Gainesville – Spruce Creek (Port Orange) defeated two nationally-ranked teams, including the #1 team in the country, en route to the Class 8A state championship and a unanimous selection as the top team in the final baseball Prep Zone Power Poll.
The Hawks (28-4) knocked off #1 Olympia (Orlando) in the regional finals, followed by a win against the #11 team in the country, Miami Columbus, in the state championship game. Spruce Creek ascended all the way to No. 5 in the USA Today Super 25 national rankings.
Providence (Jacksonville) also took home a state title and finished second in the poll. The Stallions (27-5) won the Class 3A championship with a 2-0 win over American Heritage (Delray Beach) and ended the season with 20 consecutive victories. It was their second title (2008) in the past five years.
The Sharks of Ponte Vedra got all the way to the state title game in Class 5A, but fell to nationally-ranked American Heritage (Plantation), 9-0. They defeated #9 Clay (Green Cove Springs), 1-0 in nine innings, in the state semifinals. Ponte Vedra (21-9) also defeated then #1 Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) in the regional semifinals.
Williston is ranked fourth. The Red Devils (25-4) lost in the 4A regional finals to Bishop Moore (Orlando), but they accomplished the most wins in school history and two playoff wins for the first time in 89 years.
Union County rounds out the top five. The Tigers (22-8) went 32 innings without being scored upon until the Class 1A state championship game. However, Union County went on to defeat Hilliard, 6-3, to win their first state baseball title in school history.
PK Yonge (Gainesville) (25-5) is ranked sixth, followed by 2A Trinity Christian (Deltona) (17-13), which won its third state title in the past four years, Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (24-5), Clay (Green Cove Springs) (21-10) and Episcopal (Jacksonville) (19-10) in the top 10.
Citrus (Inverness) (18-11), which made its longest playoff run since 1981, narrowly missed the top 20 after losing in the 6A regional finals, but 7A New Smyrna Beach (17-12) did crack the top 20 following its first trip to the final four in 75 years.
The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, basketball, baseball & softball teams (regardless of 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 only considers schools that are eligible for state championships. It is voted on weekly by sportswriters and sportscasters.
PREP ZONE POWER POLL – BASEBALL POLL #9 (FINAL RANKINGS)
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, final record & total voting points)
1. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (8A) (6) (28-4) – 120
2. Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (27-5) – 112
3. Ponte Vedra (5A) (21-9) – 104
4. Williston (4A) (25-4) – 89
5. Union County (Lake Butler) (1A) (22-8) – 87
6. PK Yonge (Gainesville) (3A) (25-5) – 82
7. Trinity Christian (Deltona) (2A) (17-13) – 81
8. Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (5A) (6) (24-5) – 76
9. Clay (Green Cove Springs) (5A) (21-10) – 71
10. Episcopal (Jacksonville) (4A) (19-10) – 54
T11 Creekside (St. Johns) (5A) (22-6) – 47
T11 Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (4A) (22-6) – 47
T13 North Marion (Citra) (5A) (22-6) – 43
T13 Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A) (22-6) – 43
T13 Buchholz (Gainesville) (7A) (20-9) – 43
16. Stanton (Jacksonville) (6A) (21-6) – 37
17. Fernandina Beach (4A) (19-9) – 28
18. Trenton (1A) (20-7) – 21
19. New Smyrna Beach (7A) (17-12) – 18
20. Columbia (Lake City) (6A) (17-13) – 12
Also receiving votes (in alphabetical order) – Citrus (Inverness) (6A) (18-11), DeLand (8A) (22-5), Eustis (5A) (22-4), Fletcher (Neptune Beach) (7A) (18-10), Hernando (Brooksville) (5A) (18-11), Hilliard (1A) (18-12), Sandalwood (Jacksonville) (8A) (17-9), Santa Fe (Alachua) (4A) (18-10).