The Times-Union softball Power Poll will run Thursday’s through the end of the regular season. It is being published a day early this week due to Spring Break. Records are through March 14 games.
Rank, School, Record, Classification, Previous
1. Oakleaf (8-2), Class 8A, 2
Notable wins: Bartram Trail, First Coast, Lake Howell, Middleburg, Oviedo Hagerty.
Glance: After two weeks at No. 2, the Knights move back to the top spot, and, deservedly so. They’ve won four consecutive games since a 4-0 loss to West Orange on March 4, three of those high quality. We covered the win over Bartram Trail last week, but Oakleaf played exceptional softball last weekend in beating Lake Howell (14-0) and Oviedo Hagerty (6-0) on the road. Madisyn Davis and Cambria Arturo combined on a one-hitter in the five-inning rout of Lake Howell, and Kelsey Sweatt handcuffed Hagerty in a two-hitter. Angela Agurkis homered against Hagerty, and Mika Garcia and Agurkis combined to go 4 for 6 with five RBI against Lake Howell. Sweatt (2-2, 35 Ks, 27 IP, 1.01 ERA) and Davis (4-0, 15 Ks, 16 IP, 0.86 ERA) are the best 1-2 in the area.
2. West Nassau (8-3), Class 5A, NR
Notable wins: Baker County, Columbia, Coral Springs Charter, Creekside.
Glance: The Warriors make their entrance to the Power Poll following a huge win on March 10, a 3-2 walk-off victory in 8 innings over nationally ranked Coral Springs Charter. Ariel McCullough came on in relief and Bre Hicox knocked in McCullough for the winner. McCullough (5-3, 2.35 ERA) and Skylar Whitty (3-0, save, 1.62 ERA) remain an elite 1-2 pitching combo. Whitty is second in the area in Ks (75) to only Atlantic Coast’s Taylor Bauman (89 Ks). Amelia Olive (.474) leads the Warriors in batting. The Warriors do have losses to teams behind them, rankings wise (Bradford, Suwannee, Trinity), although the win over Coral Springs tends to override those for me.
3. Trinity Christian (8-2), Class 4A, 3
Notable wins: Baker County, Ponte Vedra, Providence, West Nassau, Yulee
Glance: The Conquerors are 1-1 since our last Power Poll, losing on a walk-off to Baker County (2-1) on March 9, and then blasting Interlachen on Tuesday night. As mentioned last week in the Power Poll, we’re going to see a bit of flex with some of the local teams here because they’re going to take turns swapping victories. No need to penalize Trinity for the loss to Baker. Mo Smith took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of that game and the Wildcats banged out a home run by Madison Kennedy, and three singles in the bottom of the seventh to win it. Alexis Ross, Mackenzie Marell and Madison Williams are all hitting .400 or better for the Conquerors. A big night for Amaya Ross in a 9-2 win over Interlachen on Tuesday night — a pair of homers and three RBI in the 9-2 win.
4. Atlantic Coast (9-3), Class 8A, 1
Notable wins: First Coast, Mandarin, Oakleaf, Ponte Vedra, Spruce Creek
Glance: The Stingrays have become a difficult team to figure out. They’re 1-2 since last week, with a 5-3 loss to Baldwin and a 2-1 loss to Paxon. They bounced back with a 4-1 win over Sandalwood on Tuesday night, a game where Taylor Bauman fired a no-hitter with 15 Ks. Even with two losses since last week, it’s still difficult to bump the Stingrays out entirely considering their body of work is impressive, even with teams like Episcopal (six consecutive wins), Paxon (five in a row) and First Coast (seven straight) riding hot streaks. For those interested, if I expanded the poll to a top 10, I’d go Union County, Baker County, First Coast and Paxon from 7-10, respectively.
(tie) 5. Clay (6-2), Class 6A, T5
Notable wins: Keystone Heights, Ponte Vedra.
Glance: Like most teams in the poll, not a lot of activity since last week for the Blue Devils. Pitcher Morgan Crutcher fired a no-hitter with 10 Ks, and was one of three Clay players with multiple hits (Charlotte DeNapoli and Hailey Stone were the others) in a 14-0 win over Menendez in five on March 9. Crutcher has been a brute this season, recording all six of Clay’s wins and striking out 47 in 41.1 IP. Her 0.68 ERA ranks No. 2 in the area behind Episcopal’s Kallie Jones (6-1, 0.58 ERA).
(tie) 5. Creekside (6-2), Class 7A, 4
Notable wins: Baldwin, Bartram Trail, Clay, Fleming Island.
Glance: Not much activity at all since our last Power Poll, with just one game, a gem by Lexi Schivley in a 1-0 victory over Nease on March 9. Schivley and Nease’s Bailey Pattison, two of the best hurlers in St. Johns County, let their arms and their defense do the work in that one. Schivley struck out seven and allowed just two hits; Pattison whiffed eight and scattered six hits. Alyssa Morin had two of those, and Jule Campbell drove in the lone run. Schivley sits at No. 3 in the area in ERA (0.85).
Dropped out: Middleburg (7-4, Class 7A), lost to Gainesville, 4-0; lost to Ridgeview, 6-3.
Next four: Union County (9-1, Class 1A); Baker County (7-4, Class 5A); First Coast (9-2, Class 8A); Paxon (8-3, Class 6A).
On the bubble: Baldwin (6-5, Class 1A); Bartram Trail (5-3, Class 7A); Bishop Kenny (5-3, Class 5A); Bradford (5-3, Class 5A); Episcopal (9-1, Class 4A); Keystone Heights (6-3, Class 5A); Mandarin (6-4, Class 9A); Middleburg (7-4, Class 7A); Ponte Vedra (7-4, Class 6A); St. Johns CD (8-1, Class 2A); Suwannee (8-4, Class 5A).