JUCO: According to the numbers, best team doesn’t always win
Numbers are sacred in baseball.
How fast does a pitcher throw? How many feet did a home run travel? How well has a left-handed hitter done against a right-handed pitcher with runners on the corners?
Let’s face it, in baseball, numbers say a lot.
But how do numbers come in to play in the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series.
How many teams have won back-to-back championships (four: Mesa (Az.) Community College, 1970-72, Middle Georgia, 1979-80, San Jacinto North, 1985-87, Cowley County (Kan.) Community College 1997-98, Grayson County (Texas) College, 1999-2000).
How many teams finished JUCO undefeated: 15 teams, the most recent being the 2008 champion Grayson.
But the thing that is unique about a World Series environment is all 10 teams have an equal opportunity, from the first pitch to the final out recorded.
Looking at the final winning percentage of the JUCO championship team having the most regular season wins doesn’t guarantee a ring.
After 52 champions, the average winning is 80 percent by the winner. The average win/loss record is 43-10.
Looking at this year’s field strictly by the numbers, there are three teams who best fit the criteria.
Western Nevada College at 45-12 and a .780 winning percentage, and Cowley County Community College at 47-13 and .780 winning percentage are the closest below .800.
San Jacinto College is the closest to the .800 percent number at 82 percent with a 41-9 record.
But with any statistical gathering there are always two ends of the spectrum. Like the 1982 Middle Georgia College team that finished at .940, going 53-3.
Ranger (Texas) College is on the other end, winning the 1973 JUCO championship at .650 and a 39-21 record.
The two teams at the opposite ends of the spectrum this year are Howard (Texas) College, which holds the highest winning percentage at 98 percent with its 58-1 record. Santa Fe (Florida) College holds the lowest at 61 percent and a 32-20 record.
As the tournament enters it second day, two teams hope to not have the unfortunate distinction of
being the first team to go home as Western Nevada College takes on Iowa Western Community College at 10 a.m.