Summer Collegiate Team Rankings

Allan Simpson

Harwich Incurs First Stumble of Season, But Still Remains Nation’s No. 1 Team

With scouts beginning to populate the Cape Cod League in increasing numbers as the 2012 season approaches the midway point, they have been left with the unmistakable conclusion that the Harwich Mariners are the most-talented team on the Cape, if not the entire nation.

The Mariners began the summer as the No. 1 team in Perfect Game’s ranking of the nation’s Top 30 summer-league clubs, and continue to maintain their lofty ranking with a 15-6 record—best in the league. But with three losses in their next four games since the last ranking, the Mariners perch atop the rankings is a little more tenuous than in past weeks.

In fact, had they not beaten the Orleans Firebirds, the nation’s No. 2 team a week ago, in a showdown of the Cape’s top two teams on Sunday night, Harwich may not have retained its top ranking. The 7-4 setback knocked Orleans from No. 2 to No. 7.

Several non-Cape Cod teams have positioned themselves to bump Harwich from the No. 1 spot a week from now should it falter again—chief among them No. 2 Mankato (31-8) of the Northwoods League, and a pair of hard-charging teams from the New England Collegiate League, Keene (19-5) and Newport (18-5). No. 4 Keene had a recent 10-game winning streak snapped, while No. 6 Newport is in the midst of a stretch that has seen it win nine of 10 games.

Interestingly, two of the hottest teams in summer baseball represent one of the nation’s non-traditional baseball-playing states—New Hampshire.

In addition to the NECBL’s Keene Swamp Bats, the Nashua Silver Knights of the Futures League has run off 12 wins in a row to move to 20-5 on the season. Previously unranked, the Silver Knights moved into the Top 30 at No. 18.

Success is nothing new to either New Hampshire club as Keene won the NECBL championship in 2011, while Nashua captured the Futures League’s inaugural title. With combined records of 39-10, both teams are on pace to produce even better overall marks than a year ago. Keene went 28-14 in 2011, while Nashua went 27-16.

Harwich is also on a superior pace from the team that won a Cape League title a year ago, and it may be a tall order for either Keene or Nashua, or anyone, to topple a talented Mariners team if it continues to win a fast clip and repeats as Cape League champions.

