Rebels add rich bloodlines

The Rebels have a deep tradition of adding highly touted brothers to their baseball program.

Justin and Jordan Henry were the most recent addition. Then we can go back to the Huisman (Jason, Josh, and Justin) brothers that played under Coach Donnie Kessinger, and after they left the Lyons (Nathan and Joel) twin brothers entered the program and played for Coach Pat Harrison. And if we want to go back even further, who could forget the Pomeranz (Mike and Pat) brothers who played for Coach Jake Gibbs.

It looks like you can add another pair of brothers, who happen to be twins, to the Ole Miss squad next season as Michael (6' 5", 195) and Matthew (6' 5", 205) Snyder have verbally committed to play for the Rebels and will sign in November.

"The summer before in the wooden bat league, Coach (Rob) Reinstetle came up to my dad and asked about us, and he said he was our father. Ever since then, we had the feeling they loved us, and it was an instinct feeling that I was going to play ball for Ole Miss and be a Rebel," added Mike Snyder.

There were a few more selling points for Mike Snyder, who ranks as one of Baseball America's Top 250 rising seniors in the country.

"We went down there in August for an unofficial visit, and we had an absolute great time. Me and my brother (Matt) love fishing, hunting, and the SEC atmosphere. We love the heat, not 40 degree weather. The fan support they get is crazy. Baseball is the number one sport at Ole Miss. Who wouldn't love to play for a school like Ole Miss? It was a no brainer for us.."

Matt Snyder

Matt Snyder, who is ranked as the #74 prospect in the country by Baseball American chimed in.

"Me and my brother (Mike), when we first started talking to Ole Miss, we felt a connection with their coaches. They were real the whole time. They were not just telling us what we wanted to hear to get us over there. We went over there for a visit a few weeks back and we went out on their field. That was awesome. We just visualized what it would be like to play for Ole Miss with all of those fans in the stands. We got chills. We knew right then and there that we had found our home. We also liked how they help their student/athletes out a lot with tutors and things like that. Of course, our parents loved that," stated a chuckling Matt Snyder.

Matt and Mike have the unique experience of coming from a family where their older brother, Brandon Snyder, was a 1st round draft pick by the Baltimore Orioles in the '05 draft. Their father pitched in the majors for 12 years and their grandfather pitched during World War II.

What kind of influence has that had with the Snyder brothers?

"It is a big influence with me because my brother and dad told us to be our best," added Matt Snyder. My brother, Brandon, tells us to shoot for the top. My granddad started playing in World War II. Having someone you trust to give you all of the information you need to get to the top and to show us how to get there is huge. That is the biggest thing. All three of them (dad, granddad, and older brother) got there, so it is not like someone talking to you that has never made it to the top. We (Mike and I) get a perspective about the game that not many people get, at least not many that are that close to them."

Mike Snyder

Mike Snyder also believes his families influence has made an impact with him.

"We eat, sleep, and breath baseball around here. We love it. My grandfather played in the league during World War II. I could not say how valuable my father and grandfather have been to me and Matt. My father coaches baseball now. He runs lessons ever since he retired in the 90's. We had four or five schools that joined a company called Sand Lot Baseball. Everything we do around here is about baseball," added Mike Snyder.

Matt is a firstbaseman and Mike plays thirdbase for Westfield High. Playing the corner positions is something they hope to do for three to four years at Ole Miss.

"It was always a thought of ours to keep playing together," added Mike Snyder. "It was always a dream of ours to go the same school, play the corners (1B and 3B) for hopefully another 3 to 4 years. I think me and Matt can get Ole Miss over the hump. Coach Rob said if we can hit to our potential, it will get Ole Miss to the World Series. It will be a little while before we are captains for Ole Miss, because we will be new, but when I was sitting with Coach Bianco in his office and staring at the SEC championship that sits behind his desk, I said I wanted more and he just smiled and said me too. Ole Miss is about winning and nothing else."

Mike actually got a chance to see what Ole Miss was all about while watching the Rebels play in the Super Regional against Texas.

"I was watching them on TV, and I looked at every single one of their players, and I knew they had that attitude to win. Coaches Bianco and Rob are great guys to talk to. Coach Rob told us about all of the fans and how crazy it gets up there. I knew about it already because I watched them on TV against Texas. I knew about their atmosphere. It is kind of like a pro game. I get chills just thinking about it. We are just really, really ready to get Ole Miss to the World Series so we can look up in the stands and know we made the Ole Miss family proud."

Mike, who bats from the right side of the plate, has been starting at 3B for Westfield since his freshman season. As a junior, Mike batted .429 with 8 HR's, and 29 RBI's. He was named All-District as a DH.

"At the plate, no matter what the count is, I am very confident I am going to get the big hit. In the infield, I am very confident. I work hard during practice and in the batting cage at home. I never get down on myself. I pick myself up. I basically learn from every game and every practice at what I can do better."

Matt has been starting at 1B since his freshman season and led Westfield in batting average (.431) and RBI's (31) last season. He also chipped in 5 Hr's, 21 doubles, 12 walks, and 7 k's as s junior. He was named 1st Team All-District for his accomplishments.

"Being a left handed hitter, my power to the gaps is my biggest strength. My dad and older brother stressed to hit the ball to the opposite field and hit the gaps. That is my biggest strength as a hitter. But I like to show a lot of leadership too. I give criticism in a positive manner."

Will Matt and Mike follow in their older brother's footsteps by going straight to the pros, or do they see themselves going the college route first?

"Brandon signed with LSU, but it was his dream to play pro ball and get paid," added Mike Snyder. "He decided to take his number one dream and play pro ball. But my thought is that I am not strong or big enough or experienced enough to play pro ball. If someone just game me some crazy money, I would go do it, but I am almost positive I am going to be playing for Ole Miss first. My brother is too."

Matt and Mike play for the Virginia Cardinals in the Fall and the Tidwell Orioles in the summer.

Matt and Mike were also recruited by LSU, Alabama, Clemson (father played at Clemson), Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Marshall, and Vandy before deciding on Ole Miss.

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