Red-hot Columbia (Lake City) extends lead in regional rankings
GAINESVILLE — The Columbia (Lake City) Tigers continue to roll through the regular season as they hope to make their second straight trip to the FHSAA Baseball state championships in May in Fort Myers.
Columbia is nearly a unanimous No. 1 team in the all-classification regional rankings.
The Tigers (16-2) won nine games in a row since losing at Valdosta (GA), 3-0, on March 9. They won four games over the past two weeks, including two wins over No. 11 Buchholz (Gainesville) and a victory on the road at 2A No. 8 North Florida Christian (Tallahassee).
The Tigers, ranked No. 3 in 5A and 10th overall statewide regardless of classification of MaxPreps, received nine of 10 first-place votes this week to extend their lead over 2nd-ranked St. Johns Country Day (Orange Park) in The Prep Zone Power Poll.
The Spartans (14-3) have been pretty hot themselves and they picked up the other first-place vote this week while being ranked 2nd unanimously by the other nine voters in the poll.
SJCD picked up wins at No. 5 Providence (Jacksonville), No. 6 Clay (Green Cove Springs), and 18th-ranked Fleming Island (Orange Park) over the last two weeks.
Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) moves back up to 3rd after being ranked No. 7 previously.
The Conquerors (14-3) have won seven in a row, including wins against Clay, No. 13 Creekside (St. Johns), No. 20 Mandarin (Jacksonville), and 6A No. 11 and No. 52 overall Viera. They also defeated Nease (Ponte Vedra) and Chiles (Tallahassee) in that span.
Lake Minneola (Minneola) moves up to 4th.
The Hawks (15-3) have won five of six with the only loss 4-3 at South Lake (Groveland) in 11 innings.
Lake Minneola switches places with Providence, which rounds out the top five.
The Stallions (14-4) split four games over the past two weeks, with a loss to unranked Bartram Trail and No. 2 St. Johns Country Day, and wins over Englewood (Jacksonville) and Bishop Snyder (Jacksonville).
Clay leads off the second five.
The Blue Devils (14-4) were 3-2 over the past few weeks with a win over Fleming Island and Yulee and setbacks to St. Johns Country Day and Trinity Christian.
Oakleaf (Orange Park) drops one spot to 7th.
The Knights (15-3) defeated Cairo (GA), Baldwin, and RV Union County (Lake Butler), and were beaten by 17th-ranked Ridgeview (Orange Park) and Fernandina Beach, which moved up nine spots to round out the top 10 this week.
North Marion (Citra) is up nine slots and into the top 10 at No. 8.
The Colts (14-4) have won seven in a row and are No. 2 in 4A and 23rd overall by MaxPreps. North Marion picked up wins over Creekside, RV Trinity Catholic (Ocala), and two victories over Gainesville as well as beating Lumpkin County (GA) 11-1.
Sandalwood (Jacksonville) and Fernandina Beach round out the top 10 at ninth and 10th, respectively.
The No. 9 Saints (13-4) defeated Bolles (Jacksonville) and Riverside (Jacksonville) but lost 5-2 to Fernandina Beach.
Fernandina Beach is the hottest team in The Prep Zone Power Poll. The Pirates (14-3) have won 12 games in a row.
They defeated Sandalwood and Oakleaf on the road in the last two weeks and also had wins over No. 14 Baker County (Glen St. Mary) and RV Trinity Catholic (Ocala) during the winning streak. Their only losses came in the first five games of the season to Ridgeview, Wolfson (Jacksonville), and Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville).
Speaking of Wolfson, the Wolfpack are one of the teams new to the poll this week at 19th.
Wolfson (13-3) has won 12 of 13 after a 1-2 start, with the only loss in that span to Lincoln (Tallahassee). The Wolfpack also own wins over Mandarin, Bolles, Fernandina Beach, First Coast (Jacksonville), and Fletcher (Neptune Beach).
Wolfson replaces Union County, which dropped out of the poll after being ranked 18th previously.
The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, girls volleyball, girls basketball, boys basketball, softball & baseball 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 by sportswriters and sportscasters and it is powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville.
THE PREP ZONE POWER POLL POWERED BY ANYTIME FITNESS OF GAINESVILLE – 2023 BASEBALL POLL #4
(School, followed by classification, first place votes, record through 4/10, and total voting points)
1. Columbia (Lake City) (5A) (9) (16-2) – 199
2. St. Johns Country Day (Orange Park) (2A) (1) (14-3) – 191
3. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (3A) (14-3) – 168
4. Lake Minneola (Minneola) (6A) (15-2) – 159
5. Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (14-4) – 153
6. Clay (Green Cove Springs) (5A) (14-4) – 152
7. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (6A) (15-3) – 137
8. North Marion (Citra) (4A) (14-4) – 123
9. Sandalwood (Jacksonville) (7A) (13-4) – 122
10. Fernandina Beach (3A) (14-3) – 103
11. Buchholz (Gainesville) (6A) (11-5) – 86
12. Hernando (Brooksville) (4A) (14-3) – 79
13. Creekside (St. Johns) (7A) (15-3) – 67
14. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (4A) (14-5) – 65
15. Lafayette (Mayo) (1A) (12-3) – 64
16. Santa Fe (Alachua) (4A) (12-5) – 45
17. Ridgeview (Orange Park) (5A) (12-5) – 35
18. Fleming Island (Orange Park) (6A) (12-5) – 34
19. Wolfson (Jacksonville) (3A) (13-3) – 30
20. Mandarin (Jacksonville) (7A) (11-5) – 24
Also receiving votes: Union County (Lake Butler) (1A) (11-5) – 20; Madison County (1A) (11-5) – 11; Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (3A) (12-6) – 7; Trenton (1A) (15-3) – 5; Keystone Heights (3A) (11-4) – 2; Oak Hall (Gainesville) (2A) (12-3) – 1; The Villages (4A) (9-10) – 1.