- Brendan C. Hall, ESPN Staff Writer
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We unveiled our first statewide MIAA Top 25 baseball poll for the 2014 season. To view it, CLICK HERE.
The next poll update will be on Friday, April 11.
A few notes and observations about this first poll of the season:
B-R maintains top spot: After capturing its first Division 1 state championship in school history last spring, Bridgewater-Raynham finished No. 1 in our final 2013 poll. Today, the Trojans pick up right where they left off, maintaining the top spot in the land. Led by Virginia Tech-bound catcher Joe Freiday, along with a dynamic 1-2 punch of junior staff aces Jack Connolly (Notre Dame) and Andrew Noviello (Maine), the Trojans are a favorite to repeat as state champs and earn a coveted berth in the inaugural Division 1A "Super Eight" tournament.
Strong showing for Central Mass.: St. John's of Shrewsbury is a solid No. 2 in the poll to start the season, behind a trio of ACC commits. NC State-bound catcher Scott Manea exploded over the offseason after hitting .320 during the high school season, and in some circles is being discussed as a potential June draft pick. Meanwhile, Notre Dame-bound junior righty Shane Combs, a transplant from St. Louis, should bring depth to the rotation.
After the Pioneers, there doesn't appear to be a consensus as to how the pecking order in Central Mass. But there is a deep pool of talent in the district, as four other CMass teams start this season ranked: Northbridge (12), Leominster (13), Shepherd Hill (16) and last year's Division 1 runner-up, Nashoba (24).
Bay State, Catholic Conference represented well: The Bay State Conference has the most representation, with four members in the poll, led by Braintree at No. 4 and followed by Walpole (9), Newton North (15) and Norwood (18). The Catholic Conference also has a strong showing with three members: Xaverian (6), Boston College High (10) and St. John's Prep (11). The other big winner is the Valley League, also with three members: Westfield (7), Springfield Cathedral (8) and Agawam (20).
Here is how the poll breaks down by league affiliation:
Bay State - 4
Catholic Conference - 3
Valley League - 3
Dual County - 2
Merrimack Valley - 2
Southern Worcester County - 2
Atlantic Coast - 1
Central Mass. Conference - 1
Hockomock - 1
Mid-Wach A - 1
Mid-Wach B - 1
Northeastern - 1
Old Colony - 1
Patriot - 1
11hAndy Smith, Special to ESPNBoston.com
1dJohn McGuirk, Special to ESPNBoston.com
5dBrendan C. Hall
5dJohn McGuirk, Special to ESPNBoston.com
5dBrendan C. Hall
6dBrendan C. Hall
9dBrendan C. Hall
11dNate Weitzer, Special to ESPNBoston.com
12dJohn McGuirk, Special to ESPNBoston.com