Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 9 North Oconee

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.

North Oconee
Preseason Rank:
2020 Record:
Region: 8-4A
GHSA Classification: 4A
Head Coach: Jay Lasley
Returning Starters: 6
Returning Pitchers: 5

Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Will Pearson GA North Oconee 2020 RHP Georgia
Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Bubba Chandler GA North Oconee 2021 RHP/SS Clemson
David Wiley GA North Oconee 2021 OF/INF Wofford
Joe Waddell GA North Oconee 2021 LHP  
Tanner Evilsizor GA North Oconee 2021 OF  
Ben Stuart GA North Oconee 2022 RHP Army
Gavin Black GA North Oconee 2022 C/RHP  
Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Andrew Arnold GA North Oconee 2022 LHP
Justin Byrd GA North Oconee 2022 INF/RHP  
Connor Harris GA North Oconee 2022 RHP  
Cale Stricklin GA North Oconee 2023 C  
Jack Fabris GA North Oconee 2023 INF/OF  
Grayson Godbee GA North Oconee 2023 INF/RHP  

North Oconee enters 2021 with a chip on their shoulders. The Titans were out to a 9-2 start and looked to be a contender for the state championship. Then the season was called. Coach Lasley has noticed that his returning players have entered this season with an increased focus. A hunger to show what they weren't allowed to last year. It will not be easy playing in one of the most competitive regions in the state with Flowery Branch, Jefferson and Madison County. But this team is highly motivated and ready to get after it in 2021.

North Oconee will boast one of the most talented pitching staffs in the entire state. They will have at least three arms who can pitch into the 90s and have a number of others who can touch the high 80s. Scoring runs on them will no easy task this spring. The staff will be led by one of the premier prospects in the state Clemson commit QB1/RHP/SS Bubba Chandler (2021). Chandler got in the weight room in the offseason, adding 30 pounds to his now 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame. As a result, his velocity can get into the mid 90s.

While being one of the primary catchers, C/RHP Gavin Black (2022) will also get on the mound. Black has one of the most electric arms in his class, pumping his fastball into the low 90s. He has an arsenal of swing and miss stuff with high spin rates on his fastball and breaking ball. His curveball is a true put away pitch with sharp 12/6 action. 

Gavin Black

Then you have Army commit RHP Ben Stuart (2022) who has had a meteoric rise the past 9 months. Stuart went from sitting in the low 80s in the early summer to now touching velocities in the low 90s. He has good feel for his secondary too, which includes a solid 12/6 breaking ball. 

Ben Stuart

The staff will also include LHP Joe Waddell (2021), LHP Andrew Arnold (2022), INF/RHP Justin Byrd (2022), and RHP Connor Harris (2022). Waddell is a veteran arm who has varsity experience. He can sit the mid-80s and run it into the upper 80s. Arnold bolsters the staff after transferring in from East Coweta. Byrd and Harris are both arms who can touch the mid-80s and will see time out of the pen.

Connor Harris

Focusing on the offense, the lineup is going to be littered with impact bats. The switch-hitting Chandler is a do it all player who will be a must watch at the plate. He has power from both sides and can fly around the bases. He will be protected in the lineup by Wofford commit OF/INF Davild Wiley (2021). Wiley has a powerful swing that can produce near triple digit exit velocities. Look for him to bang the ball around the park.
David Wiley

OF Tanner Evilsizor (2021) was on pace to have a big year in 2020, colleting more extra base hits than singles in the shortened season. He returns and will look to pick up where he left off. Black will also factor into the batting order as a left-handed hitter. Black has a big left-handed swing with easy juice to the pull-side.

Some new bats will will get opportunities in the lineup as well. Mentioned earlier as a pitcher, Byrd is a two-way player. He is an advanced athlete that will see time on the infield. The Titans have a trio of sophomores who will make them an even more formidable team. C/INF Cale Stricklin (2023) is one of the top prospects in his class behind the dish. He is an advanced defender, who should be a middle of the order bat for the Titans this spring. 

Cale Stricklin

INF/OF Jack Fabris (2023) and INF/RHP Grayson Godbee (2023) will also get opportunities. Fabris is an old school grinder, switch-hitter, who is not afraid to get dirty. Godbee will add some strength to the lineup and compete for some playing time.

Grayson Godbee

There is little to critique with Coach Lasley's Titans. Team speed is on the lower end. However, with the amount of power that they will have in the lineup, this can easily be compensated for. Due to the lost 2020 season, the team might lack some experience, but that is the case with everyone across the state. All in all, this is going to be one of the most feared teams in the state this season, and the early favorite to end the season as 4A state champions.

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

Find more information on the 2021 Titans below:

Full Schedule
Team Website
Team Twitter

Preseason Power 25 Countdown