Baldwin’s hold of the top spot in The Prep Zone Power Poll was short-lived.
The Eagles, who had just moved up to No. 1 in the previous rankings, suffered back-to-back losses at 6A Oakleaf (Orange Park), 3-2 (9), and at previous No. 2 University Christian (Jacksonville), 10-3, and dropped four spots to No. 5.
Following a 4-0 record since the previous rankings, the Class 2A No. 1 Christians (16-2) moved into the top spot of the all-classification regional rankings.
University Christian received eight of the nine first-place votes. They are the No. 20 overall team in Florida according to MaxPreps.
UCS, which was 2A state runners-up last season, swept previous No. 10 West Nassau (Callahan) in two games as part of their current nine-game winning streak heading into the 2A-District 3 tournament.
Defending 4A state champion Deltona moved up one spot from third to second. The Wolves (15-4) received the other first-place vote following a 3-0 record since April 16.
Eustis, a Class 4A regional finalist last year, moved up three spots from sixth to third following a 2-0 mark. The Panthers (16-5) are ranked second in 4A and 21st overall in Florida by MaxPreps.
Hernando (Brooksville), last year’s 3A runners-up, moved up one spot to fourth.
The Leopards (20-4), winners of eight in a row, have a tough 3A-District 6 Semifinal on Tuesday against Crystal River, which was receiving votes in the previous poll. They would face either The Villages or South Sumter (Bushnell), who are receiving votes, in Thursday’s championship game.
Class 3A Providence (Jacksonville) (16-4) is sixth, followed by 1A Williston (23-3), 3A Episcopal (Jacksonville) (19-3), 7A Creekside (St. Johns) (17-6), and 7A East Ridge (Clermont) (16-8) in the top 10.
Baker County (Glen St. Mary) moved into the rankings at No. 20. The 4A Wildcats (16-9) had a win at previous No. 4 Episcopal (Jacksonville), 9-1, and a close 1-0 loss at No. 15 Montverde Academy.
The No. 7 Red Devils, who are ranked No. 1 in Class 1A by MaxPreps, are one of three teams in the Mainstreet Daily News coverage area who are ranked in the top 13. They are ranked 30th overall in Florida by MaxPreps.
Williston, winners of 12 in a row, have not lost since a 7-5 loss at home to Dixie County (Cross City) on March 14.
Branford remained 12th.
The Bucs (21-3) lost at home on April 21 to Williston, 4-2, which snapped a 10-game winning streak. They are ranked second in 1A behind the Red Devils and 58th overall.
Dixie County (Cross City) is right behind Branford at No. 13. They moved up two spots following a 4-0 record.
The Bears (17-5), who are ranked 69th overall, advanced to their first final four in program history last year.
All three teams are No. 1 seeds in their respective district tournaments this week and they give the area the top three Class 1A teams in the state.
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 – 2023 SOFTBALL POLL #5
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, final regular season record, and total voting points)
Teams in bold are inside the Mainstreet Daily News coverage area.
1. University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (8) (16-2) – 179
2. Deltona (5A) (1) (15-4) – 166
3. Eustis (4A) (16-5) – 149
4. Hernando (Brooksville) (3A) (20-4) – 148
5. Baldwin (3A) (19-4) – 141
6. Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (16-4) – 137
7. Williston (1A) (23-2) – 131
8. Episcopal (Jacksonville) (3A) (19-3) – 125
9. Creekside (St. Johns) (7A) (17-6) – 107
10. East Ridge (Clermont) (7A) (16-8) – 89
11. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (7A) (11-6) – 77
12. Branford (1A) (21-3) – 73
13. Dixie County (Cross City) (1A) (17-5) – 66
14. West Nassau (Callahan) (3A) (14-8) – 62
15. Montverde Academy (3A) (18-6) – 49
16. Ridgeview (Orange Park) (5A) (14-6) – 46
17. Ponte Vedra (5A) (15-6) – 30
18. Flagler Palm Coast (7A) (13-3) – 24
19. Clay (Green Cove Springs) (5A) (12-9) – 23
20. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (4A) (16-9) – 21
Also receiving votes: Paxon (Jacksonville) (4A) (15-6) – 18; Middleburg (5A) (13-9) – 11; Citrus (Inverness) (4A) (17-5) – 7; The Villages (3A) (18-4) – 5; Mount Dora Christian (2A) (16-8) – 3; South Sumter (Bushnell) (3A) (14-8) – 1; Vanguard (Ocala) (4A) (16-6) – 1; South Lake (Groveland) (6A) (8-15) – 1.