Sumner baseball’s tip weapon: Coaching lessons from former Mariners awaiting Chris Snelling

May 21, 2016 - accent chair

A pointy strike comes off a Sumner High School turn player’s bat and a voice booms from a Spartans dugout.

“That’s a approach to strike a pelota!”

Another hit.


Sophomore Quinton Schneider creates a good play.


Then Kyle VanHout.

“Marshall Eriksen!”

This story is not about a male behind all that racket, Chris Snelling. He would be unfortunate if it were.

But wouldn’t that story be extraordinary?

It could start when Snelling was innate in Miami, and grew adult in Australia. Or when he was drafted by a Seattle Mariners, creation a majors as a 20-year-old, yet had a earnest career derailed by a array of injuries.

It could discuss how he married a fifth-grade clergyman in a Sumner School District. Or how shortly after he was detected by Sumner turn manager Casey Adcox, who asked Snelling to turn his partner varsity manager in 2010.

It could even go into his lapse from a two-year veteran turn deficiency to play in a Australian Baseball League in 2012 before personification for a Australian inhabitant group in a 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Or it could news how he was behind during Sumner shortly after that, took a pursuit operative in a propagandize district’s upkeep and operations dialect (mowing grass, progressing fields, regulating roofs and a like), and for a past dual years has been a paid member of a Spartans staff as manager of a youth varsity team.

But Snelling done it transparent that he wants no story about him. On any arise we spoke to him after his JV games, he was excellent articulate about anything solely a intensity story.

Not even Adcox, his players or a group manager could get Snelling to budge. And there’s something to honour about that.

“He’s kind of a hermit,” Adcox said.

“If he finds out a story is all about him, he’s going to get uncanny and substantially (mad) during me,” Adcox after pronounced in a content message.

Adcox pronounced Snelling seemed some-more usurpation if a story was about a module and if he happened to be mentioned as partial of that. But he told Adcox to antic content all a other Sumner partner coaches and tell them he was quitting given of this.

So this story won’t be about Snelling.

It will be about all a upgrades done to a module as Sumner enters a Class 3A state contest for a sixth time given 2010 (which happened to be a initial year behind for Adcox and a initial year coaching for Snelling). Before 2010, Sumner’s prior state coming was in 1985.

Sumner will play Eastside Catholic during 1 p.m. Saturday during Bannerwood Park in Bellevue.


Many things in a Sumner module have altered over a years.

The benefaction mount goes by a lot some-more Rockstar appetite drinks. It apparently has got to a indicate where Snelling has a group managers delivering them to him during games.

“I consider he goes by during slightest 3 in a game,” pronounced Sumner sophomore Nate Baespflug. “And he’s not usually sipping them, he’s chugging.”

The group is wakeful of a mojo as most as a strategy.

If things aren’t going well, Snelling’s been famous to flog over bats, change a sequence of where they are propped adult opposite a wall, or direct that players mount in opposite places in a dugout.

“If we don’t measure after that, he’ll chuck a chair or something during a wall — not out of anger, yet to brew adult a mojo,” comparison Elijah Evers said.

And roughly any actor now has a nickname.

There’s Quinton “Tarantino” Schneider. Connor Filleau is “Sheriff” given his father is a sheriff. Kyle VanHout’s is “Marshall Eriksen” — a impression from a TV uncover “How we Met Your Mother.”

Here’s how VanHout removed his initial assembly with Snelling.

“Hey, who are you? What’s your name,” a manager said.

“Kyle VanHout,” a sophomore responded.

“Nice to accommodate you, Marshall,” a manager said.

“What?” VanHout said.

“You demeanour like Marshall Eriksen … you’ve never watched ‘How we Met Your Mother’?” a manager said.

“No,” says a player.

“Go demeanour it up, it will change your life.”

Also, a coaching staff has a much-improved tennis reputation.

Evers and VanHout competent for a doubles contest during a 3A state tennis championships for Sumner, and Snelling overheard Evers articulate about tennis on a approach home from a JV turn diversion final year.

Snelling challenged Evers to a game.

Snelling grew adult personification tennis in Australia and his father is a former tennis coach. Evers didn’t know this.

“Somebody Googled on their phone and was like, ‘Oh, he used to play tennis … like well,’ ” pronounced Evers, whose nickname is “Harvard” given of a philosophical conversations he and Snelling get into.

So how’d a tennis diversion go?

“Not well,” Evers said. “His offer is significantly harder than how tough he throws, that is like roughly 90 (mph).

“The usually diversion we got off of him was given of his knee (which has been surgically remade mixed times). we was usually perplexing to make him go behind and forth.”

Evers pronounced he even got a personal doctrine from a coach’s father after on.