1Harwich MarinersMACape Cod League15-6
Powerful trio of Samford OF Phil Ervin (.324-8-16), Notre Dame 3B/OF Eric Jagielo (.319-7-15) and Stanford OF Austin Wilson (.314-5-16), all rising juniors, continue to lead Mariners to best record on the Cape
2Mankato MoonDogsMNNorthwoods League31-8
Unheralded arms like Parkland (Ill.) JC LHP Zack Hall (4-0, 2.31), Louisiana-Lafayette RHP Derek Howell (3-0, 2.04, 3 SV), Louisville LHP Kyle McGrath (4-1, 3.74) instrumental in success of surging MoonDogs
3Keene Swamp BatsNHNew England Collegiate League19-5
Swamp Bats getting productive seasons from St. John's C Frankie Schwindel (.396--6-19), Central Connecticut State IF J.P. Sportman (.383-5-32), Iowa Western CC LHP Kyle Gehrs (0.00, 4 SV, 11 IP/16 SO)
4Amsterdam MohawksNYPerfect Game Collegiate Baseball League23-5
Kentucky RHP Chandler Shepherd (5-0, 0.26) leads PGCBL in wins, ERA; Siena LHP Matt Gage (4-1, 2.31, 35 IP/46 SO) in strikeouts; New Jersey Tech OF Ed Charlton (.354-6-18) in homers, Wake Forest OF Evan Stephens (.451-2-9) in hitting
5Newport GullsRINew England Collegiate League18-5
Gulls remain hot on Keene's heels with nine wins in 10 games, getting productive summers from Rutgers C Jeff Melillo (.407-3-14), Washington State OF Yale Rosen (.358-9-28), Arkansas State RHP Daniel Wright (4-0, 3.00)
6Santa Barbara ForestersCACalifornia Collegiate League22-9
Texas C Jacob Felts (.365-3-11) has been Foresters top hitter, but team's strength is dominant pitching staff led by Southern California RHP Ian McCarthy (4-1, 1.26), Washington RHP Nick Palewicz (4-1, 1.12, 24 IP, 1 BB/31 SO)
7Orleans FirebirdsMACape Cod League14-7
Firebirds continue to lead Cape with 2.97 team ERA behind Elon LHP Dylan Clark (3-0, 0.47), San Diego RHP/ex-first-rounder Dylan Covey (2-0, 0.73); Vanderbilt 1B Conrad Gregor (.307-5-15) is team's primary power source
8La Crosse LoggersWINorthwoods League27-12
Big California factor on Loggers roster led by Long Beach State OF Richard Prigatano (.336-2-19) and LHP Jake Stassi (1-0, 1.88), San Diego SS Austin Bailey (.353-0-7), UC Santa Barbara 1B Tyler Kuresa (.296-1-11)
9Falmouth CommodoresMACape Cod League12-9
Commodores sitting atop Cape's Western Division on strength of bats of Michigan OF Michael O'Neill (.291-4-13), Kansas State OF Jared King (.370-3-7), pitching of Bryant RHP Craig Schlitter (3-1, 1.42)
10Wenatchee ApplesoxWAWest Coast League21-8
Gonzaga LHP Derek Callahan (3-1, 0.80, 34 IP/39 SO) leads WCL in ERA, strikeouts, Gonzaga IF Mitchell Gonsolus (.378-1-23) leads in hitting, Washington RHP Tyler Kane (1-0, 1.65, 8 SV) leads in saves
11East Texas PumpjacksTXTexas Collegiate League23-7
12Winchester RoyalsVAValley League23-9
13Edenton SteamersNCCoastal Plain League23-10
14West Virginia MinersWVProspect League24-12
15Yarmouth-Dennis Red SoxMACape Cod League11-10
16Lima LocosOHGreat Lakes League17-7
17Baltimore RedbirdsMDCal Ripken Sr League18-8
18Nashua Silver KnightsNHFutures League20-5
19San Luis Obispo BluesCACalifornia Collegiate League21-11
20Fayetteville SwampdogsNCCoastal Plain League22-12
21Chatham AnglersMACape Cod League11-10
22Winter Park Diamond DawgsFLFlorida Collegiate League15-8
23Green Bay BullfrogsWINorthwoods League23-15
24Humboldt CrabsCAFar West League21-5
25Bellingham BellsSelWest Coast League20-10
26St. Joseph MustangsMOMINK League22-10
27Liberal BeejaysKSJayhawk League20-9
28Waynesboro GeneralsVAValley League19-9
29Cotuit KettleersMACape Cod League11-10
30Butler Blue SoxSelProspect League23-13

OTHERS RECEIVING CONSIDERATION: Anchorage Glacier Pilots / Alaska (12-12); Bethesda Big Train / Cal Ripken (15-11); Cincinnati Steam / Great Lakes (15-8); Columbia BlowFish / Coastal Plain (21-13); Corvallis Knights / West Coast (18-13); Dodge City A's / Jayhawk (19-9); DuBois County Bombers / Prospect (22-12); Duluth Huskies / Northwoods (22-17); Forest City Owls / Coastal Plain (22-13); Harrisonburg Turks / Valley (19-11); Hornell Dodgers / New York Collegiate (19-9); Kelowna Falcons / West Coast (17-10); Kenai Peninsula Oilers / Alaska (16-11); Leesburg Lightning / Florida Collegiate (15-8); New Bedford Bay Sox / New England Collegiate (16-10); New York Atlantics / Atlantic Collegiate (17-7); Okotoks Dawgs / Western Major (19-7); Palm Springs Power / Southern California Collegiate (26-6); Quincy Gems / Prospect (21-14); Regina Red Sox / Western Major (22-6); Riverhead Tomcats / Atlantic Collegiate (16-8); Rockville Express / Cal Ripken (15-8); San Diego Force / Western Baseball Association (20-7); Southern Ohio Copperheads / Great Lakes (14-7); Syracuse Jr. Chiefs / New York Collegiate (17-5); Terre Haute Rex / Prospect (21-14); Victoria Generals / Texas Collegiate (20-10); Willmar Stingers / Northwoods (22-17).