Cowart began his career with a slam

Showcase : : Story
Jim Ecker        
Published: Friday, July 10, 2009

Kaleb Cowart clearly remembers his first at-bat for the varsity baseball team at Cook County High School in Adel, Ga. He was just a freshman, and his first trip to the plate came at the start of the 2007 campaign.

“I was very nervous,” he told Perfect Game.

That may be, but he wasn’t too nervous to swing the bat and belt a home run.

“I remember it was a fastball,” he said. “It went over our scoreboard.”

Cowart has been swinging his bat – and swinging it well – for a long time. He’s considered one of the top hitters in the graduating Class of 2010 and has committed to play college baseball at Florida State.

“I like to hit,” he said. “I really enjoy hitting. I like to hit more than I do pitching.”

That’s saying a lot, because Cowart has been throwing 90 mph fastballs since he was 14 and has reached 97 on the radar gun. He’s also got an 88 mph slider, making him an elite pitcher, too. But If he had to choose, he’d stick at third base and swing the bat.

Cowart has been quoted elsewhere as saying he’ll enroll at Florida State if he’s not selected in the first round of the 2010 draft, but told Perfect Game he’s not sure about what's going to happen. “I want to go to school,” he said, “and we’ll see what happens.”

He’s serious about school, by the way. Cowart has a GPA of 94 percent at Cook County High School, which puts him in the top-10 of his class. “My mom stays on me about that,” he said.

Cowart has been part of an impressive pitching staff at Cook County. He went 8-0 during the regular season this year with a 0.60 ERA, while D.J. Johnson went 9-1 with a 0.64 ERA. Both were juniors this season.

“He’s more of a finesse pitcher,” said Cowart, “I throw harder.”

Cowart’s hitting stats were impressive, too, this year. He hit .542 with 11 homers, 36 RBIs and 20 stolen bases during the regular season and has been one of the most decorated high school players in Georgia. He plays summer ball for the East Cobb Astros and has been selected for the Aflac High School All-American Classic in San Diego on Aug. 16.

Cowart, a veteran of Perfect Game events, views the Aflac game as a great honor. “I was very excited” about being selected, he said.

Cowart will have played in more than 20 Perfect Game events before this summer is over. “The exposure there is phenomenal,” he said. “It’s made me even better.”
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