Oakleaf takes No. 1 ranking into the postseason
GAINESVILLE – Defending state champion Oakleaf (Orange Park) begins its quest for consecutive titles this week.
Last week, the Knights (23-2) went 3-0 to finish the regular season with a 15-game winning streak. They won at Clay (Green Cove Springs), 2-0; d. Atlantic Coast (Jacksonville), 12-6; and, they beat RV Baker County (Glen St. Mary), 7-1, in the regular season finale.
Oakleaf, which will host the Class 8A-District 2 tournament this week, is up to 12th nationally in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 Writers’ Poll. They are ranked #1 in Class 8A, the top overall team in Florida according to Miracle Sports, and they are a unanimous selection for the number one spot in The Prep Zone Power Poll.
The Knights received all six first-place votes to remain No. 1 in the all-classification regional rankings.
One of their two losses this season is to Bartram Trail (St. Johns), which remained second following a 4-0 week. The Bears (22-2), who are ranked 5th in Class 7A, will be the top seed in 7A-District 4.
Columbia (Lake City) is still third. In fact, the top three teams were unanimous picks.
The Tigers (20-3) lost a district tie-breaker by one run to Gainesville, which dropped one spot to fifth, for the No. 1 seed in 7A-District 3.
That means the Hurricanes (18-5) will host and both teams could face each other again for the district title on Thursday. The district championship game will be broadcast ‘live’ on 92.1 FM & 1230 AM in Gainesville, as well as audio and video online at ThePrepZone.com.
Last year, Columbia eliminated Gainesville in the second round of the state playoffs. Two years ago, GHS edged Columbia, 2-1 in the regional semifinals, on their way to winning the Class 7A state title.
Trenton moved up two spots to fourth.
The Tigers, who are ranked No. 1 in Class 1A, ended the season with wins against higher classification teams. They defeated GHS, 1-0, to complete a 2-game sweep of the ‘Canes, and they ended the regular season with a 2-1 win against Class 5A Keystone Heights, which dropped two spots this week from 13th to 15th.
Class 9A University (Orange City), 4A #1 Providence (Jacksonville), 7A Deltona & 8A East Ridge (Clermont), who are tied for eighth, and defending 5A state runner-up Eustis, round out the top 10.
Crystal River (17-2), the new No. 1 team in 6A, moved up a couple of spots to 16th, while a pair of Class 5A teams jump into the rankings this week.
Atlantic (Port Orange) is 19th and Santa Fe (Alachua) is tied for 20th.
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 – 2018 Softball Poll #7
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, record through 4/21, and total voting points)
1. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (8A) (6) (23-2) – 120
2. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (7A) (22-2) – 114
3. Columbia (Lake City) (7A) (20-3) – 108
4. Trenton (1A) (21-3) – 100
5. Gainesville (7A) (18-5) – 92
6. University (Orange City) (9A) (19-4) – 90
7. Providence (Jacksonville) (4A) (18-2) – 85
8T. Deltona (7A) (19-2) – 72
8T. East Ridge (Clermont) (8A) (23-2) – 72
10. Eustis (5A) (19-5) – 70
11. West Nassau (Callahan) (5A) (18-6) – 56
12T. Springstead (Spring Hill) (6A) (21-4) – 53
12T. Hernando (Brooksville) (5A) (20-3) – 53
14. Union County (Lake Butler) (1A) (13-4) – 39
15. Keystone Heights (5A) (16-9) – 37
16. Crystal River (6A) (17-2) – 34
17. Mandarin (Jacksonville) (9A) (19-6) – 23
18. Taylor (Pierson) (5A) (16-4) – 11
19. Atlantic (Port Orange) (5A) (14-4) – 9
20T. Santa Fe (Alachua) (5A) (16-8) – 6
20T. Aucilla Christian (Monticello) (2A) (10-7) – 6
Also receiving votes: Christ’s Church Academy (Jacksonville) (2A) (14-1) – 4; Dunnellon (6A) (15-7) – 3; Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (5A) (15-8) – 2; St. Johns Country Day (Orange Park) (3A) (13-3) – 1.