Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 23 McMinn County


Colton Provey
Tennessee Scouting Director

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The 2021 high school baseball season is quickly approaching and as usual, excitement abounds throughout the state. That excitement may be at an all-time high entering this high school season as the 2020 high school baseball season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Players and coaches have been working in preparation for the upcoming season during an offseason unlike any other and as always, there are some very talented players and teams across Tennessee.

Teams across the state have goals and aspirations to finish their seasons in Murfreesboro at the TSSAA Spring Fling state championships, but there is plenty of work to be done before that becomes reality. We hope to familiarize our readers with many of the teams across the state as we preview individual teams. 

We start diving into the Preseason Power 25 Rankings, highlighting some of the deepest clubs across the state. Although we could have done 40+ clubs with so many talented teams getting tuned up for the 2021 season, we can only rank 25 and this list will continue to change as the season plays out on the field.  There will be teams not on the list that will be battling for a state championship come late May, so take it for what it's worth, as no championships have ever been won on paper.  

 *Please note that all information is based on team preview questionnaires that were sent out and returned by the participating high school coaches.

 

High School: McMinn County High School

Coach: Matt Ray

Classification: TSSAA AAA-District 5

Team Strengths: One of the deeper pitching staffs in the state plus experienced veterans with deep group of seniors. 

Team Weaknesses: The Cherokees went undefeated in 2020 (2-0), but a group that hasn't put together a 20 plus win season in quite some time.  

 

 Top Returning Players:

2021 RHP Andrew Ronne (ETSU Commit)

2021 LHP Hayden Frank (Lipscomb Commit)

2022 RHP Ollie Akens (MTSU Commit)

2021 RHP Will Grimmett (Morehead St. Commit)

 

2021 Prospects:

2021 RHP Andrew Ronne (ETSU Commit)

2021 LHP Hayden Frank (Lipscomb Commit)

2021 RHP Will Grimmett (Morehead St. Commit)

2021 SS Gavin Briley-Peterson (Roane St. CC Commit)

2021 SS Andrew Beavers

2021 C Will Harris

 

2022/Underclass Prospects:

2022 RHP Ollie Akens (MTSU Commit)

2024 LHP/1B Ty Barnett 

   

Outlook: 

A group that historically hasn't been a consistent contender in the past, BUT something is in the water down in Athens, TN as the Cherokees will be a very deep pitching staff with a plethora of options and different looks coming at you.  McMinn County will feature four D1 commits, including Top 10 ranked '22 RHP Ollie Akens, who flashes a mid 80s FB this fall with a legit three pitch mix. Akens has a lively FB and all off his secondary stuff dances, which allows him to rack up strikeouts in bunches.  Our staff hasn't seen the triumvirate of seniors arms (RHP Andrew Ronne, LHP Hayden Frank, and RHP Will Grimmett) in quite some time, but we're expecting to be refreshing their numbers this Spring as they look to make one last run at it.  Aside from the pitching, MINFs Gavin Briley-Peterson (Roane St. CC commit) and Andrew Beavers look to anchor the middle of the defense with another senior in Will Harris behind the dish. Toss freshman LHP/1B Ty Barnett into the mix as well, who is a strong defender and can dig up errant throws while showing good pitchability from left side. Given the weapons, McMinn County could be on the verge of turning in a historic season and break into the Spring Fling in late May, as they'll certainly have the pitching depth to do so.  

 

Best of luck this season!

 

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