As the high school baseball season continues to head down the stretch, many good teams continue to move up in The Prep Zone Power Poll ranking the best teams in North Florida.
And this week, the Clay (Green Cove Springs) Blue Devils find themselves alone atop the rankings.
After tying with Spruce Creek (Port Orange) for the top spot in the previous poll, Clay (17-3) won six of its last eight games in recent weeks. Those included a win at No. 4 Fleming Island (Orange Park), a 14-inning victory at No. 6 Santa Fe (Alachua)—which ended the Raiders’ 14-game winning streak—an 8-3 win over No. 11 Episcopal (Jacksonville), and a wild, 14-11 extra-inning victory at No. 10 Suwannee (Live Oak). The only two losses in that stretch were to Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) and No. T-13 Creekside (St. Johns).
That was enough to get the Blue Devils, who are ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 4A by MaxPreps, seven of the eight first-place votes in the latest all-classification regional rankings.
Bolles (Jacksonville) is second. The Bulldogs (18-3), ranked second in Class 3A by MaxPreps, earned the other first-place vote this week.
Bolles was 7-1 since the last poll with wins over Episcopal and No. 16 Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) as well as a victory at RV Providence (Jacksonville). Its only loss in that stretch was a 1-0 nail-biter at No. 3 Bartram Trail (St. Johns) on March 26.
Bartram Trail (18-4) follows right behind Bolles after going 8-2 in its last 10 games. In addition to the Bolles win, the Bears also defeated Episcopal, Mandarin, and Creekside since the last poll with their only losses coming to rival Creekside and Providence.
Fleming Island (Orange Park) moved up three spots to fourth. The Golden Eagles (17-3), ranked No. 3 statewide in 6A by MaxPreps, also were 8-2 since the last ranking with a win over Creekside and then-No. 5 St. Johns Country Day. Their only setbacks came against Clay and No. 9 Sandalwood (Jacksonville).
Spruce Creek rounds out the top five this week. The Hawks (17-5) dropped from a tie for first with Clay in the previous poll after losing three games, including to Merritt Island earlier this week. Spruce Creek also lost contests to No. 7 University (Orange City) and Key West at the Florida High School Invitational in Sanford in late March.
The second five consists of No. 6 Santa Fe (Alachua), which at 17-2 has won 16 of its last 17 games with the only loss in 14 innings to top-ranked Clay. The Raiders are ranked No. 2 in 4A statewide by MaxPreps, right behind the Blue Devils.
University moved up three spots to seventh, with the highlight of the last few weeks a 2-1 win over Spruce Creek.
St. Johns Country Day drops three spots to eighth, while Sandalwood and Suwannee both move up a couple of spots to round out the top 10.
Other local teams making the top 20 include Union County (Lake Butler), Buchholz (Gainesville) and Newberry.
The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, volleyball, girls basketball, boys basketball, baseball & softball 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). A panel of sports reporters votes weekly on the poll, which is powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville.
THE PREP ZONE POWER POLL POWERED BY ANYTIME FITNESS OF GAINESVILLE – 2021 BASEBALL POLL #3
(School, followed by classification, first place votes, record through 4/14, and total voting points.)
1. Clay (Green Cove Springs) (4A) (7) (17-3) – 159
2. Bolles (Jacksonville) (3A) (1) (18-3) – 146
3. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (7A) (18-4) – 134
4. Fleming Island (Orange Park) (6A) (17-3) – 128
5. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (7A) (17-5) – 127
6. Santa Fe (Alachua) (4A) (17-2) – 123
7. University (Orange City) (7A) (17-3) – 119
8. St. Johns Country Day (Orange Park) (2A) (15-6) – 114
9. Sandalwood (Jacksonville) (7A) (17-2) – 96
10. Suwannee (Live Oak) (4A) (16-5) – 82
11. Episcopal (Jacksonville) (3A) (15-5) – 68
12. Hernando (Brooksville) (4A) (21-2) – 64
13T. Creekside (St. Johns) (6A) (13-8) – 63
13T. Union County (Lake Butler) (1A) (19-1) – 63
15. Buchholz (Gainesville) (6A) (13-5-1) – 41
16. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (3A) (12-8) – 39
17. Mandarin (Jacksonville) (7A) (13-6) – 24
18. Newberry (1A) (16-1) – 24
19. North Marion (Citra) (4A) (13-5) – 20
20. First Coast (Jacksonville) (6A) (18-2) – 17
Also receiving votes: Nature Coast Tech (Brooksville) (4A) (18-3) – 11; Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (11-10) – 6; Hamilton County (Jasper) (1A) (13-6) – 3; Lake Minneola (Minneola) (5A) (14-6) – 3; Keystone Heights (3A) (12-10) – 1.