Six area softball teams in final regional top 20

Multiple softballs
Cameron Cox/Unsplash

High school softball made its mark in North Central Florida in 2024.

The area had three state champions, two state runners-up, & two other state semifinalists.

Class 4A state champion Eustis edged Class 3A state champion Montverde Academy as the top overall team in The Prep Zone Power Poll, which ranks the top 20 teams across 26 counties in Florida.

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Eustis (26-2), which defeated previous No. 11 Baker County (Glen St. Mary), 1-0, in the 4A state championship game, received six of the nine first-place votes to finish No. 1.

The Eagles (28-4), who defeated defending state champion Calvary Christian (Clearwater), 2-1, in eight innings in the 3A state championship game, received the other three first-place votes.

Eustis, which won its first state title in 2021, lost at Montverde Academy, 7-6, on April 19 after the Eagles scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for the walk-off win.

The Panthers, who proceeded to win their final nine games of the season following the loss, edged the Eagles, 177-173, in total voting points.

Trenton moved up six spots and finished third in the all-classification regional rankings.

The Tigers (23-2) won the Class 1A state title with a 6-5 win in eight innings against previous No. 14 Branford. They also defeated Holmes County (Bonifay) on a walk-off, 3-2, in the state semifinals.

It was the third state title for Trenton since 2019.

Baldwin is ranked fourth.

The Indians (29-2), who lost to defending state champion Calvary Christian (Clearwater), 6-3, in 10 innings in the 3A state semifinals, tumbled three spots from the No. 1 ranking it had held since a 10-0 start in March.

Their only other loss was to current No. 15 Oakleaf (Orange Park).

Gainesville High rounds out the top five.

The Hurricanes (24-5) made a run all the way to the Class 5A state championship game, including a come-from-behind win in the state semifinals, before losing a heartbreaker to defending state champion Parrish Community in extra innings.

It was their first state championship game appearance since winning the 7A state title eight years ago.

Trenton and GHS are two of three teams in the Mainstreet coverage area that are ranked in the top 10, along with No. 9 Branford.

The ninth-ranked Buccaneers advanced to their second straight state semifinal and third in the last four years and then knocked off defending state champion Liberty County (Bristol), 13-3, in the 1A state semifinals.

Other area teams include No. 13 Santa Fe (Alachua), No. 14 Fort White and No. 18 Williston.

Suwannee (Live Oak) is receiving votes.

The 13th-ranked Raiders (23-5) lost at eventual state champion and current No. 2 ranked Montverde Academy, 3-0, in a 3A-Region 2 Final, denying the 3A-District 5 champions their first final four since 2015.

They advanced to the region final with an 8-0 win against Trinity Prep (Winter Park) in the regional semifinals.

Class 4A state runner-up Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (21-6) is ranked sixth, followed by 3A regional finalist Episcopal (Jacksonville) (25-4), 2A state runner-up University Christian (Jacksonville) (19-8), 1A state runner-up Branford (24-7) and 7A regional semifinalist Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (20-4) in the top 10.

Middleburg, which lost at home to GHS in the 5A-District 2 championship game and again in the second round of the 5A state playoffs, leads off the second 10 at No. 11.

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 #6 (FINAL POLL)

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

Teams in bold are in the Mainstreet Daily News coverage area

1. Eustis (4A) (6) (26-2) – 177

2. Montverde Academy (3A) (3) (28-4) – 173

3. Trenton (1A) (23-2) – 152

4. Baldwin (3A) (29-2) – 148

5. Gainesville (6A) (24-5) – 145

6. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (4A) (21-6) – 123

7. Episcopal (Jacksonville) (3A) (25-4) – 120

8. University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (19-8) – 117

9. Branford (1A) (24-7) – 106

10. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (7A) (20-4) – 96

11. Middleburg (5A) (22-5) – 94

12. Creekside (St. Johns) (7A) (21-6) – 92

13. Santa Fe (Alachua) (3A) (23-5) – 82

14. Fort White (1A) (13-6) – 63

15. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (6A) (18-9) – 41

16T. Crystal River (3A) (22-6) – 40

16T. West Nassau (Callahan) (3A) (17-9) – 40

18. Williston (1A) (16-11) – 34

19. Deltona (5A) (18-6) – 23

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

Also receiving votes: Fleming Island (Orange Park) (5A) (19-8) – 3; Suwannee (Live Oak) (3A) (16-11) – 3; Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (3A) (20-8) – 2.

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