There is a new No. 1 team in The Prep Zone Power Poll.
Following a Gateway Conference Championship, Class 3A Baldwin has moved to the top of the all-classification regional softball rankings.
The Indians (14-2) defeated previous RV Paxon (Jacksonville), 11-4, to win the title and also defeated previous No. 8 Clay (Green Cove Springs), 2-1, and previous No. 16 Middleburg, 9-1, as part of a 4-1 record since the last rankings.
Baldwin, which is ranked No. 5 in Class 3A and 18th overall in Florida by MaxPreps, received six of the 10 first-place votes to move into the top spot.
Previous No. 1 Deltona fell two spots to No. 3 after suffering a pair of losses to 6A No. 5 Hagerty (Oviedo) and Oviedo.
The Wolves, who were 12-4 heading into this week, dropped to No. 6 in 5A and 44th overall in the MaxPreps rankings. Deltona, which had a win at 4A No. 4 Bishop Moore (Orlando), did receive one first-place vote.
Meanwhile, University Christian (Jacksonville) moved up one spot from third to second in the rankings.
The Fightin’ Christians (12-2) went 3-0 since the last poll including a 2-0 win on Friday at previous No. 11 Creekside (St. Johns), which moved up two spots to ninth, and a 10-5 win at No. 20 Baker County (Glen St. Mary), which dropped out of the rankings.
U.C.S., which is now ranked No. 2 in Class 2A & 37th overall by MaxPreps, has won five in a row heading into tonight’s game at No. 10 West Nassau (Callahan), which moved up five spots following a 4-0 record.
Rounding out the top five are Class 3A schools Episcopal (Jacksonville), which received two first-place votes and moved up three spots to fourth, and Hernando (Brooksville), which remained fifth.
Class 4A regional finalist Eustis, which won the 2021 state title, leads off the second five at No. 6. The Panthers (14-5) received the other first-place vote.
They are followed by Williston, Providence (Jacksonville), Creekside (St. Johns), and West Nassau in the top 10.
The seventh-ranked Red Devils are one of six teams in the Mainstreet Daily News coverage area ranked or receiving votes. The Class 1A No. 1 Red Devils (20-2) have won nine in a row since a 7-5 loss at home to Dixie County (Cross City) on March 14.
The Bears (13-5) dropped one spot to No. 15 following a 3-1 record, with wins at Aucilla Christian (Monticello), Hawthorne, and Santa Fe (Alachua). They lost 2-1 at home against previous No. 18 Branford (8 innings) on April 7.
The Bucs (18-2), who are up six spots to No. 12 following their ninth straight win, are second in 1A according to MaxPreps while the Bears are ranked third.
Branford (18-2) went 6-0 with wins against Madison County, at Bell, vs. RV Suwannee (Live Oak), 7-6 (9), at Gainesville, 4-1 (9), at No. 15 Dixie County (Cross City), 2-1 (8) and at Taylor County (Perry).
Class 5A Columbia, which went 3-1 with wins at P.K. Yonge, vs. previous No. 20 Baker County (Glen St. Mary), 5-4 (11), and at Gainesville, 15-7, are receiving votes.
The Tigers’ (13-5) loss during that stretch was a 12-1 loss at home to Williston last Thursday.
Fort White, which advanced to the 1A state semifinals last year for the first time in program history, is also receiving votes. The Indians (8-6) snapped a three-game losing streak on April 6 with a 2-1 win at home against current No. 1 Baldwin.
Class 3A Suwannee (Live Oak) received one vote to remain in the rankings. The Bulldogs (13-5) lost twice last week but one of the losses was a 7-6 loss to No. 12 Branford in nine innings.
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 #4
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, record through 4/16, and total voting points)
Teams in bold are inside the Mainstreet Daily News coverage area.
1. Baldwin (3A) (6) (14-2) – 193
2. University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (12-2) – 176
3. Deltona (5A) (1) (12-4) – 172
4. Episcopal (Jacksonville) (3A) (2) (16-1) – 169
5. Hernando (Brooksville) (3A) (17-4) – 165
6. Eustis (4A) (1) (14-5) – 162
7. Williston (1A) (20-2) – 134
8. Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (12-4) – 110
9. Creekside (St. Johns) (7A) (13-5) – 108
10. West Nassau (Callahan) (3A) (12-5) – 98
11. East Ridge (Clermont) (7A) (14-7) – 97
12. Branford (1A) (18-2) – 83
13. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (7A) (9-5) – 67
14. Clay (Green Cove Springs) (5A) (11-7) – 60
15. Dixie County (Cross City) (1A) (13-5) – 57
16. Montverde Academy (3A) (16-5) – 55
17. Ponte Vedra (5A) (12-4) – 45
18. Flagler Palm Coast (7A) (12-2) – 32
19. Ridgeview (Orange Park) (5A) (11-6) – 29
20. Paxon (Jacksonville) (4A) (13-4) – 24
Also receiving votes: Middleburg (5A) (11-8) – 20; South Sumter (Bushnell) (3A) (12-7) – 10; Fort White (1A) (8-6) – 9; Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (4A) (13-7) – 8; Columbia (Lake City) (5A) (13-5) – 8; The Villages (3A) (15-3) – 5; Crystal River (3A) (15-6) – 1; University (Orange City) (7A) (11-10) – 3; Suwannee (Live Oak) (3A) (13-5) – 1.