Gainesville – They ended last season as the No. 1 team in the Prep Zone Power Poll, and they pick up where they left off – on top of the first softball rankings for 2014.
Last year, Columbia (Lake City) went 27-4 and claimed the school’s first-ever state softball title. This season, the Tigers (10-0) are ranked #1 in the Class 6A poll and third overall in the all-classification state rankings. Their entire outfield is headed to college and UF signee Kayli Kvistad is considered one of the best players in the state.
However, they are not a unanimous selection as the top overall team.
Following a 26-3 campaign, the Blue Wave of PK Yonge (Gainesville) are poised to make a run at a state title, and possibly more. This week, Max Preps recognized them as the No. 1 team in the country.
Although they received more first-place votes than Columbia, 4-3, the Tigers edged the Blue Wave (11-0) in total voting points, 136-133, which dropped PK Yonge to No. 2 in the rankings. They are currently ranked No. 1 in the 4A state poll and 6th in the all-classification poll, which is one spot behind the No. 3 team in this week’s poll.
Ponte Vedra (12-0) is fifth in the all-classification state poll and No. 1 in the 5A rankings. The Sharks are third in this week’s poll.
Creekside, which finished second in last year’s poll, was the 5A state runner-up last year in a season which included the school’s first-ever postseason win, first road playoff win and first appearance in the FHSAA Softball Finals. The Knights (9-2) made the jump to 6A this season and are ranked fourth.
Unbeaten Forest (Ocala) rounds out the top five. The Wildcats (11-0) are ranked No. 7 in the 6A poll, but they are two spots ahead of the Knights in the state rankings.
The only two losses this season for Bradford (Starke), which advanced to its first state semifinal appearance in school history last year, are to PK Yonge. The Tornadoes (7-2), who lost a pair of one-run games to the Blue Wave and are ranked No. 4 in the 4A state poll, are ranked sixth.
Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (10-1) is ranked seventh, followed by Nature Coast (Brooksville) (8-0), Citrus (Inverness) (8-1) and Bartram Trail (St. Johns) in the top 10. The 10th-ranked Bears (8-2) are 13-for-13 in postseason appearances all-time.
Class 1A Dixie County (Cross City), which is ranked 12th, is the only other unbeaten team. The Bears improved to 11-0 following a 15-0 win over Williston on Tuesday night.
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, Marion, Nassau, Putnam, Sumter, St. Johns, Suwannee, Taylor, Union & Volusia counties). It is voted on weekly by sportswriters and sportscasters.
Prep Zone Power Poll – 2014 Softball Poll #1
(School, followed by first-place votes, classification, record through March 11 and total voting points)
1. Columbia (3) (6A) (10-0) – 136
2. PK Yonge (Gainesville) (4) (4A) (11-0) – 133
3. Ponte Vedra (5A) (12-0) – 128
4. Creekside (St. Johns) (6A) (9-2) – 98
5. Forest (Ocala) (6A) (11-0) – 96
6. Bradford (Starke) (4A) (7-2) – 95
7. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (5A) (10-1) – 90
8. Nature Coast (Brooksville) (5A) (8-0) – 70
9. Citrus (Inverness) (5A) (8-1) – 65
10. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (6A) (8-2) – 64
11. East Ridge (Clermont) (7A) (10-2) – 58
12. Dixie County (Cross City) (1A) (10-0) – 55
13. Suwannee (Live Oak) (5A) (10-3) – 52
14. Montverde Academy (4A) (9-3) – 46
15. Clay (Green Cove Springs) (5A) (9-3) – 44
16. Hernando (Brooksville) (5A) (8-1) – 43
17. Aucilla Christian (Monticello) (2A) (8-1) – 34
18. Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville) (3A) (5-3) – 28
19. Belleview (5A) (6-2) – 26
20. South Sumter (Bushnell) (4A) (7-1) – 24
Also receiving votes: Lafayette (Mayo) (1A) (9-6) – 21; Mandarin (Jacksonville) (8A) (8-2) – 20; Chiefland (1A) (7-1) – 14; Oakleaf (Orange Park) (6A) (5-3) – 11; Santa Fe (Alachua) (4A) (9-5) – 10; Mount Dora Bible (3A) (8-2-1) – 9.