Columbia, Buchholz ranked in power poll top 10


There was plenty of movement from the preseason Prep Zone Baseball Power Poll to the second poll of the regular season. 

Many of the teams made it into the meat of the schedule, as some teams made big moves up the rankings and some teams took a tumble. 

But the top two teams remain the same this week from the opening of the season. 

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St. Johns Country Day (Orange Park), who finished No. 2 in the final rankings in 2022 and was the top-ranked team in this season’s power poll, remains at the top this week, receiving five of the 10 first-place votes. 

The Spartans (7-2), who are also ranked No. 2 in 2A and No. 32 overall in Florida by MaxPreps, defeated 6A No. 2 and No. 11 statewide Mosley (Lynn Haven), 18-14, and won at LaGrange (GA) and Lowndes (GA). St. Johns Country Day’s two setbacks also came against Georgia teams, 7-6 to 7A No. 8 and No. 26 statewide Lambert, and 5-3 to Colquitt County. 

Columbia (Lake City) remains No. 2, right behind St. Johns Country Day. The Tigers (7-2), who received four first-place votes, won at Chiles (Tallahassee), Gainesville, and St. Augustine before seeing their seven-game winning streak end with a 3-0 shutout loss at Valdosta (GA). Columbia is ranked 10th in 5A and No. 64 overall statewide according to MaxPreps. 

From there the movement begins. Clay (Green Cove Springs) moves up three spots to No. 3. The Blue Devils (7-1) knocked off two Georgia teams in Irwin County and Tallulah Falls, and defeated then-RV Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville) before seeing their seven-game winning streak to start the season end with a 3-2 loss to then-No. 15 Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville). Clay is ranked No. 5 in 5A and No. 23 overall statewide according to MaxPreps. 

Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) stays put at No. 4. The Conquerors (6-2) lost 9-2 to Huntsvillle, the No. 17 overall team in Alabama, and dropped a 4-3 decision to Calhoun (GA). But Trinity Christian defeated Bishop Snyder, 12-1, and won at No. 5 Providence (Jacksonville), 8-1. 

Despite the loss to Trinity Christian, Providence is up four spots to round out the top five. The Stallions (8-2) defeated the 14th-ranked team in Georgia, Parkview, 5-4, in eight innings, and Cullman, the No. 29 team in Alabama, 7-5. Providence also won at Tocoi Creek (St. Augustine) and Ponte Vedra, with losses to Trinity Christian and Sparkman, the 10th-ranked team in Alabama. 

Lake Minneola (Minneola) is No. 6. The Hawks (6-1) lost their first game of the season to No. 19 The Villages, 6-5, in nine innings but rebounded to beat the Buffalo, 8-0. 

The Villages (5-5) fell all the way from No. 7 to No. 19 this week. 

Sandalwood (Jacksonville) drops two slots to No. 7. The Saints (5-2) defeated Fletcher (Neptune Beach) and RV First Coast (Jacksonville), but lost their first two games of 2023 to Spruce Creek (Port Orange) and Grayson (GA). 

Trinity Catholic (Ocala) moves up two places to No. 8. The Celtics (7-1) dropped their first game of the season to Berkeley Prep (Tampa), but rebounded to beat Berkeley Prep and defeated The Villages and Apopka. 

Unranked in the preseason poll, Buchholz (Gainesville) makes a huge jump into the top 10 at No. 9. The Bobcats (5-1), who received the final first-place vote, defeated Forest (Ocala) twice, 8-3 at home and 11-1 on the road.

Buchholz, ranked No. 3 in 6A and 12th overall by MaxPreps, also defeated The Villages, 8-3, and won at No. 18 North Marion (Citra), 9-7, in nine innings. The Bobcats’ only loss so far in 2023 was 7-1 at Leon (Tallahassee) in their second game of the season. 

Another unranked team from the preseason poll making a big move this week is Oakleaf (Orange Park), who closes out the top 10. The Knights, still unbeaten at 8-0, picked up wins at RV Bolles (Jacksonville), Orange Park, and at Atlantic Coast (Jacksonville). Oakleaf is also ranked 8th in 6A and No. 25 overall statewide by MaxPreps. 

Among teams ranked in the second 10 in the Mainstreet Daily News area is No. 11 Santa Fe (Alachua). The Raiders (7-2) move up seven spots from the preseason poll after winning six games in a row, as they beat then-No. 12 Suwannee (Live Oak) twice, Dunnellon, and No. 20 Baker County (Glen St. Mary). Santa Fe’s only losses so far this season are to Columbia and at North Marion (Citra)

Union County (Lake Butler) moves into the rankings at No. 17. The Tigers (6-1), ranked No. 4 in 1A by MaxPreps, defeated Dunnellon, Gainesville twice, and handed No. 12 Lafayette (Mayo) their only loss of the season, 4-3. Union County’s only setback was 2-1 in their opening game of 2023 to Baker County. 

Newberry, Trenton, and Oak Hall (Gainesville) all received votes. 

North Marion and Baker County are also new to the poll this week. 

Falling out from the preseason rankings are Suwannee, Bishop Kenny, Bolles, DeLand, and Fort White. 

The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, girls volleyball, girls basketball, boys basketball, softball & baseball teams (regardless of FHSAA classification) across 26 counties in North Florida (Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Levy, Madison, Marion, Nassau, Putnam, Sumter, St. Johns, Suwannee, Taylor, Union & Volusia counties). It is voted on weekly by sportswriters and sportscasters and it is powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville.


(School, followed by classification, first place votes, current record through 3/13, and total voting points)

Teams in bold are inside the Mainstreet Daily News coverage area.

1. St. Johns Country Day (Orange Park) (2A) (5) (7-2) – 194

2. Columbia (Lake City) (5A) (4) (7-2) – 186

3. Clay (Green Cove Springs) (5A) (7-1) – 170

4. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (6-2) – 168

5. Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (8-2) – 147

6. Lake Minneola (Minneola) (6A) (6-1) – 141

7. Sandalwood (Jacksonville) (7A) (5-2) – 127

8. Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (3A) (7-1) – 117

9. Buchholz (Gainesville) (6A) (1) (5-1) – 93

10. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (6A) (8-0) – 92

11. Santa Fe (Alachua) (4A) (7-2) – 86

12. Lafayette (Mayo) (1A) (5-1) – 81

13. Hernando (Brooksville) (4A) (7-1) – 71

14. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (7A) (5-4) – 67

15. Mandarin (Jacksonville) (7A) (4-2) – 43

16. Ridgeview (Orange Park) (5A) (6-2) – 41

17. Union County (Lake Butler) (1A) (6-1) – 39

18. North Marion (Citra) (4A) (6-2) – 37

19. The Villages (4A) (5-5) – 36

20. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (4A) (5-2) – 27

Also receiving votes: Fleming Island (Orange Park) (6A) (6-1) – 23; Bolles (Jacksonville) (3A) (4-3) – 22; DeLand (7A) (4-4) – 17; Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (4A) (3-4) – 11; Newberry (1A) (4-2) – 10; Trenton (1A) (8-0) – 10; Oak Hall (Gainesville) (2A) (6-1) – 8; Creekside (St. Johns) (7A) (6-1) – 7; First Coast (Jacksonville) (6A) (5-3) – 5; Forest (Ocala) (6A) (4-4) – 4. 

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