Wednesday, June 27, 2018

MIAA Baseball: Final Top 25 Poll of 2018

By Matt Feld (@Mattyfeld612)

To cap off our content for the 2018 MIAA Baseball season, SuiteSports is ready to release its final Top 25 Poll.

There is little drama when it comes to number one, while North Attleboro, Austin Prep, Archbishop Williams, and Needham all finish in the top 15 behind their state championship runs.

Here is our final top 25 poll for the 2018 MIAA Baseball Season as chosen by our panel of writers, correspondents, and editors.

1. Franklin (21-5): Franklin went from being the last team voted into Super Eight to taking home the tournament's title as a seven seed. Staff aces Jake Noviello and Bryan Woelfel graduate, but with Alex Haba and Jake Macchi back in the fold the Panthers should compete once again in 2019.

2. Central Catholic (18-7): Despite being without ace Steve Hajjar for the Super Eight, the Raiders came within two runs of a championship. Central Catholic now says goodbye to a loaded senior class that includes Hajjar, Dominic Keegan, Noah Lucier, and Sean Thompson.

3. Boston College High (18-7): For the third time in four seasons, BC High fell in the Super Eight semifinals. The Eagles graduate 14 seniors including seven starters, highlighted by ace Mike Vasil who won 64 career games.

4. Walpole (17-7): It was quite the season for Walpole as the Rebels made their first Super Eight in program history before winning a pair of games to reach the tournament’s final four. With Cam Schlittler and Jack Magane highlighting a strong returning core, Walpole could be the team to beat in 2019.

5. Wachusett (21-4): Wachusett may have only won one game in the Super Eight, but it was still a banner year for the Mountaineers program. They won over 20 games and with star shortstop Mike Maher and centerfielder Barry Walsh only juniors, Wachusett will have super aspirations once again next spring.

6. St. John’s Prep (17-7): The Eagles survived much of the regular season despite injuries, but those took a toll come the postseason. Max Gieg and Alex Lane will be two of the top players in Massachusetts in 2019.

7. Mansfield (19-5): It was a record setting year for Mansfield as they reached the Super Eight for the first time in school history and won 19 games. To say Joe Breen has this program on the right track would be an understatement.

8. Lexington (16-8): Coming into the year the Minutemen had high expectations and certainly met them. Behind the Boston College bound Sal Frelick as well as Jack Pawlowski, Lexington reached the Super Eight tournament before falling victim to St. John’s Prep and Wachusett.

9. North Attlteboro (26-2): It was quite the first year for head coach Mike Hart as the Red Rocketeers stormed through Division 2 to win their first state title in program history.

10. Austin Prep (24-2): Austin Prep made the most of its Super Eight snub, taking home the Division 3 state championship for its first title. Logan Bravo and Peter Burns will certainly be tough to replace, but Cam Seguin and Colin Jaena showed signs of how good the Cougars pitching staff may be in 2019.

11. Needham (18-8): What a second half for the Rockets who went from being an under .500 baseball team to the Division 1 State Champion. The four-run comeback in the top of the seventh versus St. Peter-Marian to claim the title was simply icing on the cake. 

12. St. Peter-Marian (19-8): The Guardians were three outs away from a state championship only to see Needham come storming back in the seventh. Still, it was quite the season for St. Peter-Marian as they finished 19-8 and have a star in the making on the mound in Luke Delongchamp.

13. Beverly (20-5): Beverly had a terrific run to the Div. 2 State Final largely behind the arm and bat of Spencer Brown as they knocked off St. Mary’s in nine innings, Burlington, and Masconomet. 

14. Archbishop Williams (18-9): The Bishops entered the Div. 4 South tournament as the twelfth seed but rattled off seven straight wins to win their first state championship since 1995. David Ryan is etched in program lore.

15. Boston Latin (18-6): Boston Latin won its first sectional title in program history before falling to Needham in the Div. 1 State-Semifinals. 

16. Wellesley (19-6): For the second straight season, Wellesley reached the Div. 1 South Final while defeating Xaverian twice and Walpole. With Henry Weycker back for another season there is no reason to expect the Raiders cannot continue to build off 
their recent success.

17. Masconomet (21-3): Masconomet was on fire before running into Beverly in the Div. 2 North Final. Replacing a duo like Andrew Manni and David Hunter is as challenging as it comes.

18. Leominster (16-7): The Blue Devils came within two runs of a District Title. With ace Pat Gallagher back in 2019, Leomsinster is sure to be on everybody’s radar.

19. Lowell (15-8): All things considered, it was a quality season for the Red Raiders who followed up a Div. 1 North Title with another appearance in the sectional final. 

20. Plymouth North (16-5): The Blue Eagles looked like the odds-on favorite in Div. 1 South but were dealt a stunning upset by No. 16 seed Marshfield. Donnie Cohoon goes down as one the top players in recent Patriot League memory.

21. Dedham (20-5): Don Savi’s group navigated a tough Div. 3 South Field before being a hit away from upsetting Austin Prep in the state semi-finals.

22. Lynnfield (19-5): The Pioneers had a terrific season, beating Div. 2 powers Masconomet and Belmont as well as making a run to the Div. 3 North Final. Left-hander Fernandez Gonzalez is sure to be one to watch come next spring.

23. Belmont (15-6): One season after making their first Super Eight appearance, the Marauders had another successful regular season going 15-5. Nate Espelin finished his terrific career in style striking out 17 in Belmont’s postseason opener versus Arlington.

24. Xaverian (13-9): The Catholic Conference champions saw a chance at Div. 1 South title go by the boards when Wellesley rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth. With Jack Whorf leading the offense, the Hawks should be back in the Super Eight discussion in the near future.

25. Hamilton-Wenham (18-5): Hamilton-Wenham certainly proved they can play with anyone both within and outside of Div. 4 this spring, and with a loaded class coming back the Generals should be the state-wide favorite in 2019.

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