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Cathi Aradi

Despite First Loss, Cal Baptist Remains On Top In NAIA Poll

Cal BaptistKANSAS CITY, Mo. - Despite its first loss in 32 games, California Baptist continues to hold the No. 1 ranking in the fourth regular-season edition of the 2011 NAIA Softball Coaches' Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. For the 20th-consecutive time and going back to the middle of the 2009 season, the Lancers hold the top spot. They gathered 622 total points and all 22 first-place votes. 

Two programs make a headline in the Top 25 for the first time in the regular season. No. 25 Huntington (Ind.) appears for the first time in 2011 and No. 22 Shorter (Ga.) earns its first ranking since the 2011 Preseason Top 25 on Nov. 9, 2010. The Foresters are 19-1 on the season and rank in the top-15 in two national pitching categories, runs allowed and hits allowed. Shorter has won seven-straight games to better its record to 25-9 on the season. 

Bethel (Ind.) (No. 19) and Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) (No. 20) both fall out of the Top 25. 

California Baptist, with a 48-2 overall record, had its 31-game winning streak stopped with a 2-1 loss to then-No. 24 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) on April 9. The setback was its first since March 1. Since California Baptist was ranked No. 1 starting on March 24, 2009, it holds a 143-9 (.941) overall record. 

William Carey (Miss.) locks down the second spot for the fourth-straight week. The Lady Crusaders recorded 602 total points and stand in first-place in the Southern States Athletic Conference West Division with a 10-1 mark. California State-San Marcos moves up one spot to third and finishes this week with 572 total points. No. 4 Concordia (Calif.) drops once with 569 points. Central Baptist (Ark.) continues to impress with a No. 5 ranking. 

Fourteen conferences and unaffiliated groupings are represented in the poll. The Southern States Athletic Conference leads all leagues with five ranked teams: William Carey, No. 7 Mobile (Ala.), No. 9 Brenau (Ga.), No. 12 Belhaven (Miss.) and No. 22 Shorter (Ga.). 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 fifth regular season Top 25 will be announced on April 19. 

To view the entire poll, click here.

- Courtesy of the NAIA