FOR THE PAST three years, Cullen Horowicz has been the power hitter for Jefferson High School’s baseball team.
Horowicz, who is off to the U.S.Military Academy at West Point, where he will continue his education, as well as his baseball career, helped lead the Cougars reach this year’s Class AAA state semifinals. Regardless of where his name appears in the batting order, Horowicz has been a force to be reckoned with. Through 31 games, he’s batted .438 with 42 RBIs, 40 runs scored, and holds the school record for most home runs in a single season (16). Horowicz also had a team-high 12 doubles.
These are just a few of the reasons Horowicz has been named Gatorade West Virginia Player of the Year. It’s the sixth time a Cougar baseball player has achieved this prestigious honor.
“Cullen has a strong work ethic and is always striving for improvement, both offensively and defensively, “ Jefferson coach John Lowery said. “He has tremendous power that reflects the hard work he has put in to become an offensive force.”
Along with this state honor goes the chance for Horowicz to achieve another milestone. He’s now in the running for the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year, which will be announced in July.
It comes as little surprise to anyone that Horowicz’ reputation of being able to put the ball in play with such force, no matter where his name appeared in the Jefferson batting lineup, several opponents chose to take his powerful bat out of the mix by intentionally walking him. He led the Cougars in walks this year (29).
In Jefferson’s 6-1 win over Martinsburg for the Class AAA, Region II championship, he was intentionally walked twice but three batters later, he was the second runner to cross home plate when teammate Zac Rose launched a towering grand slam shot over the right field fence at P.O. Faulkner Field in Martinsburg.
Horowicz is ranked the Mountain State’s No. 2 draft prospect, rated by both Perfect Game and Prep Baseball Report. Although there was no high school season last year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Horowicz won the prestigious National Power Showcase at Globe Live Field in Arlington, Texas.
This isn’t the only major honor Horowicz has picked up this spring season. Not surprisingly, Horowicz, along with Rose and Riley Valdasz, were made first-team picks on the West Virginia Sports Writers’ Association’s Class AAA baseball team. Horowicz and Rose made the first team as infielders. Valdasz made the first team as a pitcher. Musselman’s Blake Hartman (outfield) was the only other local player to make the first team.
Connor Bailey was an honorable mention pick for Jefferson. Washington’s Logan Link and Cameron Moore made the honorable mention list.
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SHEPHERD ATHLETIC NOTES…Nicole Purtell, a junior third baseman for the Rams’ softball team, made the CoSIDA Academic All-District’s first team. She was one of 11 players across NCAA Division II, District 2 named to the first team.
Purtell batted .433 for Shepherd this past season, with 55 hits, 13 doubles and four triples. She also led the team in on-base percentage (.529). In the classroom, Purtell had a 3.90 GPA.