JUCO baseball in Texas includes San Jacinto Gators, Grayson Vikings, Howard Hawks, Kilgore Rangers and Northeast Texas Eagles.
Junior college baseball, also known as JUCO baseball, has been a fostering ground for many of the top players in the country. It has been a staple of Texas baseball for years, and its prevalence continues to grow.
From the storied programs of Blinn College and McLennan Community College to the rising stars of Grayson College and Weatherford College, the state of Texas has produced remarkable baseball players over the years.
Best JUCO baseball teams in Texas are:
- San Jacinto College - 5
- Grayson College - 3
- Howard College - 2
- McLennan Community College - 2
- Ranger Junior College - 2
- Galveston College - 1
- Hillsborough Community College - 1
- Navarro College - 1
- North Central Texas College - 1
- Northeast Texas Community College - 1
- Paris Junior College - 1
- Panola College - 1
Galveston College won the JUCO Division I Championship once in the year 1994. Jose Rosado was a key player in the team's run to the title.
The community college, located in Galveston, Texas, is represented by the Whitecaps baseball team. They have achieved success in regional and district competitions.
The baseball program at Galveston College has nurtured many exceptional players who have successfully advanced to prestigious colleges and universities, while some received the incredible opportunity to be drafted by professional teams in MLB.
Among the athletes present, Brandon Backe is a formidable pitcher renowned for his tenure with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in Major League Baseball. Backe notably contributed to the Boston Red Sox's triumph as the 2004 MLB World Series champions.
Keith Foulke, a former distinguished outfielder at Galveston, played a pivotal role in securing the title of World Series Champion with the Florida Marlins in 2003.
Grayson College which is located in Denison Texas has clinched the Juco Baseball World Series three times. They emerged victorious in 1999, 2000 and 2008.
With three championship titles, the Vikings stood among the best JUCO baseball programs in the Texas region. They have consistently ranked one of the top programs in junior college baseball.
The team plays its home games at Dub Hayes Field, a well-maintained baseball facility on the Grayson College campus.
Grayson serves as a stepping stone for many players who aspire to continue their baseball careers at four-year colleges and universities. The program has a track record of sending players to Division I schools and professional baseball organizations.
Andy LaRoche, John Lackey, and Steven Okert are a few names who made it to the professional level. Lackey played for the Chicago Cubs and LA Angels in MLB.
Hillsborough Community College
Hillsborough Community College won the 1988 NJCAA JUCO baseball Division I title. The college is situated in Hillsboro, Texas.
With the blessings of players like Chris Hanks and Southern Idaho, Hills College claimed its first junior World Series championship in 1988.
The program has produced many talented players who have gone on to play professional baseball. Several players from HCC have been selected in the Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft, including pitchers and position players.
Notable alumni who have reached the MLB include David Richardson, James Mallard, Bruce Pugh Jr, Bryan Lavastida, Chase Ingram, and many more. Richardson joined the Baltimore Orioles in 2010, a year after Mallard joined the Los Angeles Angels.
Similarly, the New York Mets picked former HCC pitcher Chase Ingram in the 6th round of the 2015 MLB draft.
Howard College located in Big Spring is one of the baseball Colleges In Texas. The Hawks have won two NJCAA baseball championships.
Established in 1945 as Howard County Junior College and later renamed Howard College in 1974, the institution's baseball team secured their first Junior College World Series victory, and they would go on to capture the prestigious title again in 2009.
During the 2009 season, the team boasted an impressive record of 63 wins and only one loss, solidifying their dominance. A key player in this triumph was Andrew Collazo.
The baseball program at Howard has become synonymous with excellence and has nurtured talented individuals who have earned success at the highest level.
Among them is Brandon Claussen, who donned the Cincinnati Reds jersey. Another standout alumnus is Tyler Collins, who made his mark as a member of the Detroit Tigers.
McLennan Community College
McLennan Community College is a two-time JUCO baseball Division I champion, having won recently in 2021 for the second time.
Regarding junior college baseball in Texas, McLennan Highlanders is a name that cannot be ignored. The campus program has been a powerhouse in the age-level baseball world for decades.
Established in 1965, McLennan holds an esteemed position in the realm of baseball. Located in McLennan County, Texas, the college boasts an impressive history on the diamond.
In 1983 and 2021, the college's baseball team triumphed as the JUCO World Series Division I Champions, solidifying their place among the elite.
In addition, McLennan Community College has a long history of producing outstanding athletes who have gone on to major league success.
Notable names include Jay Buhner, who donned the colors of the Cincinnati Reds, Sean Henn, who played for the New York Yankees, and Sean Lowe, who experienced stints with the Colorado Rockies, New York Yankees, and Atlanta Braves.
Navarro College is the 2011 JUCO Division I College World Series champion. Situated in Corsicana, Texas, the college was founded in 1946 by a group of locals.
