Summer Collegiate Team Rankings

Allan Simpson

Summer Collegiate Baseball
2013 Final Rankings, Top 50 Teams

Season-Long Excellence Pushes

TCL’s Bombers To No. 1 Ranking

From start to finish in 2013, the Brazos Valley Bombers dominated the Texas Collegiate League.

The Bryan, Texas-based club opened the TCL campaign with eight straight wins and 15 victories in their first 16 contests, and closed it with seven wins in their last eight games, climaxed by a 7-5 win over the Victoria Generals that resulted in their first TCL championship.

Not only did the Bombers put the finishing touch on a record-breaking season with their final triumph, but national implications were also at stake as it put them in position to finish atop Perfect Game’s final ranking of the nation’s top 50 summer league clubs. When the four teams ranked ahead of the Bombers bit the dust in their respective league playoffs, a mythical national title was theirs for the taking.

“The Bombers are truly honored to be ranked No. 1 in the country,” said an ecstatic Uri Geva, the Bombers club president. “This is an amazing accomplishment for our coaching staff and players. We are thrilled to be the first Texas Collegiate League champion to win the national championship from Perfect Game, an incredible achievement.”

Ranked No. 2 in Perfect Game’s initial weekly ranking in mid-June, the Bombers were the only summer-league club to hold down a spot in the top five all season. They never reached No. 1, though, until the final ranking as the Cape Cod League’s Chatham Anglers spent five weeks in the top spot and the Cotuit Kettleers, the eventual Cape champion, occupied that position on two other occasions. In the final in-season ranking, the Northwoods League’s Waterloo Bucks surged into the No. 1 spot.

Both Chatham and Waterloo, however, failed to reach the championship series in their respective league playoffs, as did Falmouth (Cape Cod) and Edenton (Coastal Plain), the two other teams ranked ahead of Brazos Valley in the stretch run. And that opened the door for the Bombers (49-15 on the season) to slip into the top spot.

Cotuit (31-20) finished No. 2 behind the Bombers, while the fast-charging Corvallis Knights (46-17), winners of their last 14 games which propelled them to the West Coast League title, surged into the No. 3 spot.

For all the on-field success the Bombers enjoyed this summer, their magical season almost went up in smoke in the third and deciding game of the TCL championship game as Victoria jumped out to an early 5-1 lead. But stellar relief pitching by the duo of Texas A&M righthanders Jason Freeman and Parker Ray stymied the Generals the rest of the way, while the Bombers exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fifth to pull ahead for good at 7-5.

Freeman fanned 10 in 4 2/3 innings of middle relief, while Ray closed things out, fanning three of the four hitters he faced in his only relief appearance of the season.

Ray, who went 4-0, 1.69 in six regular-season starts, had opened the playoffs for Brazos Valley four days earlier by beating defending TCL champion East Texas 6-0 in a dominating five-hit, 1-walk, 14 strikeout effort.

“When Parker Ray steps on the mound, he takes ownership of the game,” said a Texas-based major-league scout who watched the Bombers on a nightly basis over the latter half of the 2013 season. “When (Bombers coach Curt Dixon) brought him in with two outs in the eighth, you knew it was over.”

While Ray was instrumental in the Bombers playoff success, much of the team’s success over the course of a long summer season was credited to Dixon, an assistant coach at Eastern Oklahoma State College during the school year.

“We have had the best record in the TCL the last two seasons, and the credit for our growing success on the field goes to Curt and his entire coaching staff,” Geva said. “They have worked to ensure we have the best possible talent, while keeping the players motivated to go out there and have fun, staying calm throughout any situation on the field.

“This Bombers team came back from being down 11-2 in the eighth inning and winning a game in extra innings, and won the championship after being down 5-1 in the middle of the fifth. Coach Dixon did a phenomenal job of putting together a great group of players that never quit, molding them into a true team that goes out there and plays their hearts out, every night of the year.”

The major-league scout concurred, and says Dixon was a difference-maker in the Bombers season-long success.

“Even down 5-1, they showed resiliency in clawing back. They'd bend but wouldn't break. After the last-out fly ball to center field and the dog pile—both joy they won and the season finally done—there was some genuine exchanges between players that lasted a long time, which I'll give the manager the credit for creating that environment. The fan support was tremendous, and the place exploded on the last out like they won the World Series. Very, very entertaining.”

A year ago, the Bombers posted the best overall record in the TCL after a torrid second half, but lost in excruciating fashion at Victoria in a one-game divisional series, when they failed to hold a 7-3 lead going into the ninth as the Generals won 8-7 victory in 11 innings.

This year, the Bombers lapped the field in the TCL during the regular season, winning a league record 46 games, but an elusive title was still missing until their stunning Game 3 comeback.

