The Prep Zone Power Poll powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville – Softball Poll #7 (FINAL POLL)
GAINESVILLE — The final regional softball rankings for the 2017 season saw some movement around the top 10. But there was no knocking off Oakleaf (Orange Park) from the top, as the nationally-ranked Knights received all six first-place votes to finish as the unanimous #1 team in The Prep Zone Power Poll.
Oakleaf (30-2) captured its first softball state title, defeating Wellington 6-1 to win the 8A championship in Vero Beach. The Knights also finished atop 8A in the Miracle Sports state softball poll while finishing 2nd in the Miracle Sports all-classification poll, and also are currently ranked 8th nationally by Max Preps.
They took over the top spot in The Prep Zone Power Poll at midseason after winning the prestigious Kissimmee Klassic, and were the #1 team in the last four polls. Oakleaf outscored its five regional and state tournament opponents by a combined 44-1 to steamroll to the 8A title.
Two teams who both advanced to Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach ended in a tie for 2nd.
Eustis (26-2) advanced to its first state semifinal appearance and knocked off Hardee (Wauchula) 9-5 to advance to the 5A state championship game, where the Panthers came up just short 2-1 in to nationally-ranked Coral Springs Charter for the 5A title. Eustis also finishes 5th in the all-classification state poll.
Also tied for 2nd is 1A state champion Union County (Lake Butler). The Tigers rallied with three runs in the bottom of the 7th of a state semifinal game to beat Chipley 4-3, then captured their first fast-pitch state title with a 5-1 win over three-time defending 1A state champion Chiefland in the title game. Union County (24-2) had previously won a slow-pitch softball state title in 1987.
Finishing 4th is 4A state semifinalist Trinity Christian (Jacksonville). The Conquerors (21-7) advanced to Vero Beach but were eliminated by eventual 4A state champion Westminster Christian (Miami) in the bottom of the 7th inning. Trinity Christian moves up five spots from the most recent poll taken after district tournament play, and were also ranked #3 for 4A in the final state softball poll by Miracle Sports.
Rounding out the top five is Springstead (Spring Hill). The Eagles (25-5) dropped their Region 2-6A final 2-0 at eventual state champion Land O’Lakes, and fall one spot in this final poll. Springstead finished 4th in the final state softball poll for 6A.
Class 2A state runner-up Aucilla Christian (Monticello) leads off the second five at No. 6. The Warriors (20-9) came up just short in their bid for three state titles in a row, dropping the championship game in Vero Beach to Canterbury (St. Petersburg) 2-1 in 9 innings. Despite that, Aucilla Christian, which finished second in the 2A state rankings, rises 10 slots from the previous regional rankings.
Gainesville (23-6) finishes 7th. The defending 7A state champions lost a 6-0 lead in the regional semifinal this year and lost at Columbia (Lake City) on a walk-off wild pitch, 8-7. The Purple Hurricanes dropped two spots from the previous rankings.
Speaking of Columbia, they finish 8th. The Tigers (18-9), who moved up six spots, defeated Creekside (St. Johns) and Gainesville to advance to the Region 1-7A final, but the season ended for Columbia in a 7-3 loss to eventual 7A state runner-up Niceville.
Class 1A state runner-up Chiefland finishes 9th. The Indians (21-7) just missed out on four state titles in a row, dropping the state championship game to Union County. Chiefland knocked off then No. 8 Trenton, 3-0, in the region final, and rallied for two runs in their last at-bat to stun Wewahitchka, 2-1, in the state semifinals, before their 19-game winning streak in regional and state playoff games came to an end against Union County. The Indians had been receiving votes in the previous poll.
Rounding out the top 10 is Baker County (Glen St. Mary). The Wildcats (20-8) stayed put at #10 despite being knocked out in the 5A regional final 2-1 at Walton (DeFuniak Springs).
Among the highlights in the second 10 are Trenton 11th, 6A state semifinalist Ponte Vedra 13th, and 2A state semifinalist Mount Dora Christian at #16. Ponte Vedra (21-8) and Mount Dora Christian (24-6) are new to the poll, along with Chiefland.
Dropping out is Atlantic Coast (Jacksonville), Episcopal (Jacksonville), Nature Coast Tech (Brooksville), and Mandarin (Jacksonville).
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.
The Prep Zone Power Poll – Softball Poll #7 (FINAL POLL)
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, record through 5/20, and total voting points)
1. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (8A) (6) (30-2) – 120
T-2. Eustis (5A) (26-2) – 111
T-2. Union County (Lake Butler) (1A) (24-2) – 111
4. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (4A) (21-7) – 94
5. Springstead (Spring Hill) (6A) (25-5) – 91
6. Aucilla Christian (Monticello) (2A) (20-9) – 80
7. Gainesville (7A) (23-6) – 71
8. Columbia (Lake City) (7A) (18-9) – 67
9. Chiefland (1A) (21-7) – 61
10. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (5A) (20-9) – 60
11. Trenton (1A) (22-3) – 58
12. Belleview (6A) (23-6) – 53
13. Ponte Vedra (6A) (21-8) – 46
14. Keystone Heights (5A) (19-10) – 39
15. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (9A) (19-10) – 32
16. Mount Dora Christian (2A) (24-6) – 31
17. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (7A) (23-6) – 30
18. West Nassau (Callahan) (5A) (20-8) – 27
19. Santa Fe (Alachua) (5A) (20-7) – 22
20. Deltona (7A) (20-6) – 21
Also receiving votes: Hernando (Brooksville) (5A) (21-10) – 9; Seabreeze (Daytona Beach) (7A) (18-9) – 8; Atlantic Coast (Jacksonville) (8A) (19-9) – 6, Eagle’s View (Jacksonville) (2A) (20-7) – 4; Episcopal (Jacksonville) (4A) (16-5) – 4; Mandarin (Jacksonville) (9A) (18-8) – 3; St. Johns Country Day (Orange Park) (3A) (15-6) – 1.