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Juco | Rankings | 4/10/2012

Junior College Top 50 Teams

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Perfect Game

The 2012 junior-college regular season is entering the stretch run, and not surprisingly several teams with championship credentials from the recent past are in contention to become the No. 1 team in the country.

California’s Orange Coast College (24-3), the 2009 state champion, retains the top spot in Perfect Game’s ranking of the Top 50 teams for the second straight period, but the Pirates have plenty of competition. Among those teams continuing to put steady pressure on Orange Coast are No. 2 Iowa Western (30-1), the 2010 Junior College World Series champion; No. 3 Walters State of Tennessee (34-5), the 2006 Junior College World Series champ; and No. 4 Howard of Texas (27-7), the 2009 Junior College World Series winner.

All four teams opened the 2012 season ranked in the top 10 by Perfect Game, and have held fast though only Howard and Orange Coast, the twin 2009 champions, have occupied the No. 1 spot to date. Howard opened the campaign at No. 1, but has been derailed much of the season by injuries to its pitching staff.

The quartet of top teams has surged to the top of the national rankings largely on the basis of dominating performances by NCAA Division I transfers.

Orange Coast has surfaced at No. 1 by posting a 2.02 team ERA, mainly on the strength of superior efforts turned in by sophomore righthander Keegan Yuhl (8-0, 1.75), a UC Irvine transfer, and Brandon Brennan (6-1, 1.57), an Oregon transfer. Outfielders Chris Carlson (.441-5-37) and Bijan Rademacher (.318-5-33) have provided plenty of offense as they share the team lead in homers and are 1-2 in RBIs. Carlson is another UC Irvine transfer, while Rademacher began his college career at Cal State Fullerton.

Brennan, whose fastball has been consistently in the 94-95 mph range this spring, is considered the top prospect on the Pirates roster for purposes of the 2012 draft, but several of his teammates could be selected.

Howard may have more draft picks in June than any junior-college team in the country, and has also leaned heavily on its D-I transfers. The Hawks have gotten a particularly big effort from their twin aces: former Texas righthander Clayton Crum (6-1, 1.50) and ex-Nebraska lefthander Logan Ehlers (7-0, 0.94). Both have been clocked in the mid-90s for the Hawks this spring.

Iowa Western and Walters State have also largely been powered to date by their own Division I transfers, both of whom have had breakout seasons with an opportunity to play on an everyday basis.

Tanner Krietemeier, a Nebraska transfer, has been dominant on both sides of the ball for Iowa Western, which is hitting .442 as a team. Not only has the sophomore switch-hitter swung the bat at a stealth .457-5-30 clip for the Reivers and led the team in stolen bases, but he has been even more dominant on the mound in posting a 5-0, 0.67 record with six walks and 43 strikeouts in 27 innings as the team’s No. 1 starter. He played sparingly for the Cornhuskers a year ago, but has emerged this spring as a legitimate two-way prospect for the draft.

Marcus Davis, meanwhile, transferred to Walters State from Louisiana State prior to his freshman year and has played a major role for Senators in his second season. He is hitting .482-9-44 with 20 doubles and 10 stolen bases, and has positioned himself as one of the top position-player prospects for the draft from the junior-college ranks.

Numerous other significant four-year transfers populate the JC ranks nationally, but few teams are getting as much mileage from their contingent as the four clubs currently sitting atop the national rankings.

3-26 - Rankings as of March 26

1 1 Orange Coast CA 24-3
2 3 Iowa Western IA 30-1
3 2 Walters State TN 34-5
4 5 Howard TX 27-7
5 6 Polk State FL 34-9
6 7 Central Arizona AZ 35-9
7 4 Louisburg NC 39-6
8 8 Palm Beach State FL 34-11
9 10 Santa Fe FL 32-9
10 12 Feather River CA 22-4
11 13 Salt Lake UT 27-5
12 15 LSU-Eunice LA 35-3
13 16 Central Alabama AL 32-6
14 11 Middle Georgia GA 29-10
15 22 Cisco TX 30-7
16 17 Jefferson MO 28-7
17 14 Chipola FL 28-15
18 9 Western Nevada NV 29-10
19 19 Bellevue WA 21-4
20 25 Rio Hondo CA 24-3
21 27 Eastern Oklahoma State OK 26-8
22 20 Wabash Valley IL 31-7
23 30 Columbia State TN 29-6
24 28 Santa Ana CA 21-7
25   Darton GA 31-9
26   Florence-Darlington SC 31-9
27 24 Seminole State OK 24-8
28 29 Georgia Perimeter GA 30-10
29 31 Navarro TX 26-11
30 36 Yavapai AZ 28-14
31 50 Northeast Texas TX 26-9
32   Heartland IL 25-1
33   San Mateo CA 22-7
34   Grayson County TX 26-10
35 47 John A. Logan IL 28-11
36 46 Crowder MO 27-1-
37 44 USC Sumter SC 30-11
38   Johnson County KS 26-11
39 40 Lamar CO 31-9
40 45 State College of Florida-Manatee FL 28-13
41 49 Edmonds WA 15-5
42   Blinn TX 25-12
43 32 New Mexico NM 26-13
44 34 Neosho County KS 29-12
45 35 Gulf Coast State FL 29-12
46 37 Northeastern Oklahoma A&M OK 19-6
47   Wallace State-Hanceville AL 26-12
48   Bakersfield CA 20-8
49   Ohlone CA 19-9
50   Cowley County KS 22-15

Dropped out:
 McLennan, Central Florida, Cuesta, USC Lancaster, Tallahassee, Chattanooga State, Miami-Dade, Connors State, Merced, Diablo Valley, Cypress

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