Juco : : Rankings
Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Junior College Top 50 Teams

Allan Simpson        
Photo: Iowa Western

Five-Pack Remains Unshakeable At Top of Rankings

On March 26, California’s Orange Coast College settled in as the nation’s No. 1-ranked junior-college team. By April 10, Iowa Western, Walters State (Tenn.), Howard (Texas) and Polk State (Fla.) established themselves as the Nos. 2-5-ranked clubs in the country.

That quintet has continued to play at such a high level since that there has been no movement of any kind at the top of Perfect Game’s national ranking of the nation’s Top 50 junior-college teams.

Even as post-season tournament play is well underway on numerous fronts nationally and 16 of the top 50 teams have been eliminated from championship contention, the Big Five continue to win at a dizzying pace, and are a collective 230-38 through games of Sunday.

By winning one of two southern California super-regionals over the weekend, Orange Coast (36-5) has advanced to California’s Final Four this coming weekend in Bakersfield, Calif., and conceivably could clinch the No. 1 ranking in the country before the showcase event of junior-college baseball, the Junior College World Series, scheduled for May 26-June 2 in its traditional home of Grand Junction, Colo., has even begun. California teams are not members of the National Junior College Athletic Association, and ineligible to play in the national tournament.

Should Orange Coast falter, there are plenty of contenders for the No. 1 national ranking, led by the four teams most closely in pursuit of the Pirates. All have Grand Junction on their mind.

Of the four, No. 5 Polk State (45-10) was the only team, through games of Sunday, to punch its ticket to the 10-team Junior College World Series, though Kansas’ No. 16-ranked Neosho County (47-14) became the second team Monday by winning the NJCAA Region 6 title. Polk County won the rugged Region 8 tournament—effectively, the Florida state junior-college championship—a week ago.

Meanwhile, No. 2 Iowa Western (54-4) needs to win the three-team Northern District championship (Iowa, Illinois) this week to earn a trip to Grand Junction, while No. 3 Walters State (52-9) must do the same in the three-team East Central District (Tennessee, Georgia) and No. 4 Howard (43-10) will need to follow suit in Region 5 (west Texas), already underway. All three teams have a championship lineage as Walters State won the Junior College World Series in 2006, Howard in 2009 and Iowa Western in 2010.

Perhaps the most hotly-contested junior-college tournament (Western District) will be played this weekend in Salt Lake City, involving No. 6 Central Arizona (47-13), the Region 1 champion; No. 7 Salt Lake (43-8), the Region 18 champion; Colorado’s No. 26 Lamar (47-10), the Region 9 champion; and No. 13 Western Nevada (44-15), the runner-up team to Salt Lake in Region 18. The winner moves on to Grand Junction.

That four-team field should hold additional appeal as Western Nevada features the No. 1-ranked junior-college player in the nation in righthander Dylan Baker, who is regarded by scouts as a fringe first-round pick for the June 4-6 draft.

As the No. 1 team, Orange Coast is not lacking in talent itself as it boasts as many as 6-7 players who could be drafted, including righthander Brandon Brennan, outfielder Chris Carlson and outfielder/lefthander Bijan Rademacher, all possible selections in the first 10 rounds. Howard, Perfect Game’s No. 1-ranked team at the outset of the 2012 season, is the only other junior-college team with a realistic chance of producing as many as three players in the top 10 rounds in righthanders Reid Scoggins and Clayton Crum, and lefthander Logan Ehlers, all of whom have reached the high-90s. The fast-charging Scoggins joins Baker as the two junior-college pitchers in the nation this spring that have topped out at 100 mph.

Post-season tournament play continues on a number of fronts this week as teams contend for various championships beyond the NJCAA Division I level and state level, as applicable to California.

The NJCAA Division II and Division III national tournaments have also gotten underway, with the D-II World Series scheduled for Enid, Okla., May 26-June 2 and D-III World Series slated for Tyler, Texas, beginning Saturday. LSU-Eunice (48-4) is the top-ranked D-II team in the Perfect Game Top 50, holding steady at No. 10.

Teams in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges, consisting of 28 junior colleges in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, will contend for their own championship, beginning this weekend. Defending champion Bellevue (Wash.) CC is the NWAACC’s top-ranked team at No. 33.

To follow the respective tournaments, please link to the following websites:


5-7 - Ranking as of May 7
Qualified for Junior College World Series
* National Junior College Division II team

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

Dropped out:  Mt. San Antonio, Glendale, Northeastern, Everett
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