“I had no suspicion he was a tennis coach, though,” Evers said. “I usually suspicion he was this aged Australian man with a thick accent we could hardly understand. But we schooled how to strike a forehand well.”

The turn team’s players don’t worry so most about looking imagination anymore, given a coach’s example. Snelling is spasmodic seen in a cave sitting on a bucket, his top slanted down, spitting sunflower seeds onto himself.

“It’s one of a funniest things we consider I’ve ever seen,” Baespflug said. “He’s usually sitting in a dugout, disposition behind in his chair before a diversion and spitting seeds onto his chest.”

“We’ll say, ‘Hey, we have something on you,’ ” VanHout said. “He’s like ‘I’m not here to demeanour pretty.’ 

Then there are all a engaging noises raised from a dugout.

“His large thing is ‘Yee-yapp!’ ” Adcox aloud impersonated. “He’ll be coaching third bottom in a center of a diversion and one of his kids would strike a shot and we usually hear this ‘Yee-yapp!’

“Or ‘No, we didn’t!’ Last weekend in a district game, one of a varsity guys hits a turn and he goes ‘That’s how we strike a pelota!’ 

Pelota is Spanish for ball.

“Or he’ll scream ‘Cinnamon!’ to see if a other group will make an error,” pronounced comparison Nathan Harrell. “And when we measure a run he will be bouncing behind and onward like he’s attack off of a walls.”

“Having him in a cave — all is always some-more sparkling and fun,” VanHout said.


How a Sumner group prepares has altered a lot given 2010.

Hitting is coached differently. Players are mostly operative on their bat speed with a one-handed tiny bat, or removing one-on-one instructions from Snelling.

“And when we block one up, he will get unequivocally excited,” pronounced sophomore Ben Wilson. “He will be jumping off his bucket, ‘Oh, there it is!’ 

“He wants to speak to we in private, one-on-one,” Harrell said. “He doesn’t like to speak in front of groups.”

Adcox pronounced Snelling has a present for operative with kids.

“I consider he’s unequivocally enjoying this,” Adcox said. “Especially now that he has some leisure to make his group his team, given he has some clever opinions about how a diversion should be played. He unequivocally does. He treats turn like a religion. You do not disregard a diversion with him.”

“Snelling loves turn some-more than anybody I’ve ever met in my whole life,” Harrell said. “Anybody.”

Auburn Mountainview JV manager Ryan Dunham beheld something opposite about Sumner right away.

“I’m kind of a geek about a Mariners, so we kind of knew when we saw a name who he was,” Dunham said. “I suspicion it was flattering cold to see a man who usually loves a game. You don’t do JV unless we indeed like a game.”

And Sumner is winning some-more pregame manager competitions these days, too.

Dunham pronounced a JV coaches keep a using total of sorts for who hits a improved cocktail fly to a team’s catcher during pregame warm-ups, that Dunham calls Fungo Wars.

Snelling didn’t know this was a thing, so a initial time he coached Sumner opposite AMV in a JV diversion he threw a turn in a atmosphere for his catcher instead of attack it.

“Then we strike cave and we indeed strike it with a Fungo bat,” Dunham said. “It wasn’t good, yet it was improved than usually throwing it in a air. we looked during him, gave him a small demeanour and he looked during me like, ‘I see how it is.’

“The subsequent game, we go by my pregame initial and we totally commotion my catcher pop. Then he goes adult and hits one a mile high, right off a plate and gives me this ‘I won this round,’ look.”

Dunham says they went 1-1 opposite any other again this year.


The margin looks improved nowadays.

Snelling, who works full time in a propagandize district’s upkeep department, is frequently seen mowing weed and laying imprinting lime.

Adcox is a margin geek, himself, so they get along well. The players have schooled a value of a well-prepared field.

“(Snelling) tells us it’s his dream job,” Baespflug said. “He says putting a lines on a margin is his favorite part. After any diversion we have to take caring of a field, and if we don’t do it right we’re running.”

Another change is a application of those on Sumner’s football field, located usually over a right margin blockade of a turn field. Snelling has been witnessed rising baseballs to a home sideline on a football margin with a alloy-barrelled Besr bats.

“I saw him strike one to a benefaction stands (past a football field),” Harrell said. “One hop.”

“There are balls he’s strike like going by a lights, like blank a lights by inches,” Adcox said. “The humorous partial is his day-job people would have been (mad) during him if he would have damaged any bulbs.

“But it was like ‘The Natural.’ We are going ‘Oh, my God!’ 

So because all these changes to a module over a years? How did this sold manager go from a Mariners to mowing weed and coaching youth varsity turn during Sumner?

“I asked him that once,” pronounced group manager Jason Holler. “He pronounced it was for a adore of a game, and he wants to enthuse a destiny era of turn and keep it alive.

“Snelling is not routinely a touching guy. But that was touching. we took it seriously.”

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