Since its formation, Navarro has been on the rise to be one of the top colleges in the province when it comes to education and sports.
The Navarro Bulldogs baseball team scripted a tale of heroics and triumph in 2011 when they reigned supreme in the NJCAA Junior College World Series, ultimately beating Central Arizona College in an epic showdown.
Besides, Navarro College has produced several notable players who have left their influence in Major League Baseball. One standout is Chris Davis, who played for the Texas Rangers and the Baltimore Orioles.
Another player who emerged from the Bulldogs is JD Hammer, a talented pitcher who found his way to the Philadelphia Phillies. Additionally, Tano Tijerina, a pitcher, made his way to the Milwaukee Brewers after honing his craft at Navarro.
North Central Texas College
North Central Texas College claimed the JUCO World Series Division I championship in 2001. It took place from May 26 to June 1 at Sam Suplizio Field in Grand Junction, Colorado.
After a series of intense matches, North Central Texas College and Dixie State College of Utah advanced to the championship game.
Ultimately, North Central Texas College emerged victorious in a tight battle, defeating Dixie State College of Utah, 7-6. Coached by Kevin Darwin, The Lions had the blessing of exceptional player Blake Justice who later committed to play for Texas College in Gainesville.
Established in 1924, the North Central is one of the oldest institutions to play in the competition. JR Towles, the former MLB pitcher for the Houston Astros attended the college.
Northeast Texas Community College
The Northeast Texas Community College baseball team also known as the Eagles, clinched the NJCAA Division 1 National Championship in 1996.
The public community academy, located in Mount Pleasant, Texas, has had a strong passion for baseball ever since its establishment.
The Eagles play their home games at Eagle Field, a 1200-seated playing field that serves as the backdrop for the team's performances, in front of their devoted fans.
Northeast Texas tasted its biggest achievement in college baseball annals when its team led by coach Greg Henry won the World Series in 1996. Among many players, Robert Vaz had a fantastic run in the entire campaign ushering the Eagles to glory.
Paris Junior College
Paris Junior College baseball team was represented by the Paris Panthers and participated in the East Texas League in the 40s and 50s.
During their inaugural season in 1949, the team was under the oversight of Jim Walkup. Notably, they had the talented Major League Baseball player Bob Prichard as a member of their roster.
Moving on to the subsequent year, the 1950 season saw the Panthers encounter significant difficulties, leading to their disbandment on July 20.
While the reasons for the team's dissolution are not specified, various factors such as financial constraints, operational challenges, or a lack of success on the field could have contributed to this outcome.
Later it was rebranded as Paris Junior College, and the Class-C minor league baseball team from Paris, Texas, became crowned champion of the JUCO baseball Division I in 1959, thanks to the contribution of players like Glendell Baker.
Panola College baseball team competes in Junior National Division I World Series. The institution is located in Carthage, Texas.
One of their most memorable achievements came in 1969 when they clinched the prestigious NJCAA Division I College World Series championship. A key player in their conquest was the talented Doug Ault, whose contributions were instrumental to their victory.
The team proudly represents their college at the Panola Baseball Fields, situated on Ball Park Road.
Over the years, Panola College has produced several noteworthy players who have played in Major League Baseball (MLB). Among them is Chad Dallas, who honed his skills at the college before joining the Toronto Blue Jays minor league system.
Ranger Junior College
Ranger Junior College emerged as the champion of the NJCAA Division I College World Series twice in 1973 and 1978.
Located in Texas, the institution has a rich history in baseball, with notable achievements and talented players making their mark in the sport.
Five years after their first junior national baseball championship, another triumph followed in 1978, as Ranger Junior College clinched the title again, with the contributions of key player Jim Mick.
The team proudly calls Ellis Burks Field their home, a name significant for Ranger College. The field honors Ellis Burks, an accomplished Major League Baseball player who attended and graduated from the college.
Ranger Junior College has also produced notable players who have made their mark in the Major Leagues. One such player is Jim Morris, who went on to join the ranks of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
San Jacinto College
San Jacinto College is the most successful NJCAA Baseball Teams in Texas. The Gators have won the Division I College World Series 5 times.
Among the most talked about baseball teams in Houston Texas, San Jacinto North Gators dominated the JUCO baseball in the 80s era. The renowned institution in Grand Junction has established itself as a consistent force in baseball over the years.
With a talented player Randy Randle on their roster, the college baseball program lifted its first NJCAA title in 1985, followed by consecutive victories in 1986 and 1987.
Furthermore, the Blue and Gold notched two further junior baseball championships in 1989 and 1990, with David Evans and Randy Brown emerging as standout contributors to the team's success.
San Jacinto alumni who played in MLB are:
- Brandon Belt - San Francisco Giants (2009 MLB draft)
- Roger Clemens - Boston Red Sox
- Sean Nolin - Toronto Blue Jays (2010 MLB Draft)