Young baseball fans in Kenai and Soldotna got a rare opportunity this weekend to receive game advice and coaching from a pro player.
Cy Sneed, an affiliate pitching prospect with the Houston Astros, spent time Saturday at the Kenai Boys & Girls Club coaching Little League players from the central peninsula.
The 24-year-old pitcher, who grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho, said he was giving his time to help kids that may one day blossom into pro ball players, but perhaps may not get the chance to shine in a state and area not particularly known for producing greats.
“I grew up in Idaho, which isn’t prime baseball country,” Sneed said. “I just want to give guys that want to play ball the opportunity that they deserve.”
Plus, with a first name like Cy, any pitching advice is welcome.
Sneed’s connection to Alaska stems from his marriage to Hannah Sneed, a 2011 Kenai Central graduate. The two met while attending Dallas Baptist University, and were wed in 2014. Sneed said she moved back to Alaska with her husband for the offseason, which is when he plans to graduate from Dallas Baptist with a degree in business management. The couple currently lives in Dallas during the season.
When springtime rolls around again, it will be off to the races, but for now, the Sneeds are happy to give back to her community.
“We’re here to be involved locally, so he can bring his skill and expertise,” Hannah said.
Saturday was the second appearance Sneed made in Kenai. A week earlier, the 2011 Idaho State Baseball Player of the Year showed up to help teach the basics, and while the demonstrations were simply just easy practices to teach the fundamentals of the game to local kids, Sneed said all it takes is a little early influence to get going.
It reminded him of himself at the same ages.
“Everyone thinks you need to be from a big town to play professional ball,” he said. “If you’re good, they’ll find you if you’re doing the right thing.”
A right-handed pitching prospect with the Milwaukee Brewers, who drafted him in 2014 from Dallas Baptist, Sneed eventually was dealt in a trade last fall to the Astros in exchange for infielder Jonathan Villar, who now plays in Milwaukee.
In 2015, while playing for two teams in A-ball leagues, Sneed fashioned a 2.58 ERA.
Sneed now plays for the double-A Corpus Christi Hooks in the Texas League, which is where he most recently ended his season in September. An avid hunter and fisherman, Sneed said he has taken to the Last Frontier with a passion, which is where he hopes to provide help to more young athletes.
“I think it’s the little things it’s kind of nice to see,” Sneed said. “You give a guy a little bit, and he takes off.”