Wayne County 11-12 All-Stars are State Bound

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Pictured kneeling front row, L to R: J.D. Holt, Lawson “Rooster” Stegall, Gage Mathis, Jason Skelton, Gentry “GT” Hart, and Jacan Floyd. Standing back row, L to R: Head Coach Cana Todd-Hart, Kace Bryant, Ledger Skelton, Graeme “G” Polk, Asst. Coach Toney Todd, Barrett Gallian, Wyatt McClain, Cayden Castleman, and Asst. Coach Gene Stegall.

   The Wayne County Dixie Youth 11-12 All-Star baseball team marched undefeated through the district tournament to claim the 2021 District 3 championship! District play began on Tuesday, June 22nd in Mt. Pleasant and continued through Saturday evening, June 26th. Fans got their money’s worth as each night was filled with excitement.

   The tournament began with Wayne County facing off against Perry County. Somewhere between Waynesboro and Mt. Pleasant, the Wayne County team found some lumber and used it to pound the baseball. The Wayne County boys racked up 13 runs and played an excellent defensive game to run-rule Perry County and end this one after 4 innings, 13-3. Kace Bryant was in absolute command on the mound, as Perry County struggled all night just to make contact with his fastball. The highlight of the evening occurred in the 1st inning when Wyatt McClain stepped to the plate and crushed a 3-run homer over the fence in left-center field for his first career home run. Various witnesses stated it was the deepest home run ever witnessed on that field.

   In the second round, Wayne County squared off against Mt. Pleasant in a game that was not for the faint-of-heart. Pitchers Lawson Stegall and Graeme Polk were forced to pitch into an extremely tight strike zone, resulting in several lead changes in the game. Jacan Floyd was brought in to close out the game and despite giving up 2 home runs, he stood strong, battled back, and delivered strike after strike to keep Wayne County in the game. Fans paid for a full seat but only needed the edge in this one. With a tie game in the bottom of the last inning, big Wyatt McClain stepped to the plate and drilled his second home run of the tournament to end the game in walk-off fashion! Wayne County wins a thriller, 15-14.

   Due to a crazy Dixie Youth bracket, Mt. Pleasant advanced directly to the championship game (despite the loss) while Wayne County was forced to play another round. The next opponent was Decatur County, and the boys from across the river built an early 5-run lead. For four innings Wayne County simply couldn’t find their bats. But in the 5th inning, Wyatt McClain delivered lasers from the mound and his teammates began steadily pounding the ball. Wayne County took the lead, but then surrendered the lead back to Decatur County in the top of the 6th inning. In the bottom of the 6th, with a 7-7 tie on the board, Jason Skelton smacked a base hit. He then turned on the speed to steal 2nd base, setting up a prime opportunity for Barrett Gallian at the plate. Gallian ripped a hot one to a DC infielder who simply couldn’t handle it, and that allowed Skelton to turn on the jets! Before Decatur County realized it, Skelton crossed home plate giving Wayne County an 8-7 victory. 

   With the defeat of Decatur County, Wayne County finally advanced to the championship game where they faced Mt. Pleasant again. Kace Bryant once again handled the pitching duties and took full control from the first pitch. In the 3rd inning, Wayne County absolutely tore the lid off and batted completely through the lineup, sending batters to the plate 17 times. Wayne County scored 13 runs in the 3rd to make the score 17-3. Despite the defense getting lazy and committing several errors in the 4th, Bryant settled back in and struck out the final two batters with his nasty curveball. Wayne County run-ruled Mt. Pleasant to take the win 17-5 and finished as the Dixie Youth District 3 undefeated champions.

   Catchers Gentry Hart and Gage Mathis kept everything locked up behind the plate, while J.D. Holt, Ledger Skelton, and Cayden Castleman provided solid play in the outfield.

   Head Coach Cana Todd-Hart commented after the tournament, “This is a great group of young men, and they were determined to win from game one. I am very proud of their fight, character, and heart.”

   Wayne County now advances to the Dixie Youth 11-12 “Ozone” State Tournament, which will begin July 15th in Savannah. Wayne County is currently scheduled to play that evening at 7:00pm. TCB!!—Submitted

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