Summer Collegiate Team Rankings

Allan Simpson

Newport Moves to No. 1 Spot
Following Demise of Cape Teams

All season long, the defending champion Harwich Mariners dominated the Cape Cod League’s Eastern Division. Meanwhile, a prolific second-half surge propelled the Cotuit Kettleers, the Cape’s 2011 champs, to the league’s best overall record and a runaway title in the Western Division.

But both the Mariners and Kettleers, who have occupied the No. 1 spot in Perfect Game’s weekly ranking of the nation’s top 30 summer-league teams for all but one week this summer, unexpectedly bit the dust in the opening round of the Cape League playoffs. Harwich was bounced in two straight by Orleans, while Cotuit fell in three games to Bourne.

The demise of the two Cape powers opened the door for a new No. 1 team in the current rankings and the New England Collegiate League’s Newport Gulls surged into the top spot. The Gulls, the only other team to rank No. 1 this summer, recaptured the top spot by sweeping impressively to the NECBL title, their fifth in 12 years.

The Gulls (37-11 overall) dominated regular-season play in the NECBL, winning the Eastern Division in easy fashion, and closed out the campaign in style by going 6-1 in beating Sanford, New Bedford and Danbury in the league’s eight-team playoffs.

Newport’s chances of finishing the 2012 season in the top spot are considered strong as only a handful of the nation’s top summer leagues are still engaged in playoffs. Additionally, both No. 2-ranked Amsterdam, winners of the Perfect Game Collegiate League championship, and No. 3-ranked Santa Barbara Foresters, winners of their second straight National Baseball Congress World Series title, have also completed their seasons.

Among those teams still legitimately in the chase for No. 1 are the No. 4-ranked La Crosse Loggers, which opens the Northwoods League playoffs today with the most wins (49) in summer baseball, and the No. 5-ranked Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, second-place finishers to Harwich in the Cape Cod League’s Eastern Division and winners of a first-round playoff series against Chatham.

Had Cotuit (30-14 in the regular season) continued its hot pace in post-season play and won its second Cape League title in three years, it might have been difficult for any other summer club to overtake the Kettleers in the chase for No. 1. But it has been five years since the last Cape team with the best regular-season record went on and captured the league playoffs, and the Kettleers became the latest Cape team to see a potential No. 1 national ranking slip from its grasp by falling short of expectations in the playoffs.

Teams in Perfect Game’s Top 30 are ranked on the following criteria: won-loss record, league dominance, depth and quality of professional-level talent and the overall strength of the league. To receive consideration, teams must have at least a .500 record overall.

The final ranking of the top 30 teams will be unveiled next Monday, once every summer league has completed its 2012 season.

