Unbeaten GHS moves into regional top 10

softball glove, ball, bat and helmet

The Baldwin softball team has yet to lose in 2024 and now is on top of The Prep Zone Power Poll, which ranks the top 20 teams across 26 counties in Florida.

University Christian’s hold on the No. 1 ranking in the all-classification regional rankings was short-lived as the unbeaten Indians (10-0) moved up to the top spot.

Baldwin, Class 3A state semifinalists last year, have wins at previous No. 14 Middleburg, 6-3, and vs. No. 12 Baker County (Glen St. Mary), 2-0. The Indians, who are ranked No. 1 in Class 3A by MaxPreps and top five overall in the state, have eight shutouts through 10 games.

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They received four of the eight first-place votes.

Defending 2A state champion University Christian (Jacksonville), which received two first-place votes, tumbled three spots to No. 4 following a 5-3 loss on Friday at Oakleaf (Orange Park) at the Tournament of Champions.

They bounced back to beat previous RV (received votes) Fort White, 5-1, on Saturday.

The Christians’ (7-2) other loss this season was 1-0 against current No. 20 Williston at the Raider Invitational at Santa Fe (Alachua), which is ranked 16th.

Class 4A Eustis, regional finalists in 2022 and regional semifinalist last year, moved up two spots to No. 2.

The Panthers, who received the other first-place vote, are also undefeated, carrying a 9-0 record into this week.

Class 3A Episcopal (Jacksonville) is third, followed by University Christian, and unbeaten 7A Creekside (St. Johns) in the top five.

Montverde Academy is sixth, while Middleburg and Spruce Creek (Port Orange), which are tied for No. 7, Gainesville High and Deltona round out the top 10.

Deltona (7-2 through last week) received one first-place vote. However, the Class 5A Wolves dropped eight places following their second loss of the season, 3-2, at home against Lake Mary.

Among teams in the Mainstreet Daily News coverage area, No. 9 GHS, which moved up seven spots, highlights six teams in the top 20.

The Purple Hurricanes only won six games last year, but they started the week with a 9-0 record.

Fort White moved into the top 20 and landed just outside the top 10 at No. 11.

The Indians, Class 1A state runners-up in 2022, are 7-2 with wins against No. 18 Oakleaf (Orange Park), 7-2, and No. 20 Williston, 4-3, plus a two-game sweep of Branford, 9-3 and 12-5.

Their only losses have been against No. 12 Baker County (Glen St. Mary), 3-2, and previous No. 1 University Christian (Jacksonville), 5-1.

Last year’s 1A state runners-up, Branford, dropped out of the top 10, falling nine spots from No. 5 to No. 14 and in a tie with Trenton, which lost its first game of the season at GHS on March 7.

The Tigers (9-1) moved into the rankings following wins against current No. 20 Williston, 12-1, and Santa Fe (Alachua), 7-4.

The Raiders are tied for 16th with East Ridge (Clermont).

Hernando (Brooksville), Ridgeview (Orange Park), and Dixie County (Cross City) dropped out of the rankings.

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.


(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, record through 3/18, and total voting points)

Teams in bold are inside the Mainstreet Daily News coverage area\

1. Baldwin (3A) (4) (10-0) – 155

2. Eustis (4A) (1) (8-0) – 148

3. Episcopal (Jacksonville) (3A) (9-1) – 126

4. University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (2) (7-2) – 117

5. Creekside (St. Johns) (7A) (9-0) – 114

6. Montverde Academy (3A) (9-3) – 113

7T. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (7A) (7-1) – 111

7T. Middleburg (5A) (8-1) – 111

9. Gainesville (5A) (9-0) – 100

10. Deltona (5A) (1) (7-2) – 93

11. Fort White (1A) (7-2) – 65

12T. West Nassau (Callahan) (3A) (5-3) – 60

12T. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (4A) (5-3) – 60

14T. Branford (1A) (11-3) – 54

14T. Trenton (1A) (9-1) – 54

16T. Santa Fe (Alachua) (3A) (7-2) – 44

16T. East Ridge (Clermont) (7A) (6-2) – 44

18. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (6A) (7-4) – 38

19. Ponte Vedra (5A) (6-3) – 20

20. Williston (1A) (8-5) – 10

Also receiving votes: Paxon (Jacksonville) (4A) (6-4) – 9; Flagler Palm Coast (7A) (6-3) – 8; Fleming Island (Orange Park) (5A) (5-2) – 8; West Port (Ocala) (7A) (6-0) – 8; Springstead (Spring Hill) (5A) (7-1) – 4; Taylor County (Perry) (3A) (7-1) – 2; Providence (Jacksonville) (2A) (3-4) – 2; Mandarin (Jacksonville) (7A) (8-3) – 1; South Lake (Groveland) (6A) (6-3) – 1.

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