Prep Baseball Report

JUCO Wire: NJCAA Dl Top-25 April Update

By. Josh Fields
JUCO Wire Staff

The JUCO Wire staff updates the NJCAA Top-25 heading into April. A new team takes the No. 1 spot, some familiar faces return, and two new teams debut in this update.

+ No. 1 Iowa Western (27-5)

The Reivers take over the No. 1 spot after going 19-1 in the month of March. Starting March off on a nine-game winning streak before splitting with a tough Cloud County team and then going on a 10-game winning streak as a response. The Reivers boast a deep squad on both sides of the ball with 15 hitters batting over .300 on the year, their pitching staff is equally as impressive with two freshman right-handers, Noah Scott and Buddy Brands leading the way.

+ No. 2 Central Arizona (35-7)

Central Arizona has separated itself in Region 1 after going 19-2 in March, playing one of the more competitive schedules. The Vaqueros' pitching staff has held its ERA to 1.95 through March and is one of the top staffs in the nation. Offensively, the Vaqueros have had multiple bats step up and feature a balanced and deep lineup headlined by RS freshman Matt Quintanar and Sebastian Tomerlin.

+ No. 3 Gulf Coast State (25-6)

Gulf Coast State maintains their spot here at No. 3 after an up-and-down March that saw them split with Tallahassee and drop a close two-game series to Pensacola State. The Commodores boast a deep core of players on both sides of the ball. On offense, sophomore OF Michael Gupton has done it all, as the NC State transfer has been a key piece to the lineup. On the mound, a group of freshman pitchers, Ezequiel Rojas, Cooper Whited, Ben Clenney, Mason Laurito, and Lane Essary have stepped up in various roles throughout the staff.

+ No. 4 Weatherford (29-7)

The Coyotes went 17-3 across March, most recently winning 3-of-4 from Temple. They boast one of the more talented pitching staffs in the country, led by Robert Fortenberry, Cade Crossland, Cody Morse, and Tanner Wiggins, who all play key roles on the staff.

+ No. 5 Gaston (38-3)

Gaston was in the middle of a 20+ game win streak before running into a quality Spartanburg Methodist team where they would lose game one of the series and then win the final three. Gaston looks to keep rolling heading into April before facing off against Florence-Darlington Tech at the end of the month

+ No. 6 Johnson County (29-7)

Johnson County won 16 games this past month, splitting with Cloud County before sweeping Neosho County and taking 3-of-4 from Fort Scott. At the plate, Dagen Brewer has broken out as one of the more dangerous bats in the region, swatting 13 home runs while batting .472 and driving in 56 runs so far this season. Johnson County has no shortage of talent on the mound, as right-handers Ryan Borberg and Josiah Golden have been consistent performers throughout the season.

+ No. 7 Salt Lake (29-5)

Salt Lake picked up three of their five losses this past month, one from Southern Idaho, where they won 3-of-4, and then two when they split with Southern Nevada. On the mound, Salt Lake is another team with a talented pitching staff with a number of players stepping up into different roles throughout the season.

+ No. 8 Georgia Highlands (33-6)

After a strong start to March, Georgia Highlands is 6-4 in their last 10 games with a loss to Abraham Baldwin and Gordon State while splitting with East Georgia State. Looking ahead the Chargers will play Gordon State three more times before taking on South Georgia State.

+ No. 9 Walters State (29-9)

The Senators went 16-3 over since our last update and are currently on a four-game winning streak heading into a weekend series against Volunteer State. Sophomore infielder Deniel Ortiz has emerged as not only a top uncommitted bat but one of the top bats in the nation, hitting 10 home runs so far, with nearly twice as many walks as strikeouts.

+ No. 10 Pensacola State (27-8)

Pensacola State has been up and down since our last update. However, they played one of the tougher schedules in March and earned quality wins against Delago (2), Chipola, Northwest Florida State, and sweeping Gulf Coast State.

+ No. 11 Crowder (30-9)

Crowder went 19-4 across March and took 3-of-4 from a strong St. Charles squad before preparing for a four-game series against Jefferson this weekend. Crowder has a deep lineup of talented hitters, notably uncommitted infielder Joey Morton, who is the run producer in the lineup, driving in 58 runs while hitting over .400 on the season.

