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Saints Pre-season Number 14 in NJCAA Baseball Poll

KSCB News - January 27, 2012 1:10 pm

Top 20 National Poll | January 26, 2012
Rank College Region Record Points 1st Votes Last Week
1 Central Arizona College 1 56-15 0 0 0
2 Chipola College 8 42-20 0 0 0
3 Howard College 5 46-13 0 0 0
4 Iowa Western Community College 11 43-20 0 0 0
5 Middle Georgia College 17 37-20 0 0 0
6 Navarro College 14 46-18 0 0 0
7 Grayson County College 5 42-17 0 0 0
8 Walters State Community College 7 43-15 0 0 0
9 Santa Fe College 8 37-11 0 0 0
10 USC Sumter 10 41-11 0 0 0
11 Miami Dade College 8 33-18 0 0 0
12 San Jacinto College-North 14 40-16 0 0 0
13 Jefferson College 16 43-22 0 0 0
14 Seward County Community College 6 46-20 0 0 0
15 Shelton State Community College 22 36-19 0 0 0
16 Wabash Valley College 24 45-17 0 0 0
17 Salt Lake Community College 18 49-16 0 0 0
18 Eastern Oklahoma State College 2 38-22 0 0 0
19 Spartanburg Methodist College 10 38-17 0 0 0
20 Neosho County Community College 6 46-14 0 0 0

*Records reflect 2011 season

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – After falling in last season’s National Championship game on a walk-off home run in extra innings, Central Arizona College begins their 2012 campaign as the top-ranked team in the nation. The Vaqueras top the 2012 NJCAA Division I baseball preseason poll released today, in front of No. 2 Chipola College (Fla.) and No. 3 Howard College (Texas.) Rounding out the top of the rankings are No. 4 Iowa Western Community College and No. 5 Middle Georgia College, followed by defending national champion Navarro College (Texas) at No. 6.

Central Arizona enters the 2012 season as the defending champions of Region I and the Western District. Despite ending last season with a 56-15 overall record and the most wins of any program in the country, the Vaqueros lost to Navarro in the tenth inning of the Division I World Series championship game.

Poised to make a return to Grand Junction, Central Arizona returns 10 players including sophomore pitcher Cody Gray who compiled a 13-1 record last season with a 1.96 ERA. Joining a solid cast of experienced athletes is the nation’s top-ranked junior college prospect in freshman third baseman Fernando Perez.

Central Arizona is not only favored to repeat as region and district champions, but Perfect Game USA’s JUCO Top 50 ranks the Vaqueros as the No. 3 team in all of two-year college baseball. Central Arizona will begin its march towards the program’s third national title at home against GateWay CC (Ariz.) Jan. 27.

In the Sunshine State, Chipola is riding a wave of confidence with the addition of five transfers from the NCAA’s prestigious SEC. As the No. 2 team in the country according to Perfect Game USA’s JUCO Top 50, the Indians are looking to improve on last season’s 42-20 record and claim their second national championship in program history. Chipola opens the season Jan. 27 against Palm Beach State College (Fla.) at Progress Energy Park in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Despite missing last season’s World Series, Perfect Game USA’s JUCO Top 50 highlights Howard as its No. 1 team entering 2012. With eight transfers coming in from NCAA Division I programs, the Hawks boast a stacked roster with 11 players already committed to major NCAA schools. Looking to repeat the success of 2009’s national championship team that went 68-1, Howard is favored to return to prominence in Region 5. A double-header at home against Frank Phillips College (Texas) Feb. 2 will kick off the Hawks’ 2012 season.

Seeking their sixth-consecutive trip to Grand Junction, Iowa Western is favored to once again come out on top of Region 11 and the Northern District. The Reivers, ranked No. 5 in Perfect Game USA’s JUCO Top 50, will be led by sophomore third baseman Damek Tomscha who registered 14 home runs and 59 RBI’s with a .377 batting average in 2011. Last season’s third-place finish in Grand Junction has the Reivers hungry for their second national championship in three seasons. Iowa Western opens up the 2012 season Feb. 17 with a double-header at Butler CC (Kan.).

