Luke Payne

April 10, 2019; Luke Payne gets ready to release a pitch. Payne led the Cougars from the hill in Jefferson's 1300th-win in school history. 

CHARLES TOWN – A win on Wednesday night over Washington wasn’t just part of what has been a fantastic start for the consistent powerhouse Cougars, it was a milestone in school history.  

Luke Payne, a junior and first year student at Jefferson, took over pitching duties in the rivalry matchup. Payne was close to the no-hit mark, giving up just two and a single walk while striking out three.

Dylan McCartney and Jordan Trunnell each picked up an inning on the mound as well. McCartney threw for three strikeouts and no hits, while Trunnell logged two strikeouts and no hits. The win on the hill marks Payne’s second of the year. He has no losses, and is holding batters to a .244 average and has 12 strikeouts in 12.1 total innings. 

Payne was ecstatic to be on the mound for the milestone win.

“I love pitching,” Payne said. “It’s great to have Lowery as a coach. He knows so much about baseball, and he teaches you how to be aggressive when you pitch.”  

Another key takeaway from the Wednesday night win: the Cougars are now 3-0 in sectional play after downing both Washington and Hampshire at Sager Field.  

“It’s significant [to be 3-0], and we’re happy it’s worked out that way. We have an important game at Hampshire coming up. We need to be ready to play when that comes around,” head coach John Lowery said. “We’re still trying to establish consistency on offensive play – I think we pitch and defend well for a high school team. There was a lack of offensive consistency earlier in the week that showed up a little bit, but it’s going to be a competitive region. 

“We’ve won more than half of our games now, and we’re pleased with where we are at this point.”  

On the milestone, Lowery relayed that the legacy he’s built is a tribute to the contributions of a lot of people and players over the years.

“Milestones are simply that – milestones. I guess if you’re around long enough you get milestones,” Lowery said. “The players, parents, and the community have supported this program to help [us] do some of the things they’ve done and enjoy the success [over the years]. We’ve also been fortunate to have the support of Jefferson High School and the Board of Education as well. We’re pleased and feel it’s a program that’s been beneficial to a lot of people – it’s had its ups and downs like everything else, but we’re proud of the milestone.” 

Concerning Payne, Lowery is happy to have a young, successful pitcher in his bullpen and locking down his four-spot. 

“I think a lot of teams would love to have a number four pitcher like Luke Payne at the high school level. He throws strikes, has a good breaking ball, likes to compete, and is very intent on the mound – we’re tickled to death to have him.” 

Cullen “Bear” Horowicz had the big night at the plate for Jefferson, accounting for three runs with a perfect 2-for-2 night at the plate. The Bear had a three-run homer against Jed Sammons in the top of the sixth, marking his fourth of the year. He had two runs of his own as well, and was walked twice. 

Sage Meiling picked up the loss for Washington. He gave up two earned runs and six walks, striking out three in the meantime.  

Jefferson has a break until Friday when they host Frankfort for a doubleheader. Game 1 starts at 4 p.m. Washington picks up on Friday as well with a home game against Potomac Falls. Game time is 4:30 p.m.

Sports Editor

A West Virginia native and 2017 graduate of WVU, Andrew writes about local high school sports from his new home in Charles Town. He also covers Shepherd and his alma mater, while still finding time to rant about the Washington Redskins.

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