1Newport GullsRINew England Collegiate League37-11
Gulls dominate regular season in NECBL, post 6-1 record in playoffs, win league title for fifth time in 12 years
2Amsterdam MohawksNYPerfect Game Collegiate Baseball League39-13
Mohawks complete magical 2012 season by sweeping Glens Falls in PGCBL championship series
3Santa Barbara ForestersCACalifornia Collegiate League41-15
Foresters continue mastery of NBC World Series by winning 32-team event for second straight year
4La Crosse LoggersWINorthwoods League49-21
Loggers win 49 games (most in summer ball), claim best record in NWL, move on to playoff showdown vs. Wisconsin
5Yarmouth-Dennis Red SoxMACape Cod League27-19
Y-D sweeps Chatham in first round of Cape playoffs, assumes favorite role with demise of Cotuit, Harwich.
6Cotuit KettleersMACape Cod League31-16
Kettleers had best record on Cape (30-14), but bounced in 3 games by Bourne in first round of playoffs
7West Virginia MinersWVProspect League43-18
Miners post best season record in Prospect League, sweep to league title with three straight playoff wins
8Baltimore RedbirdsMDCal Ripken Sr League31-13
Redbirds end 3-year reign of Bethesda Big Train as Cal Ripken champs; win league title with three straight wins
9Fayetteville SwampdogsNCCoastal Plain League39-21
Swampdogs win first two playoff series in CPL, move within one game of league title
10Harwich MarinersMACape Cod League27-18
Nation's No. 1 summer league for most of 2012, defending Cape champion eliminated by Orleans in first round of playoffs
11Wenatchee ApplesoxWAWest Coast League38-18
West Coast's dominant team throughout 2012 stands 1-1 in first round playoff with Bellingham
12Harrisonburg TurksVAValley League34-18
Winchester, Waynesboro dominate Valley League during regular season, but Turks upend both in playoffs
13Licking County SettlersOHGreat Lakes League29-16
Settlers share regular title with Cincinnati, Southern Ohio, but beat out both in league playoffs
14Wisconsin WoodchucksSelNorthwoods League43-27
Woodchucks win NWL's South Division second half title with 26-9 record, even though six-game losing streak finally snapped Sunday
15Edenton SteamersNCCoastal Plain League39-19
Steamers post best record in CPL for second straight season, but bounced by Columbia in semi-finals
16Orleans FirebirdsMACape Cod League24-22
Just 22-22 in regular season, Firebirds dismantle East Division champion Harwich in two straight playoff wins
17Keene Swamp BatsNHNew England Collegiate League31-15
Bats win West title but fail to repeat as NECBL champs, lose two straight in semi-finals to division rival Danbury
18Winchester RoyalsVAValley League36-16
Most explosive hitting team in league history held in check by pitching-rich Harrisonburg in Valley playoffs
19Anchorage Glacier PilotsAKAlaska League27-19
Pilots (26-14 in league play) surge to Alaska League title, overcome slow start vs non-league teams
20Corvallis KnightsORWest Coast League34-22
Perennial WCL power has up and down regular season, but moves to league final with pair of playoff wiuns
21Palm Springs PowerCASouthern California Collegiate League42-7
Power achieves fewer losses than any summer team while sweeping to second straight SCCBL title
22Terre Haute RexINProspect League37-23
Rex take charge of Prospect League in second half of season, but promptly lose sudden-death playoff encounter
23Humboldt CrabsCAFar West League37-9
Long-time northern California power sweeps to second straight Far West regular-season title, playoff crown
24Rockville ExpressSelCal Ripken Sr League30-13
Express surprise winners of Cal Ripken regular season race, but fail to win a game in league playoffs
25Willmar StingersMNNorthwoods League41-28
Stingers clinch first in NWL North in second half, move on to playoff series vs. first-half champ Mankato
26Nashua Silver KnightsNHFutures League40-13
Knights run away with regular-season title, open FCL 4-team playoffs with win
27Brazos Valley BombersTXTexas Collegiate League39-22
Bombers win tight 3-way race with East Texas, Victoria for TCL regular-season title, lose in sudden-death semis to Victoria
28Hays LarksKSJayhawk League34-13
Jayhawk League champs loses NBC World Series opener, bounces back to win five straight, including champ Santa Barbara
29San Luis Obispo BluesCACalifornia Collegiate League36-18
Blues edge No. 3 Santa Barbara for CCL title, but stub toe badly in NBC World Series, winning just one game
30Columbia BlowfishSelCoastal Plain League37-24
Blowfish take down Edenton, CPL's best team, in semi-finals, move on to final vs. Fayetteville

OTHERS RECEIVING CONSIDERATION: Anchorage Bucs / Alaska (25-22); Ballantyne Smokies / Southern (28-16); Bellingham Bells / West Coast (33-23); Bethesda Big Train / Cal Ripken (27-18); Chillicothe Paints / Prospect (35-25); Cincinnati Steam / Great Lakes (26-18); Danbury Westerners / New England Collegiate (27-21); DeLand Suns / Florida Collegiate (26-18); Dodge City A's / Jayhawk (30-18); DuBois County Bombers / Prospect (36-26); Duluth Huskies / Northwoods (38-32); East Texas Pumpjacks / Texas Collegiate (39-22); Forest City Owls / Coastal Plain (37-26); Glens Falls Golden Eagles / Perfect Game (29-22); Leesburg Lightning / Florida Collegiate (28-17); Lima Locos / Great Lakes (25-17); Madison Mallards / Northwoods (39-31); Mankato MoonDogs / Northwoods (42-27); New Bedford Bay Sox / New England Collegiate (27-19); North Jersey Eagles / Atlantic (25-21); North Shore Navigators / Futures (33-21); Regina Red Sox / Western Major (41-12); St. Joseph Mustangs / MINK (36-20); San Diego Force / Western Baseball Association (39-10); Syracuse Jr. Chiefs / New York Collegiate (34-12); Top Speed Baseball / Pacific West (38-21); Victoria Generals / Texas Collegiate (37-22); Wareham Gatemen / Cape Cod (23-23); Waynesboro Generals / Valley (34-15); Winter Park Diamond Dawgs / Florida Collegiate (26-17).