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JUCO Top 25 Teams: March 11

Juco : : Rankings
Allan Simpson        
Published: Tuesday, March 11, 2014

In the last 16 years, 12 different schools have won the Florida junior-college championship and represented the state at the Junior College World Series. With three state titles apiece in that period, the State College of Florida-Manatee and Chipola are the only schools to advance more than once.

The Florida JC ranks remain as competitive as ever this season, and appropriately the State College of Florida and Chipola are setting the pace. In Perfect Game’s latest ranking of the nation’s Top 25 Junior College teams, those schools are 1-2, with the pre-season No. 1 Manatees (16-6) holding down the top spot again and the Indians (20-5) moving up to No. 2.

Both schools have an abundance of talent, especially on the mound, that will play at the next level—either the four-year college level, or professionally—and have quality sophomore arms at the front of their rotations.

Missouri-bound righthander Reggie McClain has been the Manatees ace from the outset while forging a 5-0, 0.89 record with five walks and 33 strikeouts in 41 innings. Florida State-bound lefty Michael Mader has served the same role for the Indians while going 4-1, 1.19 with 15 walks and 36 strikeouts in 30 innings.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Mader is considered the better prospect of the two, and ranks as one of the better JC lefthanders in this year’s draft because of a fastball that has registered between 90-93 mph this spring. With a fastball generally in the high 80s, McClain’s draft standing is a little more tentative, but his success a year ago (9-2, 2.86) and again this spring for the Manatees stems mainly from his feel for pitching and command of three pitches.

Dominant pitching has also been a key factor in other teams making a move in PG’s ranking of the nation’s top JC teams. California’s Orange Coast College (15-4) has advanced to No. 3 on the strength of a pitching staff with a cumulative 1.46 ERA that has been led by twins David and Jacob Hill, University of San Diego recruits who are 9-0 between them. David, a righthander, is 4-0, 0.65, while Jacob, a lefthander, is 5-0, 0.62.

Traditional juco power Walters State (Tenn.) has risen to No. 4 on the strength of 11 straight wins and the pitching of freshman righthander Brent Honeywell, who leads the nation in wins and strikeouts while posting a 5-1, 3.09 record with six walks and 54 strikeouts in 35 innings.

Perfect Game Top 25 Junior College Teams - March 11

RK Prev. Team ST Record
1 1 State College of Florida-Manatee FL 16-6
2 4 Chipola FL 20-5
3 5 Orange Coast CA 15-4
4 7 Walters State TN 19-5
5 9 Connors State OK 17-3
6 14 Alvin TX 17-5
7 6 Grayson TX 14-6
8 2 Howard TX 18-4
9 18 Modesto CA 14-0
10 NR  Tallahassee FL 24-5
11 8 LSU-Eunice LA 16-4
12 3 Chattahoochee Valley AL 16-5
13 12 Spartanburg Methodist SC 13-4
14 NR  Neosho County KS 17-3
15 19 San Joaquin Delta CA 13-2
16 15 Crowder MO 13-4
17 NR  Oxnard CA 13-2
18 NR  Middle Georgia GA 15-3
19 NR  Delgado LA 21-2
20 11 Central Arizona AZ 17-6
21 21 Gulf Coast State FL 20-6
22 NR  Galveston TX 14-6
23 25 Santa Barbara CA 14-3
24 NR  South Mountain AZ 16-8
25 13 Cisco TX 19-5

DROPPED OUT: No. 10 Cypress, Calif. (11-7); No. 16 Georgia Perimeter (15-7); No. 17 Southern Nevada (13-10); No. 20 Wabash Valley (11-5); No. 22 Cosumnes River, Calif. (12-3); No. 23 St. Petersburg, Fla. (16-7); No. 24 St. Johns River, Fla. (11-5).
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