Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 16 Wayne County


Phil Kerber
Georgia Scouting Director

The Georgia High School Association has announced that opening day of the 2021 season will commence on Feb. 15. Programs were allowed to begin practicing in an official capacity on Jan. 18, meaning it's time for the PBR Georgia staff to break down the high school baseball scene in the state in the countdown to the first pitch thrown in 2021.Over the next several weeks, leading up to opening day, we will be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2021 spring season, touching on programs spanning multiple state classifications, counting down the official PBR Georgia Preseason Power 25 Rankings.

Team: Wayne County
Preseason Rank:
16
2020 Record:
7-7
Region: 1-5A
GHSA Classification: 5A
Head Coach: Justin McDonald
Returning Starters: 8
Returning Pitchers: 8

KEY PLAYERS LOST
Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Jasper Stanfield GA Wayne County 2020 RHP ABAC 
TOP PLAYERS
Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Zach Thomas GA Wayne County 2021 3B/RHP LSU-Eunice 
Ray Townsend GA Wayne County 2021 1B/RHP  
Luke Boykin GA Wayne County 2022 OF/SS  
Tyler Denison GA Wayne County 2021 1B/RHP  
Jacob Brewer GA Wayne County 2021 C  
Brad Ierardi GA Wayne County 2022 LHP  
Blake Brockington GA Wayne County 2021 SS  
Aden Hall GA Wayne County 2023 SS/2B  
Jack Perkins GA Wayne County 2021 OF  
TOP NEWCOMERS
Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Asher Cathey GA Wayne County 2022 RHP
Codey Eicher GA Wayne County 2021 RHP  
James Odum GA Wayne County 2022 UTL  
Austin Burgess GA Wayne County 2021 RHP  
Dawson Lastinger GA Wayne County 2021 RHP  
Carter Spradley GA Wayne County 2022 RHP  
Miles Starling GA Wayne County 2022 1B  
Cole Priester GA Wayne County 2022 C  
Hunter Yeomans GA Wayne County 2022 3B  

X-FACTOR
The senior class. The Yellow Jackets will have nine seniors on roster, many of them whom have seen significant experience in the field and on the mound at the varsity level. This is a tight knit group that knows how to play together. As a result, Coach McDonald expects them to hit the ground running. With so much veteran leadership, this will allow also some of the younger talent to mix in and be eased into things, without too much burden on their shoulders.

Two of those veteran seniors to keep a close watch on are LSU-Eunice commit 3B/RHP Zach Thomas (2021) and 1B/RHP Ray Townsend (2021). Thomas is a big, strong 6-foot-3, 205-pounds. He uses his impressive physicality to be a powerful force at the plate and on the mound. A right-handed hitter, Thomas will be a major run producer at the top of the order. He will also headline the pitching staff, where he can sit in the upper-80s with his fastball. Townsend is a similar type player. He has a strong presence both offensively and on the bump. These two will form a powerful punch in the batting order and rotation this season.

Zach Thomas

OUTLOOK
Wayne County enters 2021 with a well rounded roster that is more than capable of making a deep run into the playoffs. As we mentioned in the X-Factor, the strong group of seniors will make Wayne County one of the most experienced teams in the state. They will be tested early with a tough schedule that includes Jeff Davis, Lee County, Parkview, Pierce County and Glynn Academy. There is little doubt that this will benefit them come playoffs,.

Thomas and Townsend will be at the top of the pitching staff, but they will not be alone as Wayne County looks to have quite a bit of depth on the mound. 1B/RHP Tyler Denison (2021) is yet another big bodied arm that will have a big arm. Denison stands 6-foot-3, 230-pounds and can live in the mid-80s with his fastball. Southpaw Brad Ierardi (2022) returns as well and will have an increased role on the mound. Ierardi is a high pitch-ability arm that can pound the zone with three pitches.

 A guy to keep an eye on offensively is OF/SS Luke Boykin (2022). Boykin was a fixture in the lineup in the 2020 season and now looks ready to be a catalyst for the team. A right-handed hitter, he is a tremendous athlete, capable of playing center or short. Boykin can set the tone at the top of the lineup with his tough mentality and gap-to-gap swing. Also watch for SS/2B Aden Hall (2023) to take a step forward after seeing time on varsity as a freshman. 

Luke Boykin

Coach McDonald is confident his group of newcomers and underclassmen will be able to contribute immediately. RHP Asher Cathey (2022) will have a role in the pitching staff. Cathey can locate three pitches for strikes and competes on the mound.

Wayne County has all the ingredients to make a deep run at Class 5A. They have the right mix of veteran leaders and talented underclassmen, depth at nearly every position, and will test themselves with a tough schedule. It will all come down to whether or not they can peak at the right time. If so, look out 5A.

Make sure to follow @PBRGeorgia on Twitter for the most-up-to-date coverage throughout the 2021 season.

Find more information on the 2021 Yellow Jackets below:

Full Schedule
Team Website
Team Twitter

Preseason Power 25 Countdown