Salt Lake Community College tops JUCO poll

There’s a new No. 1 ranked team in the Perfect Game USA/National Junior College Athletic Association baseball poll.

Salt Lake (Utah) Community College (30-2) moved up two spots to No. 1 in the latest poll released Wednesday. The Bruins, who didn’t have any votes in the preseason poll and were third in previous poll, have never qualified for the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series in the program’s 15-year history. The JUCO World Series begins May 28.

“I knew in the fall that we had a pretty tough team mainly because we really competed well against a tough schedule,” Salt Lake coach David Nelson told Perfect Game USA. “It’s the best group I’ve ever had here, mainly because it is so competitive.”

This is the fourth straight time a new team is atop the rankings. Perfect Game USA is the NJCAA poll title sponsor.

Chattanooga State (Tenn.) Community College (28-3) is second, 2008 national champion Grayson County (Texas) College (26-7) is third, Polk State (Fla.) College (28-5) is fourth and Santa Fe (Fla.) College (27-6) is fifth.

Miami Dade (Fla.) College, Howard (Texas) College, San Jacinto (Texas) College, Northwest Florida State College and Walters State (Tenn.) Community College round out the top 10. The 2010 champion, Iowa Western Community College (14-15), is not ranked.

Salt Lake has won 29 of its past 30 games and swept the College of Eastern Utah in a four-game series last weekend.

The Bruins are hitting .358 as a team and have scored 255 runs while limiting their opponents to 81.

Braden Anderson leads the team with a .407 average. He has seven doubles, two triples, 27 RBI and has scored 30 runs. Grand Junction’s Aaron Berk is a backup catcher on the team.

The Salt Lake pitching staff has been just as good with a 2.22 ERA led by Adam Gunn (5-0, 1.53 ERA) and Tyson Memmott (5-0, 1.86 ERA).

The rest of the roster is made up of a mix of freshmen and sophomores, mostly from Utah.

Salt Lake plays in the same region as Community College of Southern Nevada and Colorado Northwestern Community College.

Banquet Tickets

Tickets for the 54th annual NJCAA JUCO World Series banquet go on sale Friday at the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, 260 Grand Avenue, and at Home Loan, 4th and Rood.

The keynote speaker is former New York Yankees great Bernie Williams. The center fielder played 16 years and won four World Series titles with the organization. He was the 1996 ALCS MVP and a five-time all-star.

The banquet takes place at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 27 at Two Rivers Convention Center.

The banquet is Grand Junction’s first chance to meet and honor the JUCO tournament players and coaches. New members of the NJCAA Coaches Hall of Fame are inducted as well.

Tickets are $40 each and includes a full dinner. A limited number of tables for 10 are available.

For more information call 245-9166.


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