The high school softball regular season for the teams in the Prep Zone Power Poll is rounding third base and heading for home plate, with district tournaments just two weeks away.
And very little has changed in the top five of the rankings this week, especially the team at the top—defending 4A state champion Eustis.
The Panthers, who won their first state title in softball in 2021, were a perfect 7-0 over the past few weeks. Eustis (17-2), which is ranked No. 3 in 4A and No. 29 overall statewide by Max Preps, knocked off the second-ranked team in 7A in Lake Brantley (Altamonte Springs) along with 5A No. 2 Auburndale and followed that up with wins over No. 17 Montverde Academy, The Villages, Windermere Prep, and Lake Minneola (Minneola).
Eustis is the unanimous top-ranked team as they receive all seven first-place votes.
Baldwin remains at No. 2. The Indians (16-1), who are ranked No. 2 in 3A and 10th overall statewide by Max Preps, recently racked up wins over Fletcher (Neptune Beach), Mandarin (Jacksonville), and Atlantic Coast (Jacksonville). Baldwin’s only loss this season is a 4-3 setback in 8 innings at Received Votes (RV) Baker County (Glen St. Mary), and the Indians have won eight games in a row.
University (Orange City) remains No. 3. The Titans (13-5) won four out of five games since the previous poll with the only loss coming at Deltona.
West Nassau (Callahan) is up a spot to No. 4. The Warriors (12-5) won all four of their games including beating No. 20 Palatka, Baker County, and RV Trinity Christian (Jacksonville).
With Bartram Trail (St. Johns) dropping from No. 4 and all the way out of the poll, Deltona made the biggest move this week. The Wolves (10-1), who are ranked No. 1 in 4A and No. 19 overall statewide by Max Preps, beat 7A state-ranked Hagerty (Oviedo) and University, and moved up 12 spots from the previous poll to round out the top five.
Spruce Creek (Port Orange) also makes a big move, up seven spots to lead off the second five. The Hawks (15-3), ranked No. 5 in 6A and No. 23 overall in Florida, defeated the No. 5 team in Florida, Melbourne, along with 7A No. 20 Lake Mary and Mainland (Daytona Beach). Spruce Creek went 7-0 since the last poll.
Hernando (Brooksville), who finished as runner-up to Eustis last spring, moved down to 3A and is off to a 13-4 start. The Leopards are up six spaces this week to No. 7 after going a perfect 4-0 over the past few weeks.
Union County (Lake Butler) is at No. 8. The Tigers (13-2), ranked No. 1 in 1A, suffered a setback to Trenton, but rallied with their second win of the season over No. 11 Dixie County (Cross City), and a win at 5A Gainesville.
Rounding out the top 10 is No. 9 Oakleaf (Orange Park) and 10th-ranked East Ridge (Clermont). East Ridge fell two spots from No. 8 since the last poll.
A handful of teams make their debuts this week. Included are No. 12 First Coast (Jacksonville), No. 13 Keystone Heights, Springstead (Spring Hill), who is tied at No. 15 with University Christian (Jacksonville), and also 18th-ranked Lafayette (Mayo), and No. 19 Providence (Jacksonville).
Dropping out from the previous poll along with Bartram Trail are Creekside (St. Johns), Branford, and West Port (Ocala).
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.
THE PREP ZONE POWER POLL – 2022 SOFTBALL POLL #4
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, record through 4/18, and total voting points)
1. Eustis (4A) (7) (17-2) – 140
2. Baldwin (3A) (16-1) – 133
3. University (Orange City) (6A) (13-5) – 121
4. West Nassau (Callahan) (3A) (12-5) – 119
5. Deltona (4A) (10-1 ) – 99
6. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (6A) (15-3) – 98
7. Hernando (Brooksville) (3A) (13-4) – 92
8. Union County (Lake Butler) (1A) (13-2) – 91
9. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (7A) (11-6) – 85
10. East Ridge (Clermont) (6A) (12-7) – 81
11. Dixie County (Cross City) (1A) (11-4) – 69
12. First Coast (Jacksonville) (6A) (10-4) – 51
13. Keystone Heights (3A) (11-7) – 39
14. Ridgeview (Orange Park) (5A) (9-5) – 36
15T. Springstead (Spring Hill) (5A) (12-3) – 29
15T. University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (11-6) – 29
17. Montverde Academy (3A) (13-4) – 28
18. Lafayette (Mayo) (1A) (10-4) – 27
19. Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (12-6) – 20
20T. Palatka (3A) (12-5) – 15
20T. Williston (1A) (13-6) – 15
Also receiving votes: Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (7A) (10-6) – 10; Creekside (St. Johns) (7A) (10-7) – 10; Branford (1A) (10-5) – 8; Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (9-7) – 5; West Port (Ocala) (7A) (13-8) – 5; Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (4A) (8-9) – 4; Bell (1A) (10-4) – 3; Forest (Ocala) (6A) (13-8) – 2; South Lake (Groveland) (5A) (10-9) – 2; Middleburg (5A) (10-8) – 1; Santa Fe (Alachua) (3A) (11-7) – 1.