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B-R is No. 1 in first baseball poll of 2014

4/4/2014

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