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Juco  | Rankings  | 3/23/2022

JUCO Rankings Update: March 23

Brian Sakowski      Colton Olinger     
Photo: Central Arizona Baseball (Central Arizona Twitter)
It always happens this time of the year, where it still feels like baseball is more or less just getting started but then you look down and a whole mess of JUCO teams have played over 30 games. That happened this week as we started to make adjustments to the list, and once teams start playing that many games into conference play, it's far easier to start seeing different clubs separate themselves from the pack. 

Which brings us to the new No. 1, Central Arizona. The Vaqueros had been utterly dominant, and this includes dominance in the pressure cooker that is Arizona JUCO baseball. They have been plenty offensive, with a team OPS of .872, but it's the team ERA of 2.33 with 404 strikeouts in 293 innings pitched that really stands out. CAC has always been known for dominance on the mound, dating back many years now, and this spring is clearly not an exception to that rule. 

Walters State rises up a spot to No. 2 on the strength of a 26-3 record, they've been a lot better on the mound than I think even head coach Dave Shelton thought they might be, and they've gotten a lot of power production from Caleb McNeely and Colby Backus, something they knew they'd need given the amount of power production that graduated from the 2021 team. Wabash Valley has been on fire of late and stands at No. 3 overall, up from No. 7. We might have been light on WVC heading into the spring, as I think we may have undersold the offensive upside that the team possesses, and they're definitely swinging it confidently thus far. It's still going to be a tough region to win given the amount of strength in the league, but WVC is definitely looking Junction-strong. Crowder moved up a spot to No. 4, while former No. 1 Chipola fell down to No. 5 to round out our top-5. 

Eastern Oklahoma State, somewhat quietly, is still undefeated as of March 22 with an overall record of 22-0. This is not a weak schedule that they're dominating either, as 6 of those wins have come against Connors State & Seminole State. What a start for head coach Matt Parker's club, who came into the spring knowing they had a chance to be very deep on the mound and very athletic offensively--both look like they've come to fruition thus far. Florence-Darlington is not undefeated but is riding a hot streak currently as well, they've risen up 4 spots this week to No. 11 overall with the arrow still pointed up. Other big risers this week include Ohlone (up from No. 16 to No. 12), Georgia Highlands (No. 20 to No. 15), and Johnson County, who rose up from No. 24 to No. 18 and looks to have righted the ship after an inconsistent start. 

We have three newcomers to the list as well, with Cowley joining the party at No. 20, Harford at No. 21, and Gaston at No. 24. Cowley was ranked in the top 15 to start the spring but stumbled out of the gate a little bit, they've self-corrected and are 8-1 in their last 9 games. Harford has come out very hot, as they got going a couple weeks behind the southern schools but sit at 17-3 as of now, with quality wins over solid opponents dotting their schedule throughout the first 20 games. Gaston, for the first time in their history, is ranked this week as they check in at No. 24. They've been extremely loud to start the season at 23-1, and deserve credit for doing it against solid competition here as well. 

Records through 3/21
Rk. Pre. Rk Team City ST Overall Rec.
1 2 Central Arizona Coolidge AZ 29-4
2 3 Walters State Morristown TN 26-3
3 7 Wabash Valley Mount Carmel IL 23-3
4 5 Crowder Neosho MO 22-7
5 1 Chipola Marianna FL 25-8- 1
6 6 Iowa Western Council Bluffs IA 13-5
7 11 Eastern Oklahoma State Wilburton OK 22-0
8 4 LSU-Eunice Eunice LA 22-5
9 9 McLennan Waco TX 20-6- 1
10 8 Northwest Florida State Niceville FL 22-8
11 15 Florence-Darlington Florence SC 26-7
12 16 Ohlone Fremont CA 21-2
13 13 Pearl River Poplarville MS 15-5
14 14 San Jacinto Houston TX 21-10
15 20 Georgia Highlands Rome GA 24-2
16 19 Florida SouthWestern Fort Myers FL 22-11
17 10 Dyersburg State Dyersburg TN 21-6
18 24 Johnson County Overland Park KS 18-6
19 22 San Joaquin Delta Stockton CA 17-5
20 NR Cowley Arkansas City KS 16-5
21 NR Harford Bel Air MD 17-3
22 21 Arizona Western Yuma AZ 27-5
23 17 Cloud County Concordia KS 19-7
24 NR Gaston Dallas NC 23-1
25 23 Kirkwood Cedar Rapids IA 16-4