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ThePrepZone Power Poll powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville – Softball Poll #1

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anytimefitness_gainesvilleDefending state champion Baker County (Glen St. Mary) begins on top of the preseason softball regional rankings

Gainesville – The top seven of the Prep Zone Power Poll is highlighted by teams that either won a state title last season or lost to an eventual state champion in the 2015 postseason.

Baker County Wildcats

Defending state champion Baker County (Glen St. Mary), which knocked off top-ranked American Heritage (Plantation) in last year’s 5A championship game, begins on top of the all-classification regional softball rankings. The Wildcats, who have cruised to a 5-0 start after the first three weeks of the 2016 season, received four of the seven first-place votes.

Oakleaf (Orange Park), which lost to Forest (Ocala) on a walk-off homerun in eight innings in last year’s 6A state semifinals, is ranked second. The Knights (7-0) have wins over No. 8 Gainesville and No. 9 Clay (Green Cove Springs) to open the season.

The Wildcats (4-1), who went on to win the 6A title with a 30-2 record, are ranked 20th nationally. Forest, which lost just two seniors and returns Florida’s Miss Softball Morgan White, dropped a 2-1 decision to Columbia (Lake City) and is ranked third.

Class 5A Ponte Vedra is ranked fourth. The Sharks (5-0), who have wins against #11 Creekside & #19 Atlantic Coast (Jacksonville), lost to Baker County in last year’s regional quarterfinals.

Rounding out the top five is two-time defending state champion Chiefland. The Indians (6-0), who received one first-place vote, returns everyone from last year’s 20-4 team.

Sixth-ranked Belleview has been to the state semifinals three out of the past four years. The Rattlers (5-0) lost to Baker County in last year’s 5A state semifinals.

West Nassau (Callahan) is ranked seventh. The Warriors (6-0) lost to top-ranked Coral Springs Charter in last year’s 4A title game.

Gainesville, which is also nationally ranked but lost to #2 Oakleaf, is ranked eighth, while Clay (Green Cove Springs) and Spruce Creek (Port Orange) round out the top 10.

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 SOFTBALL POLL #1
(School, followed by classification, first-place votes, record through 2/21, and total voting points)
1. Baker County (Glen St. Mary) (5A) (4) (5-0) – 137
2. Oakleaf (Orange Park) (8A) (7-0) – 126
3. Forest (Ocala) (7A) (2) (4-1) – 125
4. Ponte Vedra (5-0, 5A) – 108
5. Chiefland (1A) (1) (6-0) – 106
6. Belleview (6A) (5-0) – 105
7. West Nassau (Callahan) (5A) (6-0) – 104
8. Gainesville (7A) (5-1) – 102
9. Clay (Green Cove Springs) (5A) (3-1) – 74
10. Spruce Creek (Port Orange) (9A) (6-1) – 62
11. Creekside (St. Johns) (7A) (5-2) – 60
12. Deltona (7A) (3-0) – 48
13. Lake Minneola (8A) (6-1) – 39
14. Lafayette (Mayo) (1A) (5-2) – 37
15. Eustis (5A) (5-1) – 32
16. Nature Coast (Brooksville) (5A) (8-0) – 29
17. Aucilla Christian (Monticello) (2A) (1-1) – 28
18. Suwannee (Live Oak) (5A) (4-1) – 27
19. Atlantic Coast (Jacksonville) (8A) (5-2) – 24
20. Flagler Palm Coast (9A) (5-1) – 21
Also receiving votes: South Sumter (Bushnell) (5A) (5-1) – 18; University Christian (Jacksonville) (3A) (2-0) – 16; Montverde Academy (4A) (5-1) – 14; Santa Fe (Alachua) (4A) (3-2) – 10; Fort White (1A) (6-0) – 9; St. Johns Country Day (Orange Park) (3A) (4-2) – 3; Bell (1A) (5-1) – 3; Columbia (Lake City) (7A) (3-3) – 1; Union County (Lake Butler) (1A) (5-2) – 1.

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