KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Three new teams were introduced, while the top-seven squads held their positions in the third regular-season edition of the 2011 NAIA Softball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. No. 18 Williams Baptist (Ark.), No. 24 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) and No. 25 Reinhardt (Ga.) enter the poll for the first time during the regular-season. Top-ranked California Baptist continues its dominance with its 19th-straight No. 1 billing.
With a 17-5 record, Williams Baptist has won 12 games in-a-row to vault into the rankings. Out of the American Midwest Conference, the Lady Eagles have shut out six opponents during their current winning streak. Thanks to six wins in its last 10 games, Azusa Pacific notches 148 total points in the poll to stand 24th. Rounding out the bottom of the poll is Reinhardt (Ga.) in the 25th position. The Eagles have gone 12-2 in their last 14 contests to improve to 26-8 overall.
California Baptist earned 653 total points and was the No. 1 unanimous choice this week with 23 first-place votes. The Lancers have won 28-straight games, including an 8-0 week. They have not lost since March 1 falling to then-No. 8 California State-San Marcos by a 1-0 score. California Baptist will be tested in its first battle of the season against No. 3 Concordia (Calif.) on Tuesday. With the most wins in the NAIA (45-1), the Lancers are then scheduled for a doubleheader at No. 24 Azusa Pacific on Saturday.
California Baptist leads the country in runs scored (382), RBIs (360), doubles (98) and E.R.A. (0.600). Since California Baptist was ranked No. 1 starting on March 24, 2009, it holds an 140-8 (.946) overall record.
For the third-consecutive week, William Carey (Miss.) continues to sit at No. 2. The Lady Crusaders posted 632 total points and are 34-1 on the season. Concordia is ranked third with 606 total points. The Eagles are followed by No. 4 California State-San Marcos and No. 5 Brenau (Ga.).
Marian (Ind.) (No. 15), Madonna (Mich.) (No. 20) and Biola (Calif.) (No. 21) all fall out of the Top 25 this week.
Fourteen conferences and unaffiliated groupings are represented in the poll. The Southern States Athletic Conference leads all leagues with five ranked teams: William Carey, Brenau, No. 8 Belhaven (Miss.), No. 10 Mobile (Ala.) and No. 20 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.). The Association of Independent Institutions, Golden State Athletic Conference and Sooner Athletic Conference each landed a trio of teams in the Top 25.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conference/independent/unaffiliated groupings. The fourth regular season Top 25 will be announced on April 12.