Cactus Athletic Camps


Archive for the ‘Athlete of the Week’

Aaron Munson

November 19, 2009 By: Billy Horton Category: Athlete of the Week 4 Comments →

Aaron MunsonAaron, a 14 year old from Phoenix, AZ is our Student-Athlete of the Week. He is an 8th grader at Rancho Solano School and he holds a 4.05 GPA. That means he even gets A’s in his honors classes. Crazy Smart! I first met him back in May of 2008 when he came to our batting cage for group hitting lessons. I remember being impressed with his powerful swing and calm demeanor. A year and a half later and he still possesses both.

Aaron currently plays for the AAA Diamondbacks in the Arizona Baseball League. This is the league our organization created last winter and all of the coaches are professional players. That being said it bears a little more weight when your hear all of the coaches rave about his playing ability. He has been dominant on the mound and nearly threw a no hitter 3 weeks ago. He has also shown great gap-to-gap power at home plate and is clearly one of the leagues best hitters. Last night he pitched in relief and slammed the door on the Dodgers to help his team is a come from behind win in the opening round of the AZBL playoffs.

As good as he is on the diamond, Aaron is also a dominant force on the hardwood. He plays center for the Rancho Solano 8th Grade Gold Basketball Team and punishes his foes with his brute strength. Rebounding is the name of his game and Shaqtifies anyone who gets in his way. Yeah I just made that word up. He plays baseball for Rancho Solano as well and will represent his school in the 2009 Meritas Games & Fine Arts Festival, which will take place in Orlando, Florida on December 1st-5th. The games will take place at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex which is pretty awesome!

When Aaron gets older his goal is to become a sports analyst. I can easily see him behind the desk at Sports Center going over the days highlights and interviewing the best athletes in the world. But, as college football analyst Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast my friend!”. In my opinion if Aaron continues to progress HE may be the person being featured in Sports Center highlights, so he may have to put off his analyst career until his pro playing career ends.

No matter what Aaron ends up doing I’m sure it will be done with excellence. He is a great kid who is polite, conscientious and respects his elders. He always has the same look on his face whether he just hit a homerun or struck out which is something I really love about him. He is destined for greatness.

Robby Beck

November 02, 2009 By: Admin Category: Athlete of the Week 6 Comments →

Robby BeckRobby, a 9 year old from Cave Creek, AZ, is our Student Athlete of the Week. He is a 3rd grader at Lone Mountain Elementary School and along with being a straight “A” student he is also part of the math club. Along with being extremely intelligent he is also a phenominal athlete and has a great work ethic. He showed all of this off to us over the summer and was voted the MVP of our Indoor Summer Hitting Camp in June. He wowed the coaching staff by completing a 5 minute front plank during our strength training sessions and earned the nickname ” Little Schwarzenegger” from Coach Bobby Sismondo.

Robby is our favorite kind of athlete- one who excels in mulitple sports. He plays center & right wing on his ice hockey team, the Jr Coyotes Squirt A Travel Team of the Coyotes Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA). On the diamond you will find him at pitcher, catcher and short stop in Cactus Foothills North Little League. He is also a master on the links and plays golf in the Rancho Manana Youth Program.

In addition to these sports Robby also likes roller blading, sailing, surfing, swimming, and like most kids today playing computer and XBox 360 video games. Hey I think after tearing up people on the ice, field and golf course the boy deserves a couple of minutes relaxing by blowing up computer generated tanks and planes with his friends in the comfort of his bedroom. I know I enjoyed it.

When Robby grows up he wants to be a professional hockey player. I think the ‘Yotes could use someone like him down the road and it would be awesome to have some home grown talent on the ice in Glendale. I look forward to seeing him progess over the next few years and don’t be surpirsed to see his name in a NHL box score ten years from now.

Avery White

September 18, 2009 By: Billy Horton Category: Athlete of the Week No Comments →

Avery White

Avery, a 10 year old from Phoenix, AZ is our Student-Athlete of the Week. He is a 5th grader at Esperanza Elementary School and maintains a 4.0 grade point average. I have known him for one year now and he has always been a hard worker and a good listener. He prefers to lead by example and he does his very best to implement everything his coaches teach him.

Avery is a very talented left handed pitcher and we first met him during the inaugural season of the Arizona Winter Baseball League in December 2008. He played for Mike Baker on the AA Reds and was one of their best pitchers. Avery also attended 4 of our baseball camps this year and was named the MVP of our “End of Summer Blowout Camp” that was held at the Reach 11 Sports Complex. He won this award because of his great attitude, tremendous work ethic and his masterful pitching during our daily scrimmages.

Avery has played in multiple baseball leagues including the Palo Verde Recreational League and Village Meadows Little League. In additional to seeing him dominate on the mound you will also find him running down fly balls in the outfield and picking balls out of the dirt over at 1st base. He most recently joined the 10U Dirtbags club team and coach Shawn Emerson told me that he is doing a phenominal job.

