Juco : : Rankings
Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Junior College Top 50 Teams

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Western Nevada

Big Shakeup At Top of Rankings

The 10-team field is set for this year’s Junior College World Series, which begins Saturday in Grand Junction, Colo., and some familiar faces like Iowa Western, Jefferson (Mo.), San Jacinto (Texas), Spartanburg Methodist (S.C.) and Western Nevada are among those schools participating.

But the tournament field is more noticeable for the absence of teams like Central Arizona, Howard (Texas), Middle Georgia and Walters State (Tenn.), which sat at or near the top of Perfect Game’s ranking of the nation’s Top 50 junior-college teams all season, only to be bounced one step away from taking part in this year’s national tournament.

If the omission of those teams is a little surprising, the biggest shocker is the demise over the weekend of the nation’s No. 1-ranked junior-college team, Orange Coast College, which went out in two straight at the California Final Four state championship. The Pirates, described by numerous long-time observers as the most-talented team to come from California in years, had held the top spot in the PG poll for two months.

The California championship series hardly went according to form as both Orange Coast (36-5 entering the tournament) and Rio Hondo (38-3), which had fewer defeats than any junior-college team in the country, lost out to surprising Cosumnes River (28-16), which went on a late-season charge, highlighted by three straight wins in the California Final Four. California teams are not members of the National Junior College Athletic Association, and not eligible to participate in the Junior College World Series.

Led by Orange Coast, the top five teams in the PG Top 50 had remained unchanged for three weeks, but the series of upsets nationally over the last several days has seen a significant shakeup at the top of this week’s rankings.

Iowa Western (57-5), previously ranked No. 2, is the new No. 1 team, and becomes only the third team to hold that position this spring. Howard, which lost in the NJCAA Region 5 tournament championship game to upstart Cisco (Texas), began the 2012 season in the top spot, only to be replaced in mid-March by Orange Coast.

Orange Coast has dropped to No. 7 in the latest PG rankings, while Howard has fallen to No. 10. Though neither team finished its season on a positive note, both schools are expected to be front and center in this year’s first-year baseball player draft, scheduled to begin June 4—two days after the conclusion of the Junior College World Series. Between them, Orange Coast and Howard could have as many as 15-16 players drafted, including the possibility of three each in the first 10 rounds. No other junior colleges are expected to impact the draft to that degree.

Before the draft begins, though, the focus at the junior-college level will be on the Junior College World Series, which includes all of the top five teams in PG’s current Top 50 ranking. In addition to new No. 1 Iowa Western, the 2010 champion, the field includes No. 2 Polk State (Fla.), No. 3 Jefferson, No. 4 Western Nevada and No. 5 Cisco. Seven-time former national champion San Jacinto, newly-ranked at No. 16, is also participating.

Western Nevada (47-15) reached the tournament by winning an especially difficult regional that included previous No. 6-ranked Central Arizona, No. 7 Salt Lake and No. 26 Lamar (Colo.), and its appearance in the Junior College World Series is noteworthy as it boasts the nation’s top-ranked junior-college prospect in this year’s draft in sophomore rigfhthander Dylan Baker, whose fastball has peaked this spring at 100 mph.

Meanwhile, the NJCAA Division II World Series begins Saturday, as well, in Enid, Okla., and that 10-team field includes No. 6-ranked LSU-Eunice (49-4) and two other teams ranked in the PG Top 50, No. 19 Heartland and No. 23 Des Moines Area. The Northwest Athletic of Association of Community College championship, involving teams from Oregon and Washington, also begins this weekend. Defending champion Bellevue (Wash.) is the highest-ranked NWAACC team at No. 30.


5-14 - Ranking as of May 14

RK 5-14 Team State Overall Season Status
1 2 Iowa Western IA 57-5 In Junior College World Series
2 5 Polk State FL 45-10 In Junior College World Series
3 9 Jefferson MO 51-10 In Junior College World Series
4 13 Western Nevada NV 47-15 In Junior College World Series
5 15 Cisco TX 48-13 In Junior College World Series
6 10 *LSU-Eunice LA 52-4 In Junior College-II World Series
7 1 Orange Coast CA 36-7 Season complete
8 17 Spartanburg Methodist SC 45-16 In Junior College World Series
9 16 Neosho County KS 47-14 In Junior College World Series
10 4 Howard TX 45-12 Season complete
11 7 Salt Lake UT 45-10 Season complete
12 6 Central Arizona AZ 47-15 Season complete
13 8 Middle Georgia GA 46-13 Season complete
14 11 Rio Hondo CA 40-5 Season complete
15 3 Walters State TN 52-11 Season complete
16 32 San Jacinto TX 37-23 In Junior College World Series
17 12 Louisburg NC 52-9 Season complete
18 38 Cosumnes River CA 28-16 California junior-college state champion
19 29 *Heartland IL 51-6 In Junior College-II World Series
20 18 Santa Fe FL 37-13 Season complete
21 19 Palm Beach State FL 38-16 Season complete
22   Shelton State AL 38-21 In Junior College
23 43 *Des Moines Area IA 50-13 In Junior College-II World Series
24 14 Central Alabama AL 42-13 Season complete
25 20 Grayson County TX 44-18 Season complete
26 21 Feather River CA 32-8 Season complete
27 23 Chipola FL 39-17 Season complete
28 25 Santa Ana CA 33-9 Season complete
29 26 Lamar CO 47-12 Season complete
30 27 Bellevue WA 34-10 In NWAACC tournament
31   Gordon GA 36-23 In Junior College World Series
32 30 Seminole State OK 41-15 Season complete
33 31 Crowder MO 44-17 Season complete
34 33 Florence-Darlington SC 42-12 Season complete
35 22 Columbia State TN 43-14 Season complete
36 36 Yavapai AZ 40-20 Season complete
37 37 John A. Logan IL 41-22 Season complete
38 39 Sierra CA 26-17 Season complete
39 24 Georgia Perimeter GA 43-16 Season complete
40 28 Wallace State-Hanceville AL 41-17 Season complete
41 34 Navarro TX 37-20 Season complete
42 35 Eastern Oklahoma State OK 38-22 Season complete
43 48 Mt. Hood OR 35-9 In NWAACC tournament
45 40 Northeast Texas TX 32-16 Season complete
44 41 San Mateo CA 32-12 Season complete
46 42 Wabash Valley IL 48-13 Season complete
47 45 Johnson County KS 40-18 Season complete
48 46 Fresno CA 29-13 Season complete
49 47 State College of Florida-Manatee FL 33-17 Season complete
50 44 Harford MD 44-15 Season complete

Dropped out:  New Mexico, Ohlone
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