Summer Collegiate Baseball
2013 Final Rankings, Top 50 Teams
Season-Long Excellence Pushes
TCL’s Bombers To No. 1 Ranking
From start to finish in 2013, the
Brazos Valley Bombers dominated the Texas Collegiate League.
The Bryan, Texas-based club opened the
TCL campaign with eight straight wins and 15 victories in their first
16 contests, and closed it with seven wins in their last eight games,
climaxed by a 7-5 win over the Victoria Generals that resulted in
their first TCL championship.
Not only did the Bombers put the
finishing touch on a record-breaking season with their final triumph,
but national implications were also at stake as it put them in
position to finish atop Perfect Game’s final ranking of the
nation’s top 50 summer league clubs. When the four teams ranked
ahead of the Bombers bit the dust in their respective league
playoffs, a mythical national title was theirs for the taking.
“The Bombers are truly honored to be
ranked No. 1 in the country,” said an ecstatic Uri Geva, the
Bombers club president. “This is an amazing accomplishment for our
coaching staff and players. We are thrilled to be the first Texas
Collegiate League champion to win the national championship from
Perfect Game, an incredible achievement.”
Ranked No. 2 in Perfect Game’s
initial weekly ranking in mid-June, the Bombers were the only
summer-league club to hold down a spot in the top five all season.
They never reached No. 1, though, until the final ranking as the Cape
Cod League’s Chatham Anglers spent five weeks in the top spot and
the Cotuit Kettleers, the eventual Cape champion, occupied that
position on two other occasions. In the final in-season ranking, the
Northwoods League’s Waterloo Bucks surged into the No. 1 spot.
Both Chatham and Waterloo, however,
failed to reach the championship series in their respective league
playoffs, as did Falmouth (Cape Cod) and Edenton (Coastal Plain), the
two other teams ranked ahead of Brazos Valley in the stretch run. And
that opened the door for the Bombers (49-15 on the season) to slip
into the top spot.
Cotuit (31-20) finished No. 2 behind
the Bombers, while the fast-charging Corvallis Knights (46-17),
winners of their last 14 games which propelled them to the West Coast
League title, surged into the No. 3 spot.
For all the on-field success the
Bombers enjoyed this summer, their magical season almost went up in
smoke in the third and deciding game of the TCL championship game as
Victoria jumped out to an early 5-1 lead. But stellar relief pitching
by the duo of Texas A&M righthanders Jason Freeman and Parker Ray
stymied the Generals the rest of the way, while the Bombers exploded
for six runs in the bottom of the fifth to pull ahead for good at
Freeman fanned 10 in 4 2/3 innings of
middle relief, while Ray closed things out, fanning three of the four
hitters he faced in his only relief appearance of the season.
Ray, who went 4-0, 1.69 in six
regular-season starts, had opened the playoffs for Brazos Valley four
days earlier by beating defending TCL champion East Texas 6-0 in a
dominating five-hit, 1-walk, 14 strikeout effort.
“When Parker Ray steps on the mound,
he takes ownership of the game,” said a Texas-based major-league
scout who watched the Bombers on a nightly basis over the latter half
of the 2013 season. “When (Bombers coach Curt Dixon) brought him in
with two outs in the eighth, you knew it was over.”
While Ray was instrumental in the
Bombers playoff success, much of the team’s success over the course
of a long summer season was credited to Dixon, an assistant coach at
Eastern Oklahoma State College during the school year.
“We have had the best record in the
TCL the last two seasons, and the credit for our growing success on
the field goes to Curt and his entire coaching staff,” Geva said.
“They have worked to ensure we have the best possible talent, while
keeping the players motivated to go out there and have fun, staying
calm throughout any situation on the field.
“This Bombers team came back from
being down 11-2 in the eighth inning and winning a game in extra
innings, and won the championship after being down 5-1 in the middle
of the fifth. Coach Dixon did a phenomenal job of putting together a
great group of players that never quit, molding them into a true team
that goes out there and plays their hearts out, every night of the
The major-league scout concurred, and
says Dixon was a difference-maker in the Bombers season-long success.
“Even down 5-1, they showed
resiliency in clawing back. They'd bend but wouldn't break. After the
last-out fly ball to center field and the dog pile—both joy they
won and the season finally done—there was some genuine exchanges
between players that lasted a long time, which I'll give the manager
the credit for creating that environment. The fan support was
tremendous, and the place exploded on the last out like they won the
World Series. Very, very entertaining.”
A year ago, the Bombers posted the best
overall record in the TCL after a torrid second half, but lost in
excruciating fashion at Victoria in a one-game divisional series,
when they failed to hold a 7-3 lead going into the ninth as the
Generals won 8-7 victory in 11 innings.
This year, the Bombers lapped the field
in the TCL during the regular season, winning a league record 46
games, but an elusive title was still missing until their stunning
Game 3 comeback.
"This win was an exclamation
point," Dixon told the local Bryan-College Station Eagle.
“There's been a lot of firsts we've been doing, but we haven't won
a championship. We've won the first half, won the second half, set
the overall record, broke into the top five (PG’s national summer
“I guess this is what you say is the
elephant in the room we haven't been able to get, and that is the
Perfect Game’s national ranking of
summer college-league clubs are determined on the following criteria:
won-loss record, league dominance, depth and quality of
professional-level talent and the overall strength of the league.
Emphasis is given to teams that win league championships, but a
strong regular-season showing is also weighted heavily. Teams must
have at least a .500 record overall to earn consideration.