+ No. 12 Tyler (28-9)

The Apaches had a rough start to March, going 6-4 in their first 10 games. They bounced back after going 6-1 with a win over McLennan to end the month. Tyler will look to continue their winning ways heading into the last full month of the season.

+ No. 13 Arizona Western (31-7)

Arizona Western went 15-2 while playing strong competition like Cochise, Chandler-Gilbert, Mesa, and Glendale, going 7-1 in the games against them. Heading into April, Arizona Western’s schedule does not get any easier, with Eastern Arizona, Central Arizona, Pima, and Cochise back on the schedule to finish the year.

+ No. 14 McLennan (23-12)

McLennan went 15-6 since our last update notching some quality wins on the way, a close 11-10 win over San Jacinto, and taking 3-of-4 from Temple. Looking ahead in April, McLennan will not have an easy schedule to close out the year playing some of the better competition in Texas.

+ No. 15 John A. Logan (30-4)

The Volunteers only lost two games in March when they dropped 2-of-3 to a quality Kaskaskia squad. Otherwise handling the competition they faced, the Volunteers will look ahead to a tough matchup against Southwestern Illinois to start April.

+ No. 16 Florence-Darlington Tech (32-5)

After a perfect March in which they did not lose a game, Florence-Darlington Tech climbs to No. 16 and will look to build on the standout month. Looking ahead, the Stingers have a tough April, starting with a four-game series against Spartanburg Methodist, then two games at Walters State, and a tough four-game series at Gaston.

+ No. 17 Northwest Florida State (23-10)

Northwest Florida State played one of the tougher March schedules playing Chipola six times, winning three of those contests, and splitting a pair of two-game series with Gulf Coast State and Pensacola State. Looking ahead, Northwest Florida State will play Gulf Coast State to start April and finish the month with a pair of four-game series against Tallahassee and Pensacola State.

+ No. 18 Chipola (24-13)

Like many of the other Florida programs, Chipola also faced a tough slate of games in March. Across March Chipola split six games with Northwest Florida State, Pensacola State. Looking ahead to April, Chipola will be tested again with a series against Pensacola State and Gulf Coast State, finishing their season against Tallahassee.

+ No. 19 Kansas City Kansas (28-3)

Kansas City Kansas was nearly perfect throughout March outside of a 3-of-4 series finish against Coffeyville. Starting off April with a weekend series against Cowley will be a true test for the Blue Devils.

+ No. 20 San Jacinto (22-13)

Welcoming back the Ravens to the Top-25 in this update after finding their grove in March. Always loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, San Jacinto has the potential to make some noise in Region 14 as they close out the regular season.

+ No. 21 Blinn (22-12)

Moving up four spots after a strong March, Blinn will look to finish out region play strong with a strong April. The Buccaneers will play strong regional opponents in April, with three games against San Jacinto and four games against Galveston. The month will be finished with three games against Wharton County.

+ No. 22 Cowley (23-10)

The Tigers rejoined the Top-25 in this update as well after notching 18 wins in March, including taking 3-of-4 from Indian Hills. Looking ahead, Cowley has one of the tougher April slates, starting with four games against Kansas City Kansas four games against Johnson County to close the month.

+ No. 23 Indian Hills (23-5)

Our first newcomer to the Top-25 the Warriors have a deep core group of hitters as a team they are hitting .353/.466/.495. Leading the offense is sophomore infielder Raul Torres who leads the team in RBIs at 36 and is hitting over .400 on the year so far.

+ No. 24 Pima (32-10)

Another team making their Top-25 debut, the Aztecs have performed well throughout the month of March, playing tough competition throughout. Playing in a tough region, the Aztecs will finish region play playing some of the top teams from Region 1 with Eastern Arizona, Central Arizona, Cochise, and Arizona Western on the schedule for April.

+ No. 25 New Mexico (25-9)

New Mexico finds themselves back on the Top-25 after a 17-3 March. Offensively, Brent Iredale has led the lineup all year, swatting 17 home runs and driving in 53 runs while maintaining a .427 average on the year.

Receiving Votes (Alphabetical Order): Barton (KS), Chattanooga State (TN), Cloud County (KS), Connors State (OK), Delgado (LA), Eastern Arizona, Harford (MD), Midland (TX), Southern Nevada, Wabash Valley (IL)