This boy loves baseball through and through. He goes by the nickname “Taz” which shocked me because I am pretty sure that I have gone a whole day at baseball camp without hearing him say a word! Like I said earlier he is a quiet leader, but will tear you up once you enter the batter’s box. Avery is looking forward to the opportunity to playing in high school and he aspires to play in college and the pros as well. After seeing him grow in just one year I believe that he can accomplish anything he puts his mind to.

Cameron Ubben

August 28, 2009 By: Billy Horton Category: Athlete of the Week 20 Comments →

Cameron Ubben

Cameron, a 12 year old from Surprise, AZ is our Student-Athlete of the Week. He is a 7th grader at Sonoran Heights Elementary and maintains an “A” average. We first came across this talented player at our summer indoor pitching & catching camp this past July. Our pitching coach Bobby Sismondo raved about Cameron’s talent and in turn he was voted the MVP of our camp that week.

This past season Cameron’s Cal Ripken baseball team went 20-0 and overwhelmed the other teams in the National Division. He played mostly SS & 3rd base in addition to be a dominating force on the mound. He also bombed 2 homeruns over the fence. At season’s end he was selected to be on the 12U Cal Ripken All-Star Team where in addition to playing the left side of the infield, he showed off his wheels while logging some time in CF. He now plays 2B for the 13U AAA Arizona Bombers.

Like any great baseball player Cameron has a lot of nicknames. He has been called everything from Sunshine to Cam to Camo. He really loves the game and plays at a very high level. Along with his passion for baseball he also enjoys football and like most kids, playing video games. His goal is to earn an academic & athletic scholorship to college. In the little I have seen of Camo, I wouldn’t put anything past him. I look forward to seeing him progress into high school and beyond.

Hunter Hughes

August 12, 2009 By: Billy Horton Category: Athlete of the Week 3 Comments →

 hunter hughesHunter, a 9 year old from Page, AZ, is our Student-Athlete of the Week. He is a 5th grader at Lakeview Elementary and is a straight “A” student. Along with being a very bright young man he also is part of the Talented and Gifted Organization (TAG), chess club, and choir.

We first met Hunter at our 2008 Page Fall Baseball Clinics and he left a lasting impression on the coaches with his love & desire for the game. His hustle and thirst for knowledge really showed. He was most recently named the MVP of our 2009 Page Summer Baseball Camp that went on last week. It was at this camp that he showed our coaches how much of a complete player that he is with his physical tools and leadership skills on the field.

Hunter is a two sport athlete and excels on both the soccer and baseball fields. In soccer he plays forward and midfielder and when on the baseball diamond you will find him on the mound or playing middle infield. However, fields are not the only place this young man tears up the competition. He also in an accomplished distance runner and competes in both 5 & 10K runs.

The boy loves baseball. The reason I know this is because at our summer camp last week he shared with me that he recently went to his dad and told him “I think I’m addicted to baseball!” It made me laugh and think back to when I was his age and how much I loved the game. Hunter is hoping that his hard works pays off with a college baseball scholorship and one of his goals is to graduate from the United States Air Force Academy.

Jack Ginsberg

July 10, 2009 By: Billy Horton Category: Athlete of the Week No Comments →

jack ginsbergJack, a 9 year old from Flagstaff, AZ, is our Student-Athlete of the Week. He is a 4th grader at Knoles Elementary and was voted the MVP of our most recent summer baseball camp up in Flagstaff. Jack was one of the most talented players there, but he won the award because of his work ethic. He was always pushing hard during our strength training sessions and while others were going through the motions in order to just finish, he was asking for more reps when we were done.

Jack is a two sport athlete and excels in both soccer and baseball. He plays in the Flagstaff Micro Soccer League and Continental Little League. This past baseball season he was on the AAA Diamondbacks and played mostly 3rd base and pitcher. In our baseball camp he showed a knack for getting on base and creating havoc with his blinding speed. I was also impressed with his gritty, gutty demeanor and he showed good leadership.

Jack loved to ski and go flying. His goals are to become a professional pilot and playing in the Major Leagues. I believe that with his work ethic and tenacity, he will have little problem accomplishing and goals that he sets out to do.

Robert Santorelli

June 20, 2009 By: Billy Horton Category: Athlete of the Week No Comments →

robert santyRobert, a 12 year old from Goodyear, AZ is our Student-Athlete of the Week. We came across this talented player at our Prescott Valley Summer Baseball Camp and the coaches were impressed with his leadership, slick glove at short stop and intelligence on the field. He just completed the 6th grade at Estrella Mountain Elementary and holds a 3.8 GPA.

Robert is a 2 sport stud. In soccer he is a mid fielder and striker for the 14 U AC Milan Team of the World Net Soccer League. He uses his speed to blow by opponents and dominates them with his aggressive style of play. When on the diamond you will find him all across the infield with short stop being his best position. This past season he played for the Indians of Goodyear Little League (Major Division) and also was named to the All-Star Team. He is really looking forward to the upcoming All-Star Tournament and is eyeing a state title and chance to lead his team to Williamsport, PA.

