Three area softball teams in regional power poll top 10

Yellow-softball-on-the-artificial-turf
Yellow-softball-on-the-artificial-turf
Photo credit: Matt_Brown from Getty Images Pro

The hold on the No. 1 spot in The Prep Zone Power Poll has loosened for the Baldwin softball team.

The Indians, who finished 25-5 last year and made a run all the way to the Class 3A state semifinals, are still on top of the all-classification regional rankings thanks to a 13-0 start.

Baldwin, which is ranked eighth overall in Florida and No. 1 in Class 3A in the first FHSAA rankings of the spring released last week, received six of the nine first-place votes to remain first.

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However, Eustis picked up the other three first-place votes and now trails Baldwin by just three total voting points (177-174).

The Panthers, who finished 19-6 last year with a loss to eventual state champion Lake Wales, 7-6, in the Class 4A-Region 2 Semifinals, are ranked fifth overall in Florida and No. 1 in Class 4A in the FHSAA rankings.

Pitching has carried Baldwin, which has 10 shutouts in 13 games, while Eustis has relied on its offense, scoring 140 runs in 12 games (11.7 runs per game). Baldwin averages 10.5 runs per game.

Episcopal (Jacksonville), which is ranked second in 3A and 16th overall is fourth, followed by 3A No. 3 Montverde Academy and 5A No. 1 Middleburg, which is ranked ninth in Florida, in the top five.

Another Duval County team, defending 2A state champion University Christian (Jacksonville), leads off the second five at No. 6.

The Class 2A No. 3 Christians are followed by Creekside (St. Johns), Gainesville and Spruce Creek (Port Orange) who are tied for eighth, and Trenton and Fort White, who are tied for 10th.

GHS (12-1) had an 11-game winning streak snapped but avenged its only loss, a 16-5 setback to rival Buchholz, with a 2-1 win at home against Suwannee (Live Oak) last Thursday.

Suwannee, which is receiving votes, is one of eight teams in the Mainstreet Daily News coverage area who are either ranked or receiving votes.

Trenton and Fort White, who are tied for 10th, meet tonight in a Class 1A No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown in Trenton.

Class 3A No. 9 Santa Fe (Alachua) moved up two spots to No. 14, while last year’s 1A state runner-up, Branford, is ranked 16th.

Class 1A No. 6 Williston (9-7) remained 20th and is tied with 7A Flagler Palm Coast.

Another Class 1A team, Newberry, is receiving votes for the first time this season and is just outside the top 20.

The Panthers (10-2), who are ranked 10th in Class 1A, have won six games in a row and have scored 62 runs in their last three games against Wildwood, Dixie County (Cross City) and Eastside.

Previous No. 19 Ponte Vedra (8-6) fell out of the rankings after a 2-3 record since the last poll, while Class 3A Crystal River (8-2) moved in at No. 19.

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 #3

(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, record through 3/30, and total voting points)

Teams in bold are inside the Mainstreet Daily News coverage area

1. Baldwin (3A) (6) (13-0) – 177

2. Eustis (4A) (3) (12-0) – 174

3. Episcopal (Jacksonville) (3A) (13-1) – 159

4. Montverde Academy (3A) (14-3) – 145

5. Middleburg (5A) (12-1) – 141

6. University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (9-3) – 127

7. Creekside (St. Johns) (7A) (12-2) – 114

8T. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (7A) (9-2) – 106

8T. Gainesville (6A) (12-1) – 106

10T. Fort White (1A) (8-2) – 92

10T. Trenton (1A) (11-1) – 92

12. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (4A) (9-3) – 87

13. Deltona (5A) (8-3) – 69

14. Santa Fe (Alachua) (3A) (10-2) – 60

15. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (6A) (10-4) – 58

16. Branford (1A) (14-3) – 55

17. East Ridge (Clermont) (7A) (8-2) – 49

18. West Nassau (Callahan) (3A) (5-4) – 29

19. Crystal River (3A) (8-2) – 11

20T. Williston (1A) (9-7) – 7

20T. Flagler Palm Coast (7A) (8-4) – 7

Also receiving votes: Newberry (1A) (10-2) – 6; Hernando Christian Academy (2A) (9-0) – 5; Paxon (Jacksonville) (4A) (7-4) – 5; Fleming Island (Orange Park) (5A) (9-4) – 4; Springstead (Spring Hill) (5A) (7-3) – 3; Vanguard (Ocala) (4A) (9-4) – 1; Suwannee (Live Oak) (3A) (7-6) – 1.

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