KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the 22nd-straight time, California Baptist boasts the No. 1 ranking in the sixth regular-season edition of the 2011 NAIA Softball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. No. 2 William Carey (Miss.) and No. 3 California State-San Marcos both hold their positions, while No. 4 Central Baptist (Ark.), No. 5 (tie) Trevecca Nazarene (Tenn.) and No. 5 (tie) Concordia (Calif.) all shift one spot.
No. 25 Oklahoma is the only newcomer this week. With 124 total points, the Bison make the jump behind a six-game winning streak. Oklahoma Baptist is in the Top 25 for the first time this year and is 31-13 on the season and in a tie for second place in the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC). On Wednesday, the Bison host No. 10 Oklahoma City in a four-game set that will span two days. Oklahoma Baptist trails OCU by two games for the conference lead.
OBU replaces formerly-ranked No. 13 SCAD Savannah (Ga.) in the poll. The Bees are on the downhill slide after losing three straight games and five of their last eight.
Behind the most wins in the NAIA at 53-3, California Baptist posted 684 total points and all 24 first-place votes. The Lancers went 1-1 last week in a doubleheader against Vanguard (Calif.) on April 18. The No. 1 team in the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) with a 16-2 record, California Baptist takes on second-place and No. 5 (tie) Concordia on Thursday in a twinbill from Irvine, Calif. Since the Lancers were ranked No. 1 starting on March 24, 2009, they hold a 148-10 (.936) overall record. California Baptist is ranked in the top 10 nationally in 21 different statistical categories.
For the sixth-consecutive time, William Carey lands in the No. 2 position with 659 total points. The Lady Crusaders clinched the No. 1 seed in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) West Division with a 17-3 record and 49-4 overall. The tournament begins on Thursday from Columbus, S.C. William Carey is fresh off of a doubleheader sweep against then-No. 8 Mobile (Ala.) on April 21.
Third-ranked California State-San Marcos holds for the third-straight week and has been in the top 10 in each poll this year. The Cougars, who gathered 641 total points, have four more scheduled games before they start play in the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Tournament on May 5. On Tuesday, Cal State-San Marcos (36-6) heads to No. 12 Azusa Pacific (Calif.), before a doubleheader on April 30 against Hope International (Calif.).
No. 4 Central Baptist moved up one position to its highest ranking this year. Behind a 12-game winning streak, the Mustangs collected 610 total points. They finished the regular season with a 47-2 overall record and will await the A.I.I. Tournament on May 5. Central Baptist leads the NAIA in total home runs (109) and in nearly every other offensive team category.
With its first top-five ranking this year, Trevecca Nazarene recorded 587 total points to sit in a tie for fifth-place. The Trojans have won 14 games in-a-row and are 42-3 on the season. They have locked up the No. 1 seed in the TranSouth Athletic Conference and will next play in the conference tournament on May 3 in Henderson, Tenn.
Sliding down one spot is Concordia, who is in a fifth-place tie with Trevecca Nazarene. The Eagles have lost three-straight games, including a pair at the hands of then-No. 16 Azusa Pacific on April 19. Concordia concludes the regular season with a doubleheader against top-ranked California Baptist on Thursday.
Thirteen conferences and unaffiliated groupings are represented in the poll. The SSAC continues to dominate with the most ranked clubs with five: William Carey, No. 8 Belhaven (Miss.), No. 11 Brenau (Ga.), No. 16 Shorter (Ga.) and No. 18 Mobile. The Association of Independent Institutions, GSAC and SAC each claim three teams in the Top 25. The American Midwest Conference and Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference each land a pair of teams in the poll.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conference/independent/unaffiliated groupings. The seventh regular season Top 25 will be announced on May 3.
To view the entire poll, click here.
- Courtesy of the NAIA