Juco : : Rankings
Thursday, June 07, 2012

Final Top 50 2012 JUCO Teams

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Iowa Western

Iowa Western, LSU-Eunice Ride Similar Resumes to 1-2 Ranking

No. 1-ranked Iowa Western overcame an opening-round loss to capture the 2012 Junior College World Series championship, its second national title in three years.

In a somewhat remarkable case of déjà vu, the identical scenario applied to LSU-Eunice. Same day, even.

While Iowa Western upheld its National Junior College Athletic Association Division I pre-tournament No. 1 ranking by coming through the loser’s bracket to win the D-I World Series last Saturday in Grand Junction, Colo., LSU-Eunice, the top-ranked team in NJCAA Division II, exacted the same story line in the D-II World Series, played just down the road in Enid, Okla.

To take the coincidence a step further, LSU-Eunice finished the 2012 season with a stunning 57-5 record, exactly the same record that Iowa Western boasted when it began play in the national tournament. With five wins in six games, the Reivers finished at 62-6.

Appropriately, the two teams rank 1-2 in Perfect Game’s final 2012 ranking of the nation’s Top 50 junior-college teams. Iowa Western was ranked No. 1 by PG entering the D-I World Series and preserved that mark, while LSU-Eunice was ranked No. 6 entering the D-II series, and leapfrogged four teams that participated in the Division I World Series (and went a collective 4-8), to finish at No. 2.

Iowa Western was forced to overcome a 5-2 loss to San Jacinto (Texas) in the opening-round of the 10-team, double-elimination D-I tournament, and did so by coming all the way back through the loser’s bracket to reach the final, where it gained a measure of revenge on San Jac, beating that team 6-5 by scoring two runs in the top of the ninth, the winning run scoring on a bases-loaded balk.

Interesting, Iowa Western also beat San Jacinto, a six-time former national champion, in the 2010 championship game.

This group really liked to win,” Iowa Western coach Marc Rardin said. “The group that won in 2010 enjoyed it, but is was more business-like. This group probably had a little more emotion to them and for each other. That’s what they were about. They were about wins and winning together.”

LSU-Eunice, meanwhile, lost its opening-round game at the D-II World Series, 4-3 to Des Moines Area CC, and also battled back through the loser’s bracket to advance to the championship game, where it beat defending national champion Western Oklahoma State 7-3 in the clincher.

Whereas Iowa Western had no players drafted off its 2010 national-championship team, this year’s version, which hit a school-record .403 on the season, had three players taken: third baseman Damek Tomscha (Cubs, 19
th round), shortstop Iseha Conklin (Red Sox, 19th round) and first baseman/righthander Keaton Steele (Rays, 29th round).

Steele earned MVP honors at the D-I World Series by hitting a team-high .444 and saving two games. He was particularly instrumental in the deciding contest as he drove in three of Iowa Western’s first four runs on a two-run homer and sacrifice fly, keyed his team’s two-run, ninth-inning rally with a leadoff walk and came around to score the tying run, and then preserved the win by pitching a scoreless inning in the bottom of the ninth.

Surprisingly, Tanner Kreietemeier, who had been Iowa Western’s dominant two-way player most of the 2012 season, going 12-1, 1.78 while hitting .411-9-62, was passed over in the draft. He suffered his first setback of the season in the Reivers opening-round loss in Grand Junction.

LSU-Eunice, which also won national championships in 2006 and 2008 to give it four in seven years, did not have a single player drafted this week.

Predictably, California’s Orange Coast College, which occupied the No. 1 spot in Perfect Game’s ranking of the Top 50 junior-college teams most of the spring, and Texas juco power Howard College, which began the season ranked No. 1, dominated the junior-college ranks in this year’s draft. Orange Coast had six players taken, Howard had five.

Neither school, however, finished on a winning note as Orange Coast (36-7) lost in the California Final Four state championship, while Howard (45-12) lost in the NJCAA Region 5 championship game, one game short of a trip to the Junior College World Series. Orange Coast, which dropped from No. 1 to No. 7 after its disappointing finish, rebounded to No. 3 in PG’s final ranking behind Iowa Western and LSU-Eunice, while Howard finished at No. 9.

5-21 - Ranking as of May 21

RK 5-21 Team State Overall Season Accomplishment
1 1 Iowa Western IA 62-6 Junior College D-I World Series champion
2 6 LSU-Eunice LA 57-5 Junior College D-II World Series champion
3 7 Orange Coast CA 36-7 California Final Four
4 3 Jefferson MO 53-12 Junior College D-I World Series
5 2 Polk State FL 46-12 Junior College D-I World Series
6 4 Western Nevada NV 48-17 Junior College D-I World Series
7 5 Cisco TX 48-15 Junior College D-I World Series
8 9 Neosho County KS 49-16 Junior College D-I World Series
9 10 Howard TX 45-12 NJCAA D-I Region 5 runner-up
10 11 Salt Lake UT 45-10 NJCAA D-I Region 18 champion
11 12 Central Arizona AZ 47-15 NJCAA D-I Region 1 champion
12 13 Middle Georgia GA 46-13 NJCAA D-I Region 17 champion
13 14 Rio Hondo CA 40-5 California Final Four
14 16 San Jacinto TX 41-25 Junior College D-I World Series runner-up
15 15 Walters State TN 52-11 NJCAA D-I Region 7 champion
16 17 Louisburg NC 52-9
17 18 Cosumnes River CA 28-16 California junior-college state champion
18 8 Spartanburg Methodist SC 45-18 Junior College D-I World Series
19 19 Heartland IL 54-8 Junior College D-II World Series
20 20 Santa Fe FL 37-13  
21 21 Palm Beach State FL 38-16 NJCAA D-I Region 8 runner-up
22 22 Shelton State AL 40-23 Junior College D-I World Series
23 24 Central Alabama AL 42-13
24 25 Grayson County TX 44-18
25 26 Feather River CA 32-8
26 27 Chipola FL 39-17
27 28 Santa Ana CA 33-9
28 29 Lamar CO 47-12 NJCAA D-I Region 9 champion
29 31 Gordon GA 40-25 Junior College D-I World Series
30 23 Des Moines Area IA 51-14 Junior College D-II World Series
31 32 Seminole State OK 41-15
32 33 Crowder MO 44-17
33 34 Florence-Darlington SC 42-12
34 35 Columbia State TN 43-14 NJCAA D-I Region 7 runner-up
35   Pierce WA 32-13 NWAACC champion
36 36 Yavapai AZ 40-20 NJCAA D-I Region 1 runner-up
37 37 John A. Logan IL 41-22 NJCAA D-I Region 24 champion
38   Western Oklahoma State OK 48-17 Junior College D-II World Series runner-up
39 38 Sierra CA 26-17 California Final Four
40 39 Georgia Perimeter GA 43-16
41 40 Wallace State-Hanceville AL 41-17 NJCAA D-I Region 22 runner-up
42 41 Navarro TX 37-20 NJCAA D-I Region 14 runner-up
43 30 Bellevue WA 35-12
44 42 Eastern Oklahoma State OK 38-22 NJCAA D-I Region 2 champion
45 45 Northeast Texas TX 32-16
46 44 San Mateo CA 32-12
47 46 Wabash Valley IL 48-13 NJCAA D-I Region 24 runner-up
48 47 Johnson County KS 40-18
49   Madison WI 45-13 Junior College D-II World Series
50 48 Fresno CA 29-13

Dropped out:  Mt. Hood, State College of Florida-Manatee, Harford

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