"This win was an exclamation point," Dixon told the local Bryan-College Station Eagle. “There's been a lot of firsts we've been doing, but we haven't won a championship. We've won the first half, won the second half, set the overall record, broke into the top five (PG’s national summer poll).

“I guess this is what you say is the elephant in the room we haven't been able to get, and that is the championship.”

Perfect Game’s national ranking of summer college-league clubs are determined on the following criteria: won-loss record, league dominance, depth and quality of professional-level talent and the overall strength of the league. Emphasis is given to teams that win league championships, but a strong regular-season showing is also weighted heavily. Teams must have at least a .500 record overall to earn consideration.

1Brazos Valley BombersTXTexas Collegiate League49-15
League champion
2Cotuit KettleersMACape Cod League31-20
League champion
3Corvallis KnightsORWest Coast League46-17
League champion
4Waterloo BucksIANorthwoods League51-21
Regular-season champion (North)
5Chatham AnglersMACape Cod League28-19
Regular-season champion (East)
6Edenton SteamersNCCoastal Plain League43-14
Regular-season champion (East)
7Falmouth CommodoresMACape Cod League27-20
Regular-season champion (West)
8Alaska GoldpannersAKAlaska League37-17
League champion
9Amsterdam MohawksNYPerfect Game Collegiate Baseball League45-18
League champion
10Madison MallardsWINorthwoods League45-30
League champion
11Orleans FirebirdsMACape Cod League28-22
12Winter Park Diamond DawgsFLFlorida Collegiate League30-13
League champion
13Keene Swamp BatsNHNew England Collegiate League33-20
League champion
14Peninsula PilotsVACoastal Plain League39-24
League champion
15West Virginia MinersWVProspect League42-22
League champion
16Newport GullsRINew England Collegiate League35-16
Regular-season champion (East)
17Santa Barbara ForestersCACalifornia Collegiate League36-18
Regular-season champion (North)
18Palm Springs PowerCASouthern California Collegiate League46-5
League champion
19Danville DansILProspect League41-21
Regular-season champion (West)
20Hyannis Harbor HawksMACape Cod League26-19
21Lakeshore ChinooksWINorthwoods League45-28
22Licking County SettlersOHGreat Lakes League29-17
League champion
23Harrisonburg TurksVAValley League32-14
Regular-season champion (South)
24L.A. BrewersCACalifornia Collegiate League29-14
League champion
25Bethesda Big TrainMDCal Ripken Sr League32-16
Regular-season champion
26Humboldt CrabsCAFar West League41-14
League champion
27Martha's Vineyard SharksMAFutures League39-18
League champion
28Asheboro CopperheadsNCCoastal Plain League35-20
Regular-season champion (West)
29Clarinda A'sIAMINK League36-17
League champion
30Hays LarksKSJayhawk League33-13
League champion
31La Crosse LoggersWINorthwoods League43-27
32Harwich MarinersMACape Cod League24-21
33Baltimore RedbirdsMDCal Ripken Sr League29-19
League champion
34Columbia BlowfishSelCoastal Plain League35-24
35Mat-Su MinersAKAlaska League24-17
36Top Speed BaseballCAFar West League42-14
37Wellington HeatKSJayhawk League26-16
NBC World Series runner-up
38San Luis Obispo BluesCACalifornia Collegiate League39-21
39Duluth HuskiesMNNorthwoods League45-29
40Leesburg LightningFLFlorida Collegiate League27-15
41Walla Walla SweetsWAWest Coast League36-24
Regular-season champion (North)
42Bourne BravesMACape Cod League24-24
43Waynesboro GeneralsVAValley League28-24
League champion
44North Fork OspreysNYAtlantic Collegiate League26-20
League champion
45Nashua Silver KnightsNHFutures League36-21
46Oneonta OutlawsNYNew York Collegiate League29-16
League champion
47Youse's Maryland OriolesMDCal Ripken Sr League31-21
AAABA World Series champion
48Anchorage BucsAKAlaska League24-17
49Alameda MerchantsCAGolden State College League31-13
League champion
50Wenatchee ApplesoxWAWest Coast League33-27

OTHERS RECEIVING CONSIDERATION (Alphabetical): Acadiana Cane Cutters, Alexandria Aces, Allentown Railers, Atlanta Crackers, Baltimore Chop, Bend Elks, El Dorado Broncos, Fulton Railroaders, Kernersville Bulldogs, Lake Norman Copperheads, Long Beach Legends, Mankato MoonDogs, Medicine Hat Mavericks, Melville Millionaires, Mohawk Valley Diamondogs, Mooresville All-Americans, Nevada Griffons, New Market Rebels, North Jersey Eagles, Ocean State Waves, Quincy Gems, Rowan Patriots, San Diego Force, Southern Ohio Copperheads, Vermont Mountaineers, Victoria Generals, Watertown Rams, Westhampton Aviators, Willmar Stingers, Wilmington Sharks