Shepherd Hill, Central Catholic debut in baseball poll

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

The next poll update will be Monday, May 27. That will be the final poll of the 2013 regular season. Following the May 27 update, the baseball poll will be updated once more, following the conclusion of the MIAA State Tournament.

A few notes and observations about this week's poll:

Prep stays on top: For the fifth week in a row, St. John's Prep is the No. 1 team in the land, following an excellent win over BC High that swept the season series and kept them ahead in the Catholic Conference. With a game today against Malden Catholic, Prep can wrap up the Catholic Conference title outright.

The top five remains unchanged, with BC High, St. John's of Shrewsbury, Walpole and Peabody rounding out the top five, in that order. Meanwhile, Newton North jumps back into the Top 10, climbing five spots to No. 6, while Amherst makes its first appearance in the top 10 after beating No. 7 East Longmeadow in extra innings.

Shepherd Hill jumps into the poll: Making its debut at No. 15, and perhaps a bit overdue, is Shepherd Hill, with quite the impressive resume. The Rams hold wins over Northbridge and Auburn (twice), and are led by sophomore sensation Brady Ravenelle, who is batting .690 and leads the state with 35 RBI. This also marks the first time in our poll's three-year history that three teams from the Southern Worcester County League.

Central Catholic (20), Westford (21) and Medford (24) -- all respective champions of their leagues -- make debuts this week, while Hockomock Kelly-Rex champ Taunton makes its return at No. 25 following a one-week absence.

Here's how the poll breaks down by league affiliation:

Bay State - 3

Northeastern - 3

Southern Worcester County - 3

Valley League - 2

Atlantic Coast - 1

Cape Ann - 1

Central Mass. Conference - 1

Dual County - 1

Eastern Athletic - 1

Greater Boston - 1

Hockomock - 1

Merrimack Valley - 1

Mid-Wach B - 1

Old Colony - 1

Patriot - 1

Valley Wheel - 1