Prep Baseball Report

JUCO Wire: NJCAA DII Top-25, First Look

By. Andy Sroka and Josh Fields
JUCO Wire Staff

The 2024 NJCAA Division ll season has been underway for over a month now, and despite the varying opening days across the nation's top DII JUCO programs, we’re prepared to share our first look at the Prep Baseball JUCO Wire Division II Top-25 Rankings. Two undefeated teams pace the group, and they also happen to be two of the busiest teams of the young season so far.

Earlier today, we updated the JUCO Wire Division I Top-25 Rankings, and we previously published our top-150 prospects prior to the start of the season.

We included notes on these DII squads’ season so far, led by the powerhouse LSU Eunice program guided by one of the winningest head coaches at the junior college level, Jeff Willis.

+ No. 1 LSU Eunice (17-0)

LSU Eunice has started off their 2024 campaign undefeated through 17 games. The Bengals have been getting contributions from everywhere on their roster in the early going. They will be back in action with a four-game series against Garrett this upcoming weekend.

+ No. 2 East Central (MS) (18-0)

Another undefeated team, East Central has picked up several quality wins to start the year. Early in February, they picked up a pair of wins against St. Charles, and a win against South Arkansas, more recently they won single games against Meridian and East Mississippi.

+ No. 3 Heartland (4-2)

The Hawks opened the season at a 4-2 record with a win against Pearl River. Offensively TJ Williams and Corey Boyette will be key contributors in this lineup, on the mound Nick Kolze and Luke Wright will hold down the top of the rotation.

+ No. 4 Pearl River (16-5)

The Wildcats have faced a tough slate of games in their first month of the season and are currently riding a three-game win streak heading into March. Picking up quality wins against Florida SouthWestern and Miami Dade, also picking up wins against Jones, South Arkansas, and Mississippi Gulf Coast.

+ No. 5 Wallace-Dothan (13-4)

Wallace-Dothan started their season playing some of the top competition in the country regardless of division. Picking up early wins against Meridian, State College of Florida, and Chipola. Freshman Cason Eubanks has provided some pop in the lineup leading the team in extra-base hits. On the mound, the Governors have a steady crop of pitchers to monitor throughout the season.

+ No. 6 Madison (1-0)

The WolfPack opened their season 1-0 and look to be a contender once again in Region 4 and beyond. Loaded with sophomores and depth the WolfPack will look to continue their start next week down in Arizona.

+ No. 7 Palm Beach State (11-4)

Palm Beach State opened their 2024 season off 11-4 while playing some tough competition, dropping an early season matchup against both Chipola and Florida SouthWestern. The Panthers will look to continue their start this weekend against Pasco-Hernando.

+ No. 8 Iowa Central (7-0)

The Tritons opened the season on a seven-game win streak and look to continue their winning ways heading into March. Sophomore Troy Berg and Redshirt freshman Harrison Bowman have been run producers and the top performers on offense to start the season.

+ No. 9 Southeastern (7-2)

Winners of their last six games as last year's national runner-ups will look to extend their streak today as they play Illinois Central for a doubleheader. Offensively a pair of sophomores Cole Smith and Caleb Wulf have been key contributors early this season.

+ No. 10 Meridian (11-7)

Meridian has played some of the top competition so far this season, an early loss to Wallace-Dothan and then picking up wins against McLennan and Miami Dade. Sophomores Rhett Ketchum and Landon Waters have been key pieces of the lineup and on the mound respectively.

+ No. 11 St. Johns River State (13-9)

St. Johns River started the year on a six-game win streak before losing to Gulf Coast State. Later picking up wins against Wabash Valley and Santa Fe, they will be back in action against Florida State Jacksonville today for a double header.

+ No. 12 Kirkwood (10-3)

The Eagles started their season 10-3 and are currently on a five-game win streak. On offense, sophomores Miles Risley and Brayden Hellum have gotten off to hot starts while on the mound their top four-inning getters each have a sub-4.00 ERA.

+ No. 13 Frederick (5-1)

Frederick got their season started off this past weekend and is now on a five-game win streak. Sophomores Bryce Curry and Christian Cabina have taken over as the run producers early on while freshman Josh Erd and sophomore Nick Keane have also been key pieces to the lineup.

