Prep Zone Power Poll – 2015 Baseball Poll #7

Williston_baseballGAINESVILLE – As one area coach put it, “it’s all about getting to the tournament.”

The top two baseball teams from each district tournament advance to the FHSAA regional playoffs. The winner is hosting a first round game this week, while the district runner-up will be on the road.

But the district championship game marked the final time this season that a loss doesn’t eliminate you.

Last year the two defending state champions in the area, Williston and Trinity Catholic (Ocala), each took different paths. The Red Devils won their district championship game en route to the Class 1A state title, but the Celtics lost the 4A-District 6 title game to South Sumter (Bushnell) before winning three straight on the road and knocking off state powers Bishop Verot (Ft. Myers) and Pensacola Catholic in Fort Myers to win the 4A state title.

“It’s nice to be moving on to the regional round, and you can win it (tournament) just as easily that way,” added St. Francis Catholic (Gainesville) coach Kevin Maris, whose team lost in the Class 3A-District 3 title game to state-ranked St. Joseph Academy (St. Augustine) and will be on the road for the state playoffs.

For the second straight season, Williston (24-2 in 2015) is a defending district champion, edging Chiefland 1-0 in the 1A-District 7 championship, marking their sixth shutout of the season. It was also the Red Devils’ 16th straight victory.

They remained a unanimous No. 1 in the Prep Zone Power Poll.

Creekside (St. Johns) is ranked second in the regional rankings. The Knights (23-4) won the 6A-District 4 title with a 5-0 win against #3 Bartram Trail (St. Johns) in the championship game. They have won 10 of their last 11 games and completed a three-game sweep of the Bears (19-6), who remained third in this week’s poll.

Buchholz (Gainesville), which has been ranked as high as No. 4 in the state in Class 7A this season, is ranked fourth. The Bobcats (19-7) defeated Fletcher (Neptune Beach) and No. 8 Fleming Island (Orange Park) to win 7A-District 3.

Rounding out the top five is Trinity Christian (Jacksonville). The Conquerors (19-8) crushed previous No. 6 Bolles (Jacksonville), 17-3 (6 innings), to win 4A-District 3.

University Christian (Jacksonville) (17-8), which has wins against #11 Bolles, Trinity Christian (twice) and #8 Fleming Island this season, is ranked sixth. The 3A-District 4 Runners-up are followed by Forest (Ocala) at No. 7, Fleming Island and South Sumter are tied for eighth, and Providence (Jacksonville) rounds out the top 10.

The Stallions (17-9) moved up three spots to 10th after a 10-0 win over the Fighting Christians in five innings.

Providence, which will host St. Francis Catholic in the opening round, has wins this year against #11 Bolles, #5 Trinity Christian (twice) and 8A Sandalwood, which fell to 20th after losing to Mandarin (Jacksonville) in the 8A-District 2 semifinals. U.C.S will be on the road at St. Joseph (16-4), which moved up five spots to 12th.

Suwannee (Live Oak) is in the rankings at No. 17. The 5A-District 2 champion Bulldogs (17-7) have won 10 of their last 11.

Class 4A-District 5 champion Keystone Heights is back in the rankings at No. 18. The Indians (19-8) will host defending 4A state champion Trinity Catholic (Ocala), which is not currently receiving votes in the poll and carries a losing record into the postseason.

This is the last poll until the final poll is released on Tuesday, May 26.

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 weekly by sportswriters and sportscasters.

PREP ZONE POWER POLL – 2015 BASEBALL POLL #7
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, overall record through 4/28 and total voting points)
1. Williston (1A) (7) (24-2) – 140
2. Creekside (St. Johns) (6A) (23-4) – 132
3. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (6A) (19-6-1) – 122
4. Buchholz (Gainesville) (7A) (19-7) – 120
5. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (4A) (19-8) – 115
6. University Christian (Jacksonville) (3A) (17-8) – 91
7. Forest (Ocala) (6A) (20-7) – 90
8T Fleming Island (Orange Park) (7A) (17-9) – 86
8T South Sumter (Bushnell) (4A) (17-6) – 86
10. Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (17-9) – 83
11. Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A) (18-9) – 69
12. St. Joseph Academy (St. Augustine) (3A) (16-4) – 55
13. Trinity Christian (Deltona) (2A) (19-8) – 43
14T Eustis (5A) (18-7) – 40
14T Lafayette (Mayo) (1A) (21-4) – 40
16. Atlantic Coast (Jacksonville) (7A) (19-7) – 29
17. Suwannee (Live Oak) (5A) (17-7) – 23
18. Keystone Heights (4A) (19-8) – 19
19. Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (5A) (16-10) – 17
20T Sandalwood (Jacksonville) (8A) (17-7) – 13
20T Westside (Jacksonville) (6A) (18-6) – 13
Also receiving votes: Deltona (6A) (18-10) – 9; Taylor (Pierson) (1A) (16-6) – 9; North Marion (Citra) (5A) (16-11) – 9; Clay (Green Cove Springs) (5A) (15-10) – 5; Central (Brooksville) (5A) (18-10) – 4; Chiefland (1A) (16-6) – 3; Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (5A) (15-11) – 3; Mandarin (Jacksonville) (8A) (17-8) – 2.