<
>

ESPNBoston.com's MIAA baseball Top 25

Our final Top 25 MIAA baseball poll of 2015, as selected by our panel of staff writers, correspondents and area coaches (updated June 23, 2015).

1. Braintree (22-3): One year after coming up short in the Super 8 Final, and one day after getting taken for 20 runs in Game 1 of this year's final, the Wamps flipped the tournament on its head to take its first ever Division 1A State Championship.

2. St. John's Prep (22-4): Eagles dropped two of three games in the Super 8 to state champ Braintree, but staff ace Justin Foley dazzled, opening the tournament with a no-hitter and finishing by setting a record for most strikeouts in a Super 8 tournament.

3. BC High (14-11): Eagles were a controversial selection to the Super 8 field, but they more than justified the pick with a third-place finish. They should contend again in 2016, with a core of underclassmen returning.

4. Bridgewater-Raynham (20-4): Trojans reached the final four of the Super 8 for the second year in a row, only to make a quick exit. Still, it was another banner year, as superstar Andrew Noviello was drafted by the Red Sox earlier this month.

5. Xaverian (15-8): After backpedaling into the Super 8 tournament, Hawks made a respectable run, finishing fifth. With fiery junior Blake DeCarr returning, look for Xaverian to contend for a Super 8 berth again in 2016.

6. Wachusett (17-7): Mountaineers threw a haymaker in the opening round of the Super 8 by upsetting Xaverian on the road, behind a dominant performance from Connor Gill, before dropping two games at Campanelli Stadium. First-year coach Mark Peters deserves short list consideration for Coach of the Year.

7. St. John's (Shrewsbury) (16-8): Pioneers came into the Super 8 with one of the state's deepest pitching staffs, only to go two-and-done. But with sophomore lefty Ian Seymour and junior shortstop Jake Rosen returning for 2016, expect them to be back in the hunt.

8. Newton North (16-8): After playing the top seed to a 1-0 loss in the opening round, defending D1A state champion Tigers were first team eliminated from the Super 8 after winning the inaugural tournament a year ago.

9. Norwood (16-10): Junior lefty Sean Mellen carried the Mustangs on his back as they won their first Division 1 state title in 72 years, appearing in five of their six playoff games and striking out 45 - including 14 in the title game against St. Peter-Marian. If the Mustangs have Super 8 aspirations for 2016 (and they should), Mellen's the one to take them there.

10. St. Peter-Marian (16-9): After a dismal start to the spring, Guardians were one of the state's hottest second-half teams, riding that momentum to their first state final appearance since 1987. Next year should be Super 8 or bust, with virtually the entire team coming back, including promising stars Pat Gallagher, Jon Gonzalez and Josh DelSignore.

11. Middleborough (21-4): Talk about a heart attack of a run for the Sachems. They won four straight games via walkoff to win the D2 South title - including an epic nine-run rally over Medfield for the district title - then squeaked by Danvers in the final to take their second state title in three years.

12. Chelmsford (17-8): Lions made a surprise run to the Division 1 North title, which included an epic extra-innings win over Lawrence at 1:30 a.m. for the district title, before falling to the eventual state champs by a run in the Eastern Mass. Final.

13. Danvers (21-4): Falcons survived a loaded D2 North field before falling to Middleborough in the state final. Big props for two-way star Andrew Olszak, who earned Northeastern Conference MVP honors over a number of heavyweights.

14. Springfield Central (17-7): The Division 1 West tournament turned out pretty unpredictable, but the Golden Eagles rose to the top to win the title before falling to St. Peter-Marian in the state semis.

15. Lawrence (16-8): Lancers threw a big shot in the first round of D1 North by knocking out Super 8 nominee Lincoln-Sudbury, before falling to MVC rival Chelmsford in an epic district final.

16. St. Mary's (Lynn) (20-6): Brendan O'Neil pitched brilliantly in the Division 3 State Final, as the Spartans captured the program's first state title since going back-to-back in 1987 and 1988.

17. St. John Paul II (24-0): Lions once again dominated the South tournament for their third straight district title, before successfully defending their D4 state title by knocking around David Longstreeth and Smith Academy in the final. After getting a Super 8 nomination in 2014, and going wire to wire this spring, is it time for the Lions to move up a division?

18. Mansfield (17-6): Joe Breen's first year at the helm of the Hornets' program was an historic one, as they reached the D1 South Final after grabbing the district's top overall seed.

19. Amherst (14-9): Hurricanes one of several surprise splashes in the D1 West tournament, ultimately reaching the district final before falling to Springfield Central.

20. East Bridgewater (19-3): Vikings won their second D3 South title in four years, but a controversial walk-off ball-four call in the D3 EMass Final ended their state title aspirations prematurely.

21. Acton-Boxborough (17-6): Always a steady program, Colonials made the final four of the Division 1 North tournament and figure to be a strong contender again in 2016.

22. Billerica (13-10): After taking a tailspin in the second half of the season, the one-time Super 8 contenders finished strong in the D1 North tournament, upsetting favorite Peabody and reaching the final four. Staff ace Kyle Murphy also earned MVP of the MVC's second division.

23. Austin Prep (20-4): Cougars were the top seed in D3 North, and fell to eventual state champ St. Mary's in the district final. Like several other teams on this poll, AP should have strong aspirations for 2016.

24. Mt. Greylock (21-4): Mounties were the top seed in Division 3 West and lived up to the billing, as they knocked off powerhouse Auburn in the state semis to reach the final.

25. Smith Academy (20-3): It was an admirable swan song for David Longstreeth, who'll go down as one of the Falcons' greatest. After lighting it up with 100-plus strikeouts as a sophomore in 2013, he missed almost all of last season with injuries, but bounced back strong this spring in leading the team to the D4 State Final.

Last 10 out: Auburn (16-7), Beverly (13-10), Central Catholic (17-4), Hopedale (19-4), Medfield (18-6), North Andover (17-4), Peabody (18-6), Shrewsbury (16-7), Springfield Cathedral (12-11), West Springfield (14-9)