Diego
A special meeting of the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency's Engineering & Operations Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 5:30 p.m. in the Training Room, at Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant, located at 27234 Bouquet Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, 91350. .
Oct. 3: SCV Water’s Engineering & Operations Committee Meeting
David Ayer, Rod Bogart, Theo Gluck, Leslie Iwerks, Colette Mullenhoff and Jeff Taylor have accepted invitations to join the Science and Technology Council of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, bringing the Council’s 2018–2019 membership roster to 25.
New Members Added to Academy’s Science & Technology Council
California State University, Northridge has received the 2018 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.
CSUN Nationally Recognized for Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion
Over 500 teachers, administrators and supporters gathered at the Universal Hilton Friday to honor the Los Angeles County of Education’s Teachers of the Year, including Hart High School Biology teacher Erica Hardbarger.
County Honors Hart District Educator as Teacher of the Year
In an effort to help local employees grow their careers, College of the Canyons is offering eight new short-term career skills classes during the fall 2018 semester.
COC Offering Short-Term Career Skills Classes During Fall 2018 Semester
The city of Santa Clarita will host a ribbon cutting event on Friday, Sept. 28, at 10:00 a.m., to celebrate the new addition of a 16 foot wide trail undercrossing to the San Francisquito Creek Trail, on the west side of the Newhall Ranch Road Bridge.
Sept. 28: Ribbon Cutting to Celebrate San Francisquito Trail Addition
Deputies at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station want to remind residents of the “9 PM Routine” and to be sure to try and follow a routine every night to secure your property, residence, and vehicles.
SCV Sheriff’s Deputies Remind Community of ‘9 PM Routine’
Beware the Dark Realm haunted house is a high intensity walk-through attraction filled with terrifying live monsters, amazing special effects, and incredible sets, based off a medieval castle, making this Santa Clarita amateur & family run for over 45 years, one of the premiere home haunts in California.
Oct. 13: Award-Winning Haunted House ‘Beware the Dark Realm’ Opens
1970 - Lagasse family helps save Mentryville buildings as Newhall and Malibu brush fires erupt & join into worst fire in SoCal history. Twelve fires over 10 days burn 525,000 acres, kill 13 people and destroy approx. 1,500 structures. [story]
Three individuals and one writing team have been selected as winners of the 2018 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition.
Academy Reveals 2018’s Winning Nicholl Screenwriters
The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation will present an art show, a pow-wow, a series of country music concerts and a pet adoption fair at William S. Hart Regional Park in September and October.
Art Shows, Powwow, Country Concerts, Pet Fair Coming to Hart Park
East meets West in legendary playwright Stan Lai’s new original work, "Nightwalk in the Chinese Garden," co-produced by CalArts' Center for New Performance and The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino.
CalArts Center for New Performance Stages New Stan Lai Play at Huntington
The College of the Canyons theatre department will open its season with a production of 'Our House,' running Oct. 5-14 at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center's Black Box Theatre.
Oct. 5-14: COC Theatre to Present ‘Our House’ at Black Box
The Master's University women's volleyball team continued its best start to a season since 2012 on Saturday night in El Cajon, sweeping San Diego Christian.
Mustangs Volleyball Team Wins Another Conference Sweep
The TMU Mustangs women's volleyball team went on the road to face Life Pacific College on Friday in San Dimas and won 3-1 by scores of 20-25, 25-18, 27-25 and 25-17.
TMU Women’s Volleyball Wins on the Road at Life Pacific
The Charlie Fire near Castaic remains at 3,380 acres burned but is 30 percent contained, according to an update from the fire's Incident Commander just before 7 a.m. Monday.
Firefighters Hold Charlie Fire to 3,380 Acres; 30 Percent Contained
The Saugus High School music program's new salsa band will stage its first fundraiser at Dario's restaurant in Canyon Country on Tuesday, Sept. 25 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Sept. 25: Fundraiser for Saugus Salsa Band at Dario’s
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced the official launch of the LASD “Surviving an Active Shooter” brochure which is being made available to the 70 school districts composed of 1.7 million students in the county.
Sheriff Unveils Active Shooter Brochure for County Schools
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Monday published its list of upcoming submission deadlines for 91st Academy Awards consideration.
Oct. 1, Nov. 15: Submission Deadlines for 2018 Oscars
Top California policymakers testified Monday in strong opposition to the Trump Administration’s proposed rule rolling back existing cleaner cars standards.
California Officials Blast Feds’ Proposed Cleaner Car Standards Rollback
Separate hearings in Los Angeles Superior Court and before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will address a lawsuit and an appeal against the Newhall Ranch and NorthLake mixed-use developments, respectively, in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Sept. 25: County Hearings on Newhall Ranch, NorthLake Developments
The renowned Chinese Warriors of Peking troupe will bring its astounding martial arts and acrobatics performances to the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons on Saturday, Oct. 6 starting at 4 p.m.
Oct. 6: Chinese Warriors of Peking Bring Martial Arts, Acrobatics to PAC
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station has released its public safety and crime information report for Newhall (Zone 6) for the week of Sept. 10-16.
Crime Blotter: Grand Theft, Domestic Violence in Newhall
On the heels of the Global Climate Action Summit, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. Monday called for accelerated climate action at all levels and sectors of society in remarks at the opening of Climate Week NYC.
Brown Opens Climate Week NYC with Heads of State, UN Officials
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station has released its public safety and crime information report for Valencia (Zone 5) for the week of Sept. 10-16.
Crime Blotter: GTA, Assault with Deadly Weapon in Valencia
While still a sellers’ market, the inventory of homes and condos listed for sale in the Santa Clarita Valley increased for the third consecutive month in August, rising to its highest level since September 2014.
SCV Home, Condo Resale Prices Near Record Highs in August
California gets mixed reviews from the personal-finance website WalletHub in its report on 2018’s "Best and Worst States for Teachers."
California Gets Mixed Reviews in WalletHub Teachers Study
1855 - Sanford & Cyrus Lyon establish Lyon's Station (for stagecoaches) near today's Sierra Hwy & Newhall Ave [story]