Photo: State College of Florida

JUCO Top 25 Teams: Feb. 24

Juco : : Rankings
Allan Simpson        
Published: Monday, February 24, 2014

There was doubt whether the State College of Florida was a deserving No. 1 team in Perfect Game’s pre-season overview of the nation’s top 50 junior college teams, especially when Florida’s initial in-state ranking of the 2014 season had unbeaten Tallahassee Community College at No. 1 and the Manatees at No. 3.

Tallahassee burst out of the gate by winning its first 11 games of the season to surge past the State College of Florida in the highly-competitive state JC rankings. But the Manatees left little doubt that they were the top team in the state—if not in the nation—when they trekked to Tallahassee this weekend and swept the Eagles in a three-game set.

The Manatees moved to 12-3 on the season and retained their ranking as the nation’s top team in PG’s first in-season ranking of the Top 25 junior-college teams.

As expected, the Manatees have gotten key contributions from their ace pitcher, Missouri-bound righthander Reggie McClain (4-0, 0.64), and versatile Ryan Valdes, a Florida State transfer who has played a key role in center field (.471-0-10, 7 SB) and as a closer (1-0, 0.00, 2 SV, 8 IP/14 SO). Additionally, freshman righthander Dustin Hagy, the team’s top prospect, has gotten off to a solid start (1-0, 2.35, 15 IP/15 SO).

Two teams that are 13-1 in the early going and had posted better records than the State College of Florida, No. 2 Howard (Texas) and No. 3 Chattahoochee Valley (Ala.), made the most significant advances in the Top 25. Those teams were ranked Nos. 11 and 12, respectively, prior to the season.

Like the Manatees, Chattahoochee Valley has made significant strides behind the inspired play of another former Florida State player, red-shirt sophomore shortstop John Holland, who is hitting .426 and leads the Pirates in homers (3), RBI (17) and stolen bases (8). Holland transferred to Chattahoochee Valley after seeing extensive time as a freshman for the Seminoles before missing the 2013 season with a back injury.

He is the best position player I believe I have ever seen,” said Chattahoochee Valley coach Adam Thomas. “His abilities are game-changing, and his intangibles are out of this world. He is the best player in our league, hands down.”

Perfect Game Top 25 Junior College Teams - Feb. 24

RK Pre Team ST Record
1 1 State College of Florida-Manatee FL 12-3
2 11 Howard TX 13-1
3 12 Chattahoochee Valley AL 13-1
4 5 Chipola FL 11-4
5 9 Orange Coast CA 11-2
6 2 Grayson TX 8-5
7 4 Walters State TN 9-5
8 21 LSU-Eunice LA 11-1
9 22 Connors State OK 10-1
10 6 Cypress CA 9-4
11 7 Central Arizona AZ 11-4
12 20 Spartanburg Methodist SC 8-2
13 29 Cisco TX 15-1
14 10 Alvin TX 9-3
15 17 Crowder MO 6-3
16 18 Georgia Perimeter GA 9-5
17 15 Southern Nevada NV 10-6
18 NR  Modesto CA 11-0
19 23 San Joaquin Delta CA 9-2
20 24 Wabash Valley IL 7-4
21 32 Gulf Coast State FL 12-4
22 NR  Cosumnes River CA 10-0
23 NR  St. Petersburg FL 13-3
24 NR  St. Johns River FL 11-5
25 NR  Santa Barbara CA 10-1

No. 3 San Jacinto, Texas (8-8); No. 8 Iowa Western (1-4); No. 13 Fresno, Calif. (7-6); No. 14 Miami-Dade (5-6); No. 16 Riverside, Calif. (25-14); No. 19 Cowley County, Kan. (4-3); No. 25 Palomar, Calif. (6-7).

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