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JUCO Top 25 Teams: March 25

Juco : : Rankings
Allan Simpson        
Published: Tuesday, March 25, 2014

As the top teams in power states like Arizona, California, Florida and Texas continue to knock each other off on a regular basis this spring, Connors State (Okla.) has quietly ascended to the top of Perfect Game’s ranking of the nation’s Top 25 junior colleges.

The Cowboys, who opened the season at No. 22 after going 53-11 in 2013 and finishing fifth in last year’s Junior College World Series, have gone 25-3 through games of Sunday and are riding a 13-game winning streak.

Not surprisingly, the Cowboys are getting strong performances from two players who were instrumental in the team’s success a year ago—shortstop Yariel Gonzalez and lefthander Josh Hammill.

Gonzalez, a Puerto Rican product, hit .420-12-75 as a freshman and led the lead the team in homers and RBIs, and is on a similar pace this season as he leads the team in average (.490), homers (4) and RBIs (38). Hammill went 8-1, 4.23 a year ago, losing his only game in the World Series, and has outdone himself this season by going 4-0, 0.78 with 35 strikeouts in 3-0 innings. In consecutive outings in February, he spun no-hitters, beating Jefferson (Mo.) 12-0 and Ellsworth (Iowa) 4-1.

Hammill throws only 80-84 mph, but he really knows how to pitch,” said Connors State coach Perry Keith, who won his 1,400th game Monday in a 4-3 win over Carl Albert State (Okla.) in his 29th year with the Cowboys.

Connors State, hitting .357 as a team, has also gotten significant mileage out of sophomore catcher Jarrard Poteete (.357-1-28), a transfer from Texas Tech, and freshman righthander Landon Bradley (5-0, 1.78). As a staff, the Cowboys have spun 10 shutouts while posting a 2.50 team ERA.

The State College of Florida-Manatee had held down the No. 1 spot in PG’s Top 25 since the outset of the season, but the Manatees (19-11, 6-6 in conference) have struggled to keep pace in the highly-competitive Florida junior-college ranks and fell all the way to No. 23 in the latest ranking.

Chipola (Fla.) continues to hold steady at No. 2 with a 25-7 record overall, but could have its hands full the rest of the way as it is one of four teams in Florida’s five-team Panhandle Conference to crack the Top 25. In addition to the Indians, Tallahassee (31-8) sits at No. 12, Northwest Florida State (21-7) is at No. 16 and Gulf Coast State (24-8) at No. 25.


Perfect Game Top 25 Junior College Teams - March 25

RK Prev. Team ST Overall Conference
1 5 Connors State OK 25-3 0-0
2 2 Chipola FL 25-7 4-2
3 4 Walters State TN 26-7 14-1
4 6 Alvin TX 24-7 16-4
5 7 Grayson TX 20-8 9-2
6 11 LSU-Eunice LA 21-5 0-0
7 3 Orange Coast CA 18-6 6-4
8 15 San Joaquin Delta CA 18-3 5-1
9 8 Howard TX 22-6 7-5
10 12 Chattahoochee Valley AL 23-7 7-2
11 13 Spartanburg Methodist SC 19-6 7-3
12 10 Tallahassee FL 31-8 3-3
13 16 Crowder MO 22-6 7-1
14 17 Oxnard CA 17-4 7-2
15 20 Central Arizona AZ 26-8 13-5
16 NR  Northwest Florida State FL 21-7 3-0
17 NR  Fullerton CA 17-6 7-3
18 NR  Georgia Perimeter GA 22-8 11-1
19 NR  Coffeyville KS 21-7 15-1
20 19 Delgado LA 25-4 0-0
21 NR  Sacramento CA 16-3 5-1
22 NR  Iowa Western IA 21-5 0-0
23 1 State College of Florida-Manatee FL 19-11 6-6
24 14 Neosho County KS 26-6 12-4
25 21 Gulf Coast State FL 24-8 1-2

DROPPED OUT: No. 9 Modesto, Calif. (17-3, 3-3), Middle Georgia (19-7, 8-4), Galveston, Texas (20-11, 14-6), Santa Barbara, Calif. (16-7, 5-4), South Mountain, Ariz. (22-12, 13-5), Cisco, Texas (21-9, 1-6).


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