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2019 JUCO Division III Predictions And Preview

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(Photo by David Dennis/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

JUNIOR COLLEGE DIVISION III

HOW THEY’LL FINISH

  1. Tyler (Texas) JC
  2. Oakton (Ill.) JC
  3. Herkimer (N.Y.) JC
  4. Rowan Gloucester County (N.J.) JC
  5. Brookhaven (Texas) JC

LAST 10 CHAMPIONS
2018: Oakton (Ill.) JC
2017: Tyler (Texas) JC
2016: Tyler (Texas) JC
2015: Tyler (Texas) JC
2014: Tyler (Texas) JC
2013: Gloucester County (NJ)
2012: Joliet (IL)
2011: Eastfield (TX)
2010: Gloucester County (NJ)
2009: Richland (TX)

Tyler (Texas) JC

Tyler (Texas) JC’s attempt at a fifth-straight Division III title ended up falling three runs short as they lost 14-11 to Oakton (Ill.) JC in the championship game last year. Shortstop Hector Manon impressed in fall ball with his speed and a strong arm. Righthander Peyton Miller, a transfer from Panola (Texas) JC, has impressed with his low- to mid-90s fastball. First baseman Michael Morrissette (.336/.453/.540) is a lefthanded hitter with plenty of physicality.

Oakton (Ill.) JC

After winning a national title last season, Oakton (Ill.) JC had to replace a lot of last year’s stars, but they did have an excellent recruiting class that may be up to the task. Shortstop Manny Acosta and outfielder Steele Beatty should join first baseman Dan Sullivan and outfielder Marco Romero to anchor Oakton's lineup..

Herkimer (N.Y.) JC

Herkimer JC hit .377/.477/.630 as a team last season. Seven regulars from that lineup are back including outfielders Brendyn Stillman (.422/.549/.888) and Brandon Kruzinski (.330/.409/.608), as well as catcher Matt Parkinson. Stillman is a St. Bonaventure signee. Lefthanders Cole Miller, Keegan Leffler and Doug Rando should be joined by righthanders Ryan Lanaro, Matt Gonzales, Chris Godlewski and Tyler McDonnell to form a deep pitching staff. Dale Stanavich, a transfer from Marshall, could quickly earn a larger role as he has a strong three-pitch mix with a slider, changeup and a low-90s fastball.

Rowan College at Gloucester (N.J) JC

For a NJCAA D-III program, Rowan College at Gloucester (N.J) JC will light up the radar guns. Righthander Jack Billings, a transfer from Virginia Tech, leads the way with a fastball that touches 95 mph and a developing slider. Righthander Matt Stil can touch 93 mph and shows athleticism on the mound. Righthander Nick Yoder matches an 88-92 mph fastball with a decent slider. Catcher Alex Gattinelli has power potential if he can put last year’s back injury behind him.

Brookhaven (Texas) JC

Brookhaven (Texas) JC has won back-to-back region championships, but they may have bigger goals this year after bringing back almost all of the starting lineup from last year’s 33-20 team. Catcher Bryson Jolly (.367/.512/.622) has the power and strong arm coaches look for in a catcher. Corner infielder Kyler Grimsley is back after hitting .400/.497/.656 last season and third baseman C.J. Lavalvo (.394/.484/.600) returns as well. On the mound, lefthander Ryan Harris went 7-3, 3.69 last year and is back as the team’s ace.

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West Virginia Ace Alek Manoah Brings Big Presence To The Mound

West Virginia righthander Alek Manoah is surging on the mound and draft boards at just the right time.

Niagara County (N.Y.) JC

Niagara (N.Y.) JC has a number of interesting Division I signees. Catcher Joe Barberio, a Canisius signee, has a strong arm both behind the plate and on the mound, where he’s 90-92 mph. First baseman Vincent Chiarenza, another Canisius signee, hit .415/.515/.711 last year. Outfielder Garrett Boldt (.438/.517/.623) is a St. Bonaventure signee. Shortstop Kyle LaPlante will likely also end up at a D-I school next year. Righthander Gunner Becker will be asked to take on a larger role this season on the mound.

Brookdale (N.J.) CC

Brookdale (N.J.) CC could make life tough for hitters with sophomore lefthander Justin Fall, a 6-foot-7, 210-pounder who is an Arizona State signee, and lefthander Eric Heater, a transfer from Rutgers who pitches off an excellent changeup. Lefthander Jordan Winston and righthander John Martin give the Jersey Blues further pitching depth.

Century (Minn.) JC

Century (Minn.) JC should have one of the better pitching staffs in the Midwest JUCO ranks, led by Cole LaLonde, a 6-foot-4 righthander with an upper-80s fastball that touches higher, some projection and feel for pitching. The Wood Ducks offense will be more of a work in progress as the season begins.

Rockingham (N.C.) JC

After going just 25-21 last season, Rockingham (N.C.) JC could be significantly better this season thanks to a very experienced lineup. Seven starters from last year’s lineup are back including outfielder Gavin Taylor (.346/.456/.494) and infielder Zack McGinnis (.361/.493/.544). Shortstop/outfielder Kelsey Weems and outfielder/catcher Ausar Rankin could be very useful newcomers. The pitching staff isn’t as deep, so Rockingham will have to stay healthy.

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