The Prep Zone Power Poll powered by Strive Fitness – 2018 Softball Poll #1 (PRESEASON POLL)

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Nationally-ranked Gainesville is the top-ranked team in the all-classification regional rankings

GAINESVILLE – Gainesville High is back on top of the regional softball rankings to begin the 2018 season.

The Hurricanes (11-0) received four of the six first-place votes to edge No. 2 Oakleaf (Orange Park), last year’s No. 1 regionally-ranked team, for the preseason No. 1 ranking in The Prep Zone Power Poll.

Two years ago, GHS won the Class 7A state title and finished on top of the final poll, but last year they lost a 6-0 lead in the regional semifinals and lost at Columbia (Lake City) on a walk-off wild pitch, 8-7.

Gainesville is ranked No. 1 in the Miracle Sports Class 7A state rankings and fourth in the all-classification state rankings. They are also ranked 6th nationally by MaxPreps.Gainesville Hurricanes

Among their wins this season are No. 4 Keystone Heights, No. 5 Union County (Lake Butler), and #13 Columbia – all on the road.

Oakleaf, which finished 30-2 last season and its first softball state title, received the other two first-place votes. They are currently 2nd in the Miracle Sports all-classification rankings and they are also the top-ranked team in Class 8A.

The Knights (7-1) have a win against RV Mandarin (Jacksonville) and they lost at No. 3 Bartram Trail, 8-4, on March 2.

Gainesville will play at Oakleaf on Friday, March 23.

The third-ranked Bears (6-1), who are ranked ninth in Class 7A, have a loss at state-ranked Providence (Jacksonville), which is tied for ninth in the regional rankings. Bartram Trail lost to Gainesville in the first round of last year’s 7A state playoffs.

Keystone Heights and Union County round out the top five at fourth and fifth respectively.

The No. 4 Indians (11-1) reeled off 11 straight wins after losing to the #5 Tigers (5-1), last year’s Class 1A state champion, 3-2, in the season opener. Union County’s only loss was to top-ranked Gainesville, 2-1, on February 20.

Eustis, which finished 26-2 last season and advanced to its first state semifinal appearance before falling to nationally-ranked Coral Springs Charter in the 5A state championship game, leads off the second five at No. 6. All but one starter returns for the Panthers (8-2) from last year’s state runner-up team, and seven of those starters were All-State picks.

Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) is ranked seventh. Last year, the Conquerors (21-7) advanced to Vero Beach but were eliminated in the state semifinals by eventual 4A state champion Westminster Christian (Miami) in the bottom of the 7th inning. TCA (8-2) has a 5-0 win against No. 9 Providence, with losses to defending 9A state champion West Orange (Winter Garden) and No. 11 West Nassau (Callahan).

Deltona is ranked eighth. The Wolves (8-1) are ranked No. 1 in The Volusia/Flagler Fab 5 softball rankings.

Trinity Christian is tied for ninth with Springstead (Spring Hill) (8-0), which lost at eventual state champion Land O’Lakes in last year’s Region 2-6A final, to round out the top 10.

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 and it is powered by Strive Fitness.

The Prep Zone Power Poll – Softball Poll #1 (PRESEASON POLL)
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, last year’s record, 2018 record through 3/11, and total voting points)
1. Gainesville (7A) (4) (23-6) (11-0) – 118
2. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (8A) (2) (30-2) (7-1) – 114
3. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (7A) (23-6) (6-1) – 100
4. Keystone Heights (5A) (19-10) (11-2) – 88
5. Union County (Lake Butler) (1A) (24-2) (5-1) – 85
6. Eustis (5A) (26-2) (8-2) – 71
7. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (4A) (21-7) (9-2) – 64
8. Deltona (7A) (20-6) (8-1) – 63
9T. Providence (Jacksonville) (4A) (10-15) (9-1) – 59
9T. Springstead (Spring Hill) (6A) (25-5) (8-0) – 59
11. West Nassau (Callahan) (5A) (20-8) (8-1) – 53
12. Trenton (1A) (22-3) (8-1) – 51
13. Columbia (Lake City) (7A) (18-9) (9-3) – 46
14T. Hernando (Brooksville) (5A) (21-10) (8-0) – 39
14T. Aucilla Christian (Monticello) (2A) (20-9) (2-0) – 39
14T. Taylor (Pierson) (5A) (17-4) (8-0) – 39
17. East Ridge (Clermont) (8A) (18-12) (10-1) – 35
18. DeLand (9A) (13-14) (6-1) – 30
19. Chiefland (1A) (21-7) (10-1) – 26
20. Dunnellon (6A) (23-7) (8-2) – 19
Also receiving votes: Mandarin (Jacksonville) (9A) (18-8) (8-1) – 18, University (Orange City) (9A) (20-7) (6-2) – 15, Santa Fe (Alachua) (5A) (20-7) (6-4) – 8, St. Johns Country Day (Orange Park) (3A) (15-6) (5-1) – 8, Madison County (1A) (9-13) (9-2) – 7, Ridgeview (Orange Park) (6A) (17-13) (4-0) – 3, Belleview (6A) (23-6) (7-3) – 1, Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (9A) (19-10) (3-4) – 1, Seven Rivers Christian (Lecanto) (2A) (18-4) (6-1) – 1.