No baseball team in north Florida has won as many state championships as Bolles (Jacksonville).
The Bulldogs, who have won eight state titles, were Class 3A state semifinalists last season. They lost to eventual state champion The First Academy (Orlando), 2-1, and narrowly missed another spot in the championship game.
Bolles, which finished 25-5 in 2021, has a solid 1-2 punch on the mound this season in Sully Brackin (8-0, 1.75 ERA) and Max Haug (7-0, 1.62). Brackin also had six home runs and drove in 26 runs last year. Plus, Tennessee commit Tanner Zellem is back after batting .423 with 14 doubles and 30 RBIs.
It all adds up to what should be another deep run for Bolles, which starts out on top of the preseason all-classification regional rankings. The ‘Dogs received two of the six first-place votes.
Class 7A Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (22-6), which lost to eventual 7A state runner-up Spruce Creek (Port Orange), 1-0, in the regional quarterfinals, and Class 2A state runner-up St. Johns Country Day (Orange Park) (24-7), are tied for second in The Prep Zone Power Poll, which ranks the top 20 teams across 26 counties.
Bartram Trail has a minimum of 10 players who will be playing college ball, while SJCD returns its top two pitchers, plus Florida State signee Jordan Taylor (.406, eight doubles, five home runs, 21 RBIs, 10 steals).
The Bears and the Spartans each received one first-place vote.
Another state runner-up, North Marion (Citra), is tied for fourth with Class 6A state runner-up Fleming Island (Orange Park), which received one first-place vote.
Behind Wyatt Campbell’s no-hitter in the Class 4A state semifinals, the Colts (21-9) defeated Nature Coast Tech (Brooksville) and led North Broward Prep 4-1 in the third inning of the state title game. However, North Marion allowed five runs in the fifth inning and finished as state runners-up for the first time in school history.
Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles (25-6), who boast two pitchers this season who will be playing at Jacksonville University, advanced to their first state semifinal appearance in school history, falling to Bloomingdale (Valrico), 5-1, in last year’s 6A title game.
Spruce Creek (23-9), which lost to nationally ranked Stoneman Douglas (Parkland), 5-1, in last year’s 7A state final, is ranked sixth, followed by 4A Clay (Green Cove Springs) (19-5), 4A Santa Fe (Alachua), 3A Episcopal (Jacksonville), and Nature Coast (24-5) in the top 10.
Another Alachua County team, Newberry, is ranked at No. 11.
The Panthers (25-1), who won the Class 1A state title, advanced to their first final four in 42 years and defeated Hamilton County (Jasper), followed by Chipley, to capture their first state baseball title in school history.
Class 2A state semifinalist Mount Dora Christian Academy (22-7) and 1A state semifinalist Hamilton County (18-9) are ranked No. 18 and No. 19, respectively.
A total of 32 teams are ranked or received votes in the poll.
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 BASEBALL POLL #1
(School, followed by classification, first place votes, final 2021 record, and total voting points)
1. Bolles (Jacksonville) (3A) (2) (25-5) – 115
2T. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (7A) (1) (22-6) – 99
2T. St. Johns Country Day (Orange Park) (2A) (1) (24-7) – 99
4T. North Marion (Citra) (4A) (21-9) – 95
4T. Fleming Island (Orange Park) (6A) (1) (25-6) – 95
6. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (7A) (23-9) – 90
7. Clay (Green Cove Springs) (4A) (19-5) – 69
8. Santa Fe (Alachua) (4A) (23-3) – 65
9. Episcopal (Jacksonville) (3A) (21-7) – 64
10. Nature Coast Tech (Brooksville) (4A) (24-5) – 61
11. Newberry (1A) (1) (25-1) – 59
12. Mandarin (Jacksonville) (7A) (20-8) – 45
13T. Hernando (Brooksville) (4A) (23-4) – 32
13T. Buchholz (Gainesville) (6A) (18-7-1) – 32
15. Creekside (St. Johns) (7A) (16-12) – 31
16. Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (13-11) – 27
17. Sandalwood (Jacksonville) (7A) (17-5) – 26
18. Mount Dora Christian Academy (2A) (22-7) – 24
19T. Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (3A) (18-10) – 22
19T. Hamilton County (Jasper) (1A) (18-9) – 22
19T. Suwannee (Live Oak) (4A) (19-6) – 22
Also receiving votes: Columbia (Lake City) (5A) (12-13) – 18; University (Orange City) (6A) (19-5) – 12; Union County (Lake Butler) (1A) (21-5) – 9; Forest (Ocala) (6A) (18-9) – 6; Dunnellon (4A) (13-12) – 5; Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (4A) (15-14) – 5; Lake Minneola (Minneola) (5A) (17-7) – 4; Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville) (2A) (15-11) – 3; Ponte Vedra (6A) (13-15) – 2; South Lake (Groveland) (5A) (12-13) – 1; DeLand (7A) (3-19) – 1.