Middle Georgia returns 12 players from the 2011 squad that went 37-20 but had a disappointing third-place finish in the Region 17 Tournament. Anchoring the Warriors’ lineup will be sophomore catcher Dylan Kelly who sported a .429 batting average last season with 33 RBI’s. As the No. 6 ranked team in Perfect Game USA’s JUCO Top 50, the Warriors are eager to get back to the World Series for the first time since 2004. On Feb. 4, Middle Georgia will begin their season with a home game against Southern Union State CC (Ala.).

After raising the National Championship trophy for the first time last season, Navarro is anticipating a return to Grand Junction and a shot at being the first team to repeat as national champions since Grayson CC (Texas) won back-to-back titles in 1999 and 2000. The Bulldogs return nine players from last season’s championship group that went 46-18. Playing in the highly-competitive Region 14, Navarro is ranked No. 18 in Perfect Game USA’s JUCO Top 50. The Bulldogs of Navarro start off the 2012 season hosting North Central Texas on Feb. 3.

Click here to view Perfect Game USA’s JUCO Top 50

NOTE: The 2012 preseason NJCAA DI, DII and DIII baseball polls and district predictions were compiled based on information submitted by teams to the NJCAA.

2012 NJCAA Division I Baseball District Predictions (2011 Record)

WESTERN DISTRICT (Regions 1, 9, 18)
1. Central Arizona College (56-15)
2. Salt Lake Community College (49-16)
3. Western Nevada College (45-15)
4. Yavapai College, Ariz. (38-22)

SOUTHWEST DISTRICT (Region 5)
1. Howard College, Texas (46-13)
2. Grayson County College, Texas (42-17)
3. McLennan Community College, Texas (36-22)
4. Temple College, Texas (36-19)

SOUTH CENTRAL DISTRICT (Regions 2, 16, 23)
1. Jefferson College, Mo. (43-22)
2. Eastern Oklahoma State College (38-22)
3. Seminole State College, Okla. (40-15)
4. Connors State College, Okla. (39-20)

CENTRAL DISTRICT (Region 6)
1. Seward County Community College, Kan. (46-20)
2. Neosho County Community College, Kan. (46-14)
3. Cowley County Community College, Kan. (43-15)
4. Hutchinson Community College, Kan. (33-23)

NORTHERN DISTRICT (Regions 4, 11, 24)
1. Iowa Western Community College (43-20)
2. Wabash Valley College, Ill. (45-17)
3. John A. Logan College, Ill. (39-17)
4. South Suburban College, Ill. (35-27)

EAST CENTRAL DISTRICT (Regions 7, 17)
1. Middle Georgia College (37-20)
2. Walters State Community College, Tenn. (43-15)
3. Georgia Perimeter College (42-17)
4. Chattanooga State Community College, Tenn. (43-11)

EASTERN DISTRICT (Regions 10, 15, 20)
1. University of South Carolina – Sumter (41-11)
2. Spartanburg Methodist College, S.C. (38-17)
3. Pitt Community College, N.C. (38-13)
4. Potomac State of West Virginia University (38-12)

SOUTHEASTERN DISTRICT (Region 22)
1. Shelton State Community College, Ala. (36-19)
2. Faulkner State Community College, Ala. (33-23)
3. Wallace State Community College – Hanceville, Ala. (20-22)
4. Central Alabama Community College (32-19)

GULF DISTRICT (Region 8)
1. Chipola College, Fla. (42-20)
2. Santa Fe College, Fla. (37-11)
3. Miami Dade College, Fla. (33-18)
4. Northwest Florida State College (39-15)

SOUTHERN DISTRICT (Region 14)
1. Navarro College, Texas (46-18)
2. San Jacinto College – North, Texas (40-16)
3. Blinn College, Texas (39-17)
4. Alvin Community College, Texas (39-24)

ABOUT THE NJCAA DI BASEBALL RANKINGS
For the 2012 season, the NJCAA will release eight Division I baseball rankings on a bi-weekly basis at the beginning of the season and then weekly the last three weeks of the season based on the following schedule: Feb. 29, March 14, March 28, April 11, April 25, May 9, May 16 and May 23. The final poll date is determined by the start of the DI World Series.

Each NJCAA Region Director with Division I baseball will report the top teams in their respective region to NJCAA Headquarters each Monday, which is then compiled into a weekly region report. This report is then sent out to the NJCAA Division I voting panel, which consists of the 10 District Directors. Each District Director then compiles a Top 20 based on this report. (Rank order submitted by each region is honored.)

 

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