+ No. 14 Jones (17-3)

Jones opened their season on a 10-game win streak and has gone 7-3 since, two of those losses were against top-5 teams Pearl River and East Central (MS). At the plate, Evan Rogers, Colton Hegwood, and Brady Thomas have taken over as run-producers.

+ No. 15 Glendale (20-2)

Glendale has gotten off to a 20-2 start heading into March where they will face Chandler-Gilbert to start. At the plate, Erubiel Ortiz has been the top run-producer and leads the team in extra-base hits with 18.

+ No. 16 Mesa (14-4)

The Thunderbirds got off to a 14-4 start to their 2024 campaign and have earned a pair of wins against Chandler-Gilbert. Sophomore Josh DeGroot has gotten off to a strong start for the Thunderbirds slashing .345/.471/.455 through 18 games. On the mound, the pitching staff has pitched to a 3.34 ERA so far.

+ No. 17 Brunswick (11-1)

Currently, on a nine-game win streak, the Dolphins are hitting over .300 as a team with sophomore Jaxson Croom and freshman Colby Thorndyke stepping up as big pieces to the lineup. On the mound, a pair of redshirt sophomores, Dawson Neal and Chad Bean, have emerged as key players moving forward.

+ No. 18 East Mississippi (13-6)

The Lions started their season winning five straight and are 9-2 when they play at home. Offensively the lineup has swatted 35 home runs with sophomore Evan Radford accounting for eight of those alone.

+ No. 19 Chandler-Gilbert (12-5)

The Coyotes are off to a 12-5 start and are currently on a three-game win streak heading into March. The sophomore-heavy lineup is being led by Easton Bryant, Ben Hoshizaki, and Dante Turgeon who have performed well to start the year. On the mound, they are led by sophomores Jacob Anderson and Nick Fontaine who each have two wins to start the year.

+ No. 20 East Central (MO) (12-2)

East Central (MO) got off to a 12-2 start where they have outscored their opponents 154-95 through 14 games. Leading them at the plate are freshmen Josh McClintock, Joey Alfonso, Cory Chostner, Adam Hanan, and Matis Crouwel who are prospects to monitor going forward.

+ No. 21 Paradise Valley (14-6)

After getting off to a 0-2 start the Pumas rattled off 14 straight wins. On the mound, several arms have stood out, Cayden Collins, Cody Albright, Cole Dickson, and Ian Koosman have performed well when called upon early this season. At the plate, freshman Jackson Babione has emerged as a name-to-watch hitting .443/.507/.754 through 18 games played.

+ No. 22 Cleveland (10-6)

The Yetis are on a four-game win streak heading into March where they will face USC Union to open the month. On the mound, freshman Ian Hawk has emerged as a reliable arm on the staff pitching to a 3.15 ERA across 20 innings.

+ No. 23 Mississippi Gulf Coast (12-5)

The Bulldogs are off to a 12-5 start with quality wins against East Mississippi and Lansing late in February. The top four hitters in this lineup, two freshmen Dom Jackson and Keilon Parne, and two sophomores Brandon Cain and Marc Stephens have been key contributors to start the season.

+ No. 24 Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa (13-6)

The Mavericks offense has been hot to open the 2024 season as a team they are slashing .356/.478/.585 with redshirt sophomore Landen Johnson leading the team with 17 extra-base hits. On the mound, freshman Logan Taylor has pitched to a 1.90 ERA in 23.2 innings out of the ‘pen.

+ No. 25 Lansing (2-2)

The Stars are off the a 2-2 start early this season and will be traveling down to Mississippi this weekend where they will face Southwest Mississippi, Meridian, and East Central (MS). The offense will be led by freshman Jack Backus and Aamir Mitchell.

Receiving Votes (Alphabetical Order): ASU Mountain Home (AR), Hinds (MS), Kellogg (MI), Lenoir (NC), Lincoln Land (IL), Murray State (OK), Northeast Mississippi, Northern Oklahoma-Enid, Northwest Mississippi, Parkland (IL), Pasco-Hernando State (FL), Patrick & Henry (VA), Wallace-Selma (AL), Western Oklahoma State.