6 area softball teams in regional top 20

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The Baldwin and Eustis softball teams are now four wins away from a state title in their respective classes.

Both were district champions and they’ve combined for just three total losses.

Baldwin, Class 3A-District 4 champions, is still No. 1 in The Prep Zone Power Poll, which ranks the top 20 teams across 26 counties in Florida.

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In fact, the Indians (27-1), who have won eight in a row since they had a 19-game winning streak snapped, received eight of the nine first-place votes to remain on top of the all-classification regional rankings.

As the No. 1 seed in 3A-Region 1, Baldwin defeated No. 8 seed Palatka, 8-2, in the regional quarterfinals and will host No. 5 seed Marianna in tonight’s regional semifinals. Their only loss this season was to current No. 13 Oakleaf (Orange Park) on April 16.

Baldwin, which lost in last year’s 3A state semifinals, is seeking its first state title in program history.

Eustis, which won its only state title in 2021, remained second and picked up the other first-place vote.

The Panthers (22-2), 4A-District 7 champions, are the No. 1 seed in 4A-Region 2. They defeated No. 8 seed Merritt Island, 9-6, and will host No. 5 seed Lake Wales tonight in the 4A regional semifinals.

Their only losses were to 7A regional quarterfinalist Lake Mary, 2-1, on April 12, and at No. 3 Montverde Academy, 7-6, on April 19.

The Eagles (24-4) moved up two spots from fifth to third.

The 3A-District 7 champions are the No. 1 seed in 3A-Region 2. They defeated No. 8 seed The Villages, 7-0, in the regional quarterfinals and will host No. 16 Crystal River tonight in the regional semifinals.

Montverde Academy was also in the 3A state semifinals last season and could face Baldwin in next week’s state semifinals in Clermont.

Episcopal (Jacksonville), which hosts No. 18 West Nassau (Callahan) tonight in a 4A-Region 1 Semifinal, and Spruce Creek (Port Orange), the No. 1 seed in 7A-Region 1 which hosts No. 4 seed Seminole (Sanford), round out the top five.

Among teams in the Mainstreet Daily News coverage area, Gainesville High and Trenton are ranked eighth and ninth, respectively.

GHS, which defeated No. 7 Middleburg (22-4) in the 5A-District 2 championship game, opened up the postseason with an easy 12-1 win in five innings against previous No. 11 Deltona, which dropped to 17th in the rankings.

Tonight at 7 p.m. in a 5A-Region 1 Semifinal, the top seed Broncos will host the Lady Hurricanes (21-4) in a rematch with the winner advancing to Friday’s regional final.

Trenton, 1A-District 7 champions, defeated previous RV Newberry, 11-0 (5), in a 1A-Region 4 Semifinal. The Lady Tigers (20-2) will host Williston in tonight’s regional final with a spot in next week’s final four at stake.

The Lady Red Devils (16-10), who have won five in a row since an 8-3 loss at Santa Fe (Alachua) on April 9, moved into the rankings at No. 19 and are tied with East Ridge (Clermont).
 

The 1A-District 8 champions advanced with a 7-1 win against Chiefland in the regional semifinals. Williston lost at Trenton, 12-1, on Feb. 22.

Meanwhile, GHS and Trenton have split this year.

The Hurricanes defeated the Tigers, 2-0, at home on March 7, but Trenton won the rematch and blanked GHS, 2-0, on April 5.

Creekside (St. Johns), Middleburg, GHS, Trenton and University Christian (Jacksonville) round out the top 10.

Santa Fe, which is the No. 2 seed in 3A-Region 2, is tied for 11th with Baker County (Glen St. Mary).

The 3A-District 5 champions defeated No. 7 seed Astronaut (Titusville), 7-1, in the regional quarterfinals.

The Raiders (22-4), who moved up two spots, are scheduled to host No. 6 Trinity Prep (Winter Park) at 7 p.m. tonight in the regional semifinals.

Other area teams in the top 20 include No. 14 Branford and No. 15 Fort White, while Suwannee (Live Oak) is receiving votes.

Suwannee’s season ended at 16-11 following a 6-2 loss at No. 18 West Nassau (Callahan) in the regional quarterfinals.

Branford (22-6), which lost to Liberty County (Bristol) in last year’s 1A state championship game, hosts Fort White (13-5) tonight in a 1A-Region 3 Final.

The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, 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). It is voted on by sportswriters and sportscasters and it is powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville.

THE PREP ZONE POWER POLL – 2024 SOFTBALL POLL #5

(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, current record, and total voting points)

Teams in bold are inside the Mainstreet Daily News coverage area

1. Baldwin (3A) (8) (27-1) – 179

2. Eustis (4A) (1) (22-2) – 171

3. Montverde Academy (3A) (24-4) – 154

4. Episcopal (Jacksonville) (3A) (24-3) – 152

5. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (7A) (20-3) – 137

6. Creekside (St. Johns) (7A) (21-5) – 128

7. Middleburg (5A) (22-4) – 121

8. Gainesville (6A) (21-4) – 120

9. Trenton (1A) (20-2) – 117

10. University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (16-7) – 112

11T. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (4A) (18-5) – 81

11T. Santa Fe (Alachua) (3A) (22-4) – 81

13. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (6A) (18-8) – 62

14. Branford (1A) (22-6) – 53

15. Fort White (1A) (13-5) – 50

16. Crystal River (3A) (22-5) – 45

17. Deltona (5A) (18-6) – 41

18. West Nassau (Callahan) (3A) (17-8) – 37

19T. East Ridge (Clermont) (7A) (19-8) – 16

19T. Williston (1A) (16-10) – 16

Also receiving votes: Fleming Island (Orange Park) (5A) (19-8) – 5; Matanzas (Palm Coast) (5A) (19-5) – 3; Suwannee (Live Oak) (3A) (16-11) – 3; Vanguard (Ocala) (4A) (18-7) – 2; Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (3A) (20-8) – 2; Nease (Ponte Vedra) (6A) (15-8) – 1; South Lake (Groveland) (6A) (18-9) – 1.

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