His passions & interests all sports especially baseball. Robert loves reading because it takes him to places he’s never been. He’s not one you will find doing a whole lot inside. He loves being outdoors and four wheeling with his brother Michael & Dad in their jeep. His future goals & aspirations include playing for the New York Yankees, seeing a game in every MLB park in the U.S., bringing organized soccer and football to his school for junior high students and to drive a Lamborghini.

I have only been around this young man for a week, but in that time I can see that he will be a great leader on and off the field. I look forward to working with him next week at our Indoor Pitching & Catching Camp and watching him on the diamond for years to come.

Robert Steckner

May 25, 2009 By: Billy Horton Category: Athlete of the Week No Comments →

Robert, a 12 year old from Phoenix, AZ is our Student-Athlete of the Week. He is a 6th grader at St. Francis Xavier School and has been on the Honor Roll every quarter. He is extremely intelligent in the classroom as well as on the field. We first came across this talented young man when he came to our batting cage for private lessons.

Robert is a phenominal 3 sport athlete and competes in Soccer, Basketball & Baseball. In Soccer he plays Defender for the Madison Futbol Club. Robert represents St. Francis Xavier in his 2 other sports. When on the hardwood he plays both Forward & Guard and on the diamond you can find him at one of the infield corner spots or on the mound. In addition to playing baseball for his school he also is on the Hooks in the Nationals Division of the RAMMS league.

Robert loves baseball and aspires to play the game in college. He is a very determined player and has overcome a lot of adversity in the past 4 months. In that time span he has broken bones in his wrist and hand on two different occasions while playing soccer & basketball. In his first game back from his most recent injury he ripped a double and an opposite field bomb over the right field fence! With grit, passion & a work ethic like his I expect that he will be able to accomplish anything he puts his mind to. I look forward to seeing him grow into a great leader.

Michael Mueller

April 10, 2009 By: Billy Horton Category: Athlete of the Week No Comments →

michael muellerMichael, a 13 year old from Peoria, AZ, is our Student Athlete of the Week. He is a 7th grader at Desert Harbor Elementary School where he holds a stellar 4.0 grade point average. His favorite subjects are math & science. Not only is he a stud in the classroom, but he also plays in the band and for the school softball team.

Michael, also known by his nickname “Mighty”, is a two sport star. He plays guard in in the City of Peoria Basketball League and breaks his opponents ankles with his quickness. Michael has a silky smooth jumper and is not afraid to take you to the hole. As good as he is on the hardwood, baseball is his favorite sport. He is a second baseman & outfielder for the 13U Arizona Force club baseball team. Michael has a good glove and crushes the ball from the left hand side of the plate.

The first time we came across this talented player was at one of our baseball camps. He recently earned the coveted “Mad Albino” MVP Award at our Spring Break Camp in Phoenix. It was close between a few players in the balloting until Michael sealed the deal with an amazing hook slide into third base for a triple in the late innings of one of our scrimmages. The hit put his team up for good in that game and helped them eventually win the series 3 games to 2.

When asked what some of his goals are he listed playing baseball in high school and college. He wants to use all of the math and science skills he possesses to study engineering. Michael also wants to see a game in every Major League stadium. He has already been to Wrigley Field, Old Yankee Stadium, Dodger Stadium, Chase Field, Miller Park, New Comisky Park, the Metrodome and Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

His other interests include watching sports. Michael loves catching a Diamondbacks & Suns game in person or on the tube.  He really loves playing the game of baseball and likes to learn as much as he can about the game. Michael thrives on competition and is a player who likes to get after it in practice. He is a great listener and will do whatever his coaches ask of him. He has that 6th tool that all of us look for in a player- coachablility.

It has been a pleasure to work with Michael personally and I look forward to seeing him grow as a player and young man. He is going to be one of our leaders in the community and people like him make me believe that the future is going to be bright.

Peyton Teed

March 11, 2009 By: Billy Horton Category: Athlete of the Week No Comments →

peyton teedPeyton, a 7 year old from Phoenix, is our Student-Athlete of the week. He is a 2nd grader at Liberty Elementary School and is an A & B student. His favorite subject is Math.

We first met Peyton at our Thanksgiving Baseball Camp last year and he also played for the (A) Giants in the Arizona Winter Baseball League. It was in the AWBL that we noticed his many talents and he was voted to the Western All-Star team.

This guy loves the game. His parents are quoted as saying that he “eats and sleeps for baseball”. Peyton currenly is playing for the Owls in the Minors division of the Dynamite Cal Ripken youth baseball league. On defense you can find him all over the infield and his favorite positions are shortstop and first base.

Peyton is a very passionate player and goes by the nickname “Famous Teed”. He is the youngest of 4 which means he is a pretty tough guy. When asked what his favorite food is he said that he loves to chow down on spaghetti. Peyton has a bright future and I look forward to watching him grow both as a player and young man over the next few years.