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The resume that eighth grader Apollos Horrell presented upon his family’s arrival in Wilson last summer stirred the excitement of Wilson Christian Academy head baseball coach Ty Bissett for the 2020 season.
And with last weekend’s performance by Horrell in the fourth annual National POWER SHOWCASE Home Run Derby and All-American Classic in Phoenix, Arizona, at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Bissett’s excitement reached another level.
Horrell, the son of Rev. John and Sheida Horrell, was selected as a catcher on the 14-year-old All-American team and as a participant in the fourth annual Power Showcase Home Run Derby.
The event includes a Major League Baseball Scout Day, which showcases the most prolific amateur players from around the country before 30 MLB organizations.
According to a prepared release, each invitee exemplifies tremendous character, abilities, power coach/scout references and recent school performances.
On Scout Day, Horrell was the first to hit a home run out of Chase Field, launching a blast over the 368-feet mark in left field. During the home run derby for the age 14 group, clearing a distance of 310 feet down the lines and 325 to center field constituted a home run.
Every swing that is not a home run is counted as an out. Each participant is allowed 15 outs. Among 20 entrants, the two with the most homers advanced to the finals.
Horrell batted last. When his turn arrived, the leader had belted 13 home runs and 11 was second best. Horrell proudly represented North Carolina after competing for Florida in 2018. Horrell slammed his 11th homer off the very top of the left-field foul pole or a distance the announcer estimated at 402 feet.
With four outs remaining, Horrell’s next attempt traveled an even greater distance, but foul. After three more outs, the WCA eighth grader settled for a tie for second place.
Horrell informed his father, the pastor of Wilson First Pentecostal Holiness Church: “I thought I could win, but seeing the size and strength of the other kids, it seemed like David vs. Goliath.”
Although putting on a show for the crowd, young Horrell expressed disappointment in his finish. In the All-American game, he connected for a double in two at-bats.
Horrell had just completed a spectacular 2019 season in Florida when his family moved to Wilson. His family includes older brother, Alexander, a junior baseball and basketball player at Wilson Christian.
For the Brevard Heat homeschool team that competed in the Florida High School Athletic Association 2-A ranks last spring, Horrell, as a seventh grader, batted .595 with a .789 on-base percentage and .837 slugging percentage. He rapped 22 hits, scored 44 runs and knocked in 14. In 17 games, Horrell struck out just five times and drew 32 walks. The Heat stood 17-0 until losing in the state playoffs.
On the mound, Horrell, a right-hander, compiled a 5-0 record with one save and a 3.37 earned run average. He issued just 11 walks and struck out 41 in 27 innings.
Then, last summer, Horrell starred for Team Florida (Viera/Suntee) that finished the runner-up in the United States bracket of the Junior League World Series in Taylor, Michigan. Horrell, a pitcher and shortstop, posted a 2-2 pitching mark and belted a pair of homers.
Horrell hopes to play for Wilson Christian next spring. Coach Bissett and the Chargers are counting upon as much.