Juco : : Rankings
Tuesday, May 20, 2014

JUCO Top 50 Teams: May 20

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Perfect Game

EDITOR’S NOTE: Perfect Game’s Allan Simpson will unveil his ranking of the nation’s Top 100 Junior-College Prospects for the 2014 baseball draft on Friday, just in time for the start of championship tournaments all around the country.

World Series Fields Set
All Across JC Landscape

With state, region and district play on all fronts now complete, national-championship tournaments are set to start in all three divisions of the National Junior College Athletic Association this weekend.

Most of the focus will be on the 57
th annual NJCAA Division I World Series in Grand Junction, Colo., featuring Alabama’s Chattahoochee Valley, the No. 1-ranked team in Perfect Game’s latest ranking of the. That 10-team, double-elimination tournament begins Saturday.

The D-II World Series, another 10-team, double-elimination affair, also kicks off Saturday in Enid, Okla., while the eight-team D-III World Series opens that day in Tyler, Texas.

California junior colleges are noticeably absent from national-championship competition as they are not members of the NJCAA, but national implications will nonetheless be at stake when four teams gather Saturday in Fresno to play for a state title. Orange Coast and Oxnard are ranked 2-3 in PG’s latest Top 50, and either school could conceivably finish No. 1 in PG’s final ranking of junior-college teams, depending on how things play out on a number of fronts over the next few days.

With a series of upsets that took place around the country in the various preliminary tournaments leading up to championship play this weekend, PG’s Top 50 has undergone some significant upheaval, though Chattahoochee Valley (47-9) remains firmly entrenched at No. 1 and Orange Coast (33-9) at No. 2.

Chattahoochee Valley handily won the Alabama state/NJCAA District 22 tournament in four straight games to qualify for its first-ever appearance in the D-I World Series. It has more to live up to than its No. 1 national ranking as another Alabama school, Central Alabama, won the Junior College World Series a year ago.

It’s unlikely that Chattahoochee Valley, which has already set a school record for wins in a season, will have anyone drafted in the first 10-12 rounds of the upcoming baseball draft, but the Pirates have a well-balanced team led by South Carolina-bound catcher Jared Martin (.360-2-51) and Mississippi State-bound shortstop John Holland (.408-4-38, 26 SB), and a pitching staff led by Auburn-bound righthander Dalton Rentz (12-2, 1.58, 97 IP/94 SO) that posted a collective 2.28 ERA.

Orange Coast, meanwhile, is coincidentally also nicknamed the Pirates, and will be playing in its fourth California Final Four since 2005 after sweeping through the Southern California sectional playoffs. OCC, though, has pulled up short of expectations in recent years—notably in 2011, when it was ranked No. 1 nationally by PG most of the season, only to stumble at the end.

The Hill twins, righthander David (10-1, 1.61, 106 IP/103 SO) and lefthander Jacob (10-0, 1.29), both University of San Diego recruits, have been major contributors to Orange Coast’s success this spring, though a recent sore arm has limited Jacob Hill’s impact on his team’s run through the playoffs. However, freshman lefthander Art Vidro has stood in capably for Hill and been the Pirates unsung hero of late with three playoff wins. In 20 innings in post-season play, Vidro has allowed just one earned run and 10 hits, and struck out 17.

David Hill is the unquestioned ace of the Orange Coast staff, and should factor prominently into the draft with a legitimate chance of going in the top 4-6 rounds. He ranks as the second-best JC talent California, according to PG, and sits just behind Oxnard fire-balling righthander Patrick Weigel, whose fastball recently topped out in triple digits.

Weigel has played a significant role in leading Oxnard to its No. 3 national ranking, but his contribution pales in comparison to teammate Luke Eubank, who has been the dominant pitcher in the California JC ranks while posting a 12-0, 0.69 record, along with 126 strikeouts in 117 innings.

While Chattahoochee State, Orange Coast and Oxnard rank 1-2-3 in PG’s ranking of JC teams and have played championship-caliber baseball most of the 2014 season, several other teams have worked their way into the national-championship hunt by winning when it counted most.

Both Texas schools that qualified for the D-I World Series, Blinn (34-26) and Midland (40-23), finished no better than fourth in their respective conferences and were the lowest seeded teams in their respective region playoffs—No. 39 Blinn in NJCAA region 14, No. 37 Midland in region 5—but managed to pull off a string of upsets to punch their ticket to Grand Junction. No. 40 Cochise (40-29) was similarly an also-ran in the Arizona junior-college ranks before going on a roll in post-season play that landed that school in the D-I World Series for a second straight year.

The field in the D-II World Series, meanwhile, is more wide open than expected after No. 1-ranked Jones County (Miss.) and No. 2 LSU-Eunice both fell in the same regional to upstart Hinds (Miss.), and were eliminated from national competition.

RK Prev. Team ST Record
1 1 Chattahoochee Valley (1) AL 47-9
2 2 Orange Coast (4) CA 33-9
3 7 Oxnard (4) CA 33-11
4 9 Columbia State (1) TN 44-11
5 14 Iowa Western (1) IA 51-11
6 16 Miami-Dade (1) FL 35-15
7 18 Johnson County (1) KS 50-12
8 19 Delgado (1) LA 43-11
9 13 San Joaquin Delta (4) CA 33-9
10 11 *Chipola FL 36-12
11 12 *Grayson TX 42-14
12 23 Spartanburg Methodist (1) SC 46-16
13 3 *Georgia Perimeter GA 44-14
14 4 *Polk State FL 39-14
15 15 Mesa (2) AZ 47-12
16 5 *Chabot CA 32-10
17 6 *Alvin TX 42-16
18 8 *Gulf Coast State FL 40-14
19 10 *Crowder MO 45-17
20 17 *Wabash Valley IL 48-13
21 20 *St. Johns River FL 37-14
22 21 *Western Nevada NV 40-18
23 36 Sequoias (4) CA 33-11
24 37 Mercer County (2) NJ 39-6
25 26 *Central Arizona AZ 42-16
26 27 *Walters State TN 43-18
27 22 *Galveston TX 40-19
28 29 *Darton State GA 44-19
29 24 *Northeastern Oklahoma A&M OK 39-17
30 30 *Connors State OK 46-13
31 31 *USC Sumter SC 41-15
32 32 *Salt Lake UT 34-18
33 33 *Hutchinson KS 43-17
34 34 *Central Florida FL 35-19
35 35 *Santa Rosa CA 29-14
36 38 *South Mountain AZ 40-25
37 NR  Midland (1) TX 40-23
38 49 Edmonds (5) WA 34-7
39 NR  Blinn (1) TX 34-26
40 NR  Cochise (1) AZ 40-29
41 25 *Jones County MS 46-10
42 28 *LSU-Eunice LA 42-13
43 42 *Santa Ana CA 28-13
44 43 *Indian Hills IA 38-17
45 44 *Middle Georgia GA 38-15
46 46 *Cowley County KS 38-17
47 NR  *Seminole State OK 41-18
48 NR  Cumberland County (3) NJ 46-8
49 NR  Lincoln Land (2) IL 44-15
50 NR  Madison College (2) WI 42-15

(1) Participating in NJCAA Division I World Series
(2) Particpating in NJCAA Division II World Series
(3) Particpating in NJCAA DIVISION III World Series
(4) Participating in California Final Four
(5) Participating in NWAACC Championship Tournament

* Season complete
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