GAINESVILLE — District tournament play saw many of the teams in the Prep Zone Power Poll advance to the regional quarterfinal and semifinal rounds this week.
There were some surprises as a few top 10 teams from the previous poll saw their season come to an end.
But there is no question who the top team is this week.
Bolles (Jacksonville) captured the District 3-5A tournament title with a 2-1 win over Baker County (Glen St. Mary) last week. That win, combined with wins over then-#4 Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) and at then-#7 Providence (Jacksonville) in the final week of the regular season allowed the Bulldogs (23-3) to stay atop the regional baseball rankings for the third straight week.
The ‘Dogs received all eight first place votes and will open Region 1-5A play on Wednesday night at home in the quarterfinals against Yulee.
University (Orange City) defeated then-6th ranked Spruce Creek (Port Orange) 7-5 to claim the District 2-9A title and stay ranked second this week. The Titans (22-3-1) rallied for four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to beat Spruce Creek in the championship game, after being extended to 8 innings before slipping past DeLand 1-0 in the district semifinal. They open play in Region 1-9A Wednesday against Mandarin (Jacksonville).
Creekside (St. Johns) moves up two spots to third this week after capturing the District 4-7A tournament title as the #3 seed. The Knights (20-5) pitched two shutouts in the tourney, defeating rival then-#7 Bartram Trail (St. Johns), the tourney’s second seed, 3-0 in the semifinal round, before knocking off the top seed, then-#12 Nease (Ponte Vedra) 5-0 in the district championship game. Creekside opens up regional play in 7A Wednesday night against Middleburg.
Trinity Christian remains fourth this week after defeating Providence 2-1 to win the District 2-4A title. The Conquerors (22-5) defeated Providence for the second time this season and earned the right to host their regional semifinal game in Class 4A on Thursday against Taylor County (Perry). Trinity Christian closed the regular season with a win at then-3rd ranked Fleming Island (Orange Park), but did lose 6-3 at Bolles.
Rounding out the top five is Spruce Creek (Port Orange), who moved up a spot despite the loss to University in the District 2-9A title game. The Hawks (22-5) now have to open up regional play in 9A on Wednesday at Sandalwood (Jacksonville).
Terry Parker (Jacksonville) captured the District 3-6A championship and moves up three places to lead off the second five this week. The Braves (23-3) defeated Stanton (Jacksonville) 9-5 to win their first district title since 2000, and will play in their first playoff game since 2005 on Wednesday when they open Region 1-6A play against Clay (Green Cove Springs).
Despite their second loss to Trinity Christian this season, and a 6-4 loss at Bolles to end the regular season, Providence moves up one position this week to #7. The Stallions (21-6) are forced to make the long trip to the Panhandle to open up the regional playoffs now, travelling to Pensacola Catholic in a 4A regional semifinal on Thursday.
Although they lost to Creekside in the District 4-7A title game, Nease (Ponte Vedra) moves up four spaces this week into the top 10 as the Panthers are ranked 8th. They capped off the regular season with a win at Fleming Island, but had to go 12 innings to clip Englewood (Jacksonville) 1-0 in the district semifinals to advance to regional play. Nease (22-5) will open up with a tough matchup Wednesday night in Region 1-7A at Columbia (Lake City), who won District 3-7A.
Rounding out the top 10 is Trinity Catholic (Ocala) and Nature Coast (Brooksville). The Celtics (20-7) won the District 3-4A title and moved up from 13th two weeks ago to #9 this week. The Sharks (20-4) won the District 7-5A title with a 13-8 win at Hernando (Brooksville) and move up six spots into the top 10.
Among the second 10 this week is 12th-ranked Atlantic Coast (Jacksonville). The Stingrays (20-7) made the biggest move up after knocking off then-3rd ranked Fleming Island 4-2 in the District 2-8A semifinals before slipping past Oakleaf (Orange Park) 5-0 to take the district title. Atlantic Coast has won eight games in a row and opens up Region 1-8A quarterfinal play on Wednesday against Chiles (Tallahassee).
Despite their season being over after the loss to Atlantic Coast in the district semifinal, Fleming Island is ranked 14th in this week’s poll. Also still in the poll this week despite having their seasons end in district semifinal losses are Bartram Trail (St. Johns) at #15 and South Sumter (Bushnell), who is 16th.
The Raiders (21-5) dropped their District 6-5A semifinal to The Villages, who won the district title. The Buffalo (20-8) knocked off then-#15 Eustis in the district championship game, and at #18 this week are ranked for the first time this year in the power poll.
Belleview (21-6) lost the District 5-6A championship game 5-1 at #17 North Marion (Citra), and is the only team to drop out of the poll this week. However, the Rattlers did qualify for regional play in 6A and will be on the road in the quarterfinals Wednesday at Springstead (Spring Hill). The Eagles (20-6) won the 6A-6 district title and are receiving votes this week.
There will be another poll coming next week after the first round of regional play, which be the last poll until after the FHSAA state baseball championships at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers (May 11-21).
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.
PREP ZONE POWER POLL – 2016 BASEBALL POLL #9
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, current record through 4/25 and total voting points)
1. Bolles (Jacksonville) (5A) (8) (23-3) – 160
2. University (Orange City) (9A) (22-3-1) – 149
3. Creekside (St. Johns) (7A) (20-5) – 143
4. Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) (4A) (22-5) – 140
5. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (9A) (22-5) – 120
6. Terry Parker (Jacksonville) (6A) (23-3) – 119
7. Providence (Jacksonville) (4A) (21-6) – 111
8. Nease (Ponte Vedra) (7A) (22-5) – 84
9. Trinity Catholic (Ocala) (4A) (20-7) – 80
10. Nature Coast (Brooksville) (6A) (20-4) – 70
11. Forest (Ocala) (8A) (19-8) – 68
12. Atlantic Coast (Jacksonvile) (8A) (20-7) – 64
13. Chiefland (1A) (21-4) – 47
14. Fleming Island (Orange Park) (8A) (18-6) – 46
15. Bartram Trail (St. Johns) (7A) (17-8) – 37
16. South Sumter (Bushnell) (5A) (21-5) – 33
17. North Marion (Citra) (6A) (19-8) – 31
18. The Villages (5A) (20-8) – 29
19T Eustis (5A) (18-8) – 22
19T Madison County (1A) (18-5) – 22
Also receiving votes: Belleview (6A) (21-6) – 21, Bishop Kenny (Jacksonville) (6A) (19-8) – 19, Ridgeview (Orange Park) (6A) (19-7) – 19, Springstead (Spring Hill) (6A) (20-6) – 15, Lafayette (Mayo) (1A) (17-6) – 10, Lake Minneola (8A) (17-10) – 8, Christ’s Church (Jacksonville) (2A) (23-3) – 7, Sandalwood (Jacksonville) (9A) (18-9) – 4, St. John Lutheran (Ocala) (2A) (18-6) – 4, Newberry (1A) (16-8) – 2.