The Jacks earned their highest year-end ranking in team history just days after capturing their first TCL title
When a team is in first place for all but a handful of days during the regular season, wins the first-half title in decisive fashion, sends seven players and a head coach to the All-Star Game, and captures its first league championship in a dramatic comeback, people tend to take notice.
Just ask the East Texas Pump Jacks… and Perfect Game.
The Pump Jacks achieved all that and more in their memorable fifth anniversary season, and Perfect Game added another notch to the team’s belt on Monday. The Jacks finished the season ranked No. 11 in the country in Perfect Game’s final summer collegiate poll of the 2012 season.
The Pump Jacks had been a staple in the weekly poll, opening the season at No. 27 before reaching a high of No. 7 early in July. After East Texas secured the TCL’s first-half title and the top playoff seed, a late-season slump briefly knocked the Jacks from the ranking.
The Jacks righted the ship in time for the playoffs, though. They earned a spot in the TCL Championship Series with a decisive first-round victory over the Alexandria Aces. After falling in the first game of the finals to the Victoria Generals, the Pump Jacks roared back, erasing a 3-0 deficit in Game Three to capture the team’s first championship.
The playoff run gave the Pump Jacks their highest final ranking in team history. Last summer, East Texas finished the season at No. 22 after peaking at No. 8 during their record-breaking season.
This season’s No. 11 final ranking and No. 7 peak ranking are believed to be records for the Texas Collegiate League.
The Brazos Valley Bombers, who supplanted the Jacks with the league’s best record just four days before the regular season concluded, were ranked No. 31 after their first-round exit from the playoffs. The Generals landed at No. 40 in the final poll, which was expanded from 30 to 50 teams.
Although the Cape Cod League dominated the poll much of the summer, the top spot in the final ranking went to the Newport (R.I.) Gulls of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. It marks the fifth straight year a team outside the Cape has captured Perfect Game’s No. 1 spot.
The La Crosse Loggers, featuring former Pump Jacks all-star James Guillen, finished No.2 after winning the Northwoods League title. The Perfect Game Collegiate League Champion Amsterdam (N.Y.) Mohawks landed at No. 3, while the Santa Barbara (Calif.) Foresters finished at No. 4 after capturing their second-straight NBC World Series. The Cape’s Cotuit (Mass.) Kettleers were slotted at No. 5 after securing the league’s best record, then getting bounced from the playoffs.
Perfect Game is an Iowa-based organization that is considered the country’s top resource in baseball player recruiting, particularly at the high school and college ages. In addition to the national summer collegiate poll, Perfect Game conducts player showcases throughout the country. Their poll considers more than 250 summer collegiate teams from all across the United States and Canada.
Merchandise celebrating the Pump Jacks’ first TCL title, featuring a commemorative championship logo, will be available soon. The team will make an announcement when championship gear can be purchased online or at the Jacks’ office in downtown Kilgore.
Follow all the Pump Jacks’ news throughout the offseason on www.pumpjacksbaseball.com. Join other Jacks fans as they discuss the team’s first TCL championship, the fifth anniversary season, and defending the title in 2013 by visiting the Jacks on Facebook and Twitter.