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Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Norwood launches into final regular season baseball poll

By Brendan Hall

We updated our statewide MIAA Top 25 baseball poll this afternoon. To view it, CLICK HERE.

This will be the final poll update of the 2013 regular season. We will update the poll once more following the conclusion of the MIAA state tournament later this month.

A few notes and observations about the final regular season poll:

Norwood skyrockets back into poll: After an unprecedented week in which they knocked off Walpole, Newton North and Xaverian in succession, Norwood jumps back into the poll for the first time in several weeks, launching into the countdown at No. 6. They come in ahead of Bay State Conference counterparts Walpole (8), Newton North (10) and Braintree (15).

The Mustangs were a preseason Top 20 selection and earned the Bay State Herget crown with the Walpole win, locking up a No. 2 overall seed in Division 1 South in the process. Their reward? A first-round rematch with defending state champ Xaverian, just five days after the Mustangs downed them 6-5.

Will anybody knock off Prep? St. John's Prep concluded the regular season running off 19 straight wins to grab the No. 1 overall seed in Division 1 North. For that, they remain the No. 1 team in the land, as they have since the third week of the regular season. The Eagles are considered one of several heavy favorites in the field this year. BC High (2), St. John's of Shrewsbury (3), East Longmeadow (4) and Silver Lake (5) round out the top five.

Returns and debuts: In a move that is sure to inspire some debate, defending state champ and preseason No. 1 Xaverian returns to the poll, at No. 14, after a lengthy absence from the poll. The Hawks have done well in their last six games, which includes wins over Catholic Memorial, St. John's of Shrewsbury and Rhode Island powerhouse Bishop Hendricken. They qualified for postseason with a win over Millis last week, and now face Norwood in the first round.

For those who recall, Xaverian also came into the tournament last year at 12-8, drew No. 2 seed Walpole in the first round, and used that win to springboard all the way to the state championship.

Also making returns this week are Agawam (23) and Nauset (24), while Burlington (22) and Abington (25) make their season debuts.

As always, here's how the poll breaks down by league affiliation.

Bay State - 4
Catholic Conference - 3
Northeastern - 3
Southern Worcester County - 2
Valley League - 2
Atlantic Coast - 1
Cape Ann - 1
Central Mass. Conference - 1
Eastern Athletic - 1
Greater Boston - 1
Mid-Wach B - 1
Middlesex - 1
Old Colony - 1
Patriot - 1
South Shore - 1
Valley Wheel - 1