Red Wolves Will Wait Out Draft For Ayers

One of the best signs your baseball program is improving is you have to be concerned about your signees being drafted. And that is before they ever even get on campus.

Last year it was Adam Grantham of Kennett, Mo.; this year it is Vilonia's Bryan Ayers. Grantham was selected in the 32nd round by the Atlanta Braves.

A solid 6-foot-4, 200-pound right-handed is a power hitter and a hard-throwing presence on the mound.

"I have from about 12 that have had me fill out questionnaires but that is all I have heard,'' said Ayers, a two-time Class 5A All-State performer.

I just have to see what the contract says, see what team it is, look at my options and go from there.

"But I am looking for to college. I am ready."

Vilonia was a driving force behind the Eagles reaching the semifinals of state tournament, where they lost 8-2 to Pulaski Academy. He had a walk-off 2-run home run in a 4-3 quarterfinal victory over Magnolia.

"It was pretty exciting," he said. "When I hit it knew it was gone but I was so excited I just took off running.

"High school season went well. We bonded well and we made it pretty far.

"This was my best year out of all four years. I really don't think I could have done anything better."

A right fielder and 3-hole hitter, he batted .469 with 8 home runs and 27 RBIs and had a .618 on-base percentage. On the mound he was 3-2 with four saves and a 1.35 ERA with 68 strike outs.

Again it was the Xtra Innings Classic that paved the way for his recruitment by ASU.

"I started hearing from them in September," Ayers said. "i know they watched me throw at Xtra Innings. After that they came up and talked to me.

"There were a few other schools involved but I really wanted to go to ASU. I heard a lot about their atmosphere and it was a really good school. I liked the coaches there and I really like the wildlife program there."

An avid outdoorsman, Ayers said he had seven offers, including UALR and Central Arkansas.

He opened eyes this season with a fastball that ranged from 89 to 92 miles per hour. He said last season her throw 87 to 90.

At ASU he knows he is wanted on the mound, but ... "I wanna stay with the pitching and hopefully I can DH some," he said.

As a sophomore he batted hit .391 with 6 RBIs and also struck out 10 in 6 2/3 innings. His junior season he batted .396 with 20 RBIs and 2 homers. On the mound he had 67 strikeouts in 38 2/3 innings and a 1.45 earned run average.

"Bryan has a great presence on the mound and has a strong arm," Dickinson said. "He has a very good fastball and breaking ball and is very athletic for his size. He has tremendous deception with the three-fourths arm slot he throws from. We are excited for Bryan to contribute early in his career at ASU."