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Cal Baptist, Rest of Top Six Stay Put In Latest NAIA Poll

California BaptistKANSAS CITY, Mo. – Sixteen programs changed rank, but the top-six teams continued to hold their spot in the fifth regular-season edition of the 2011 NAIA Softball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. No. 1-ranked California Baptist is one of those dominant teams on top as the Lancers collected 684 total points and all 24 first-place votes. The Lancers have been the top-ranked team for 21-straight polls, dating back to the middle of the 2009 season. 

The next five teams all have a stranglehold on their spots led by No. 2 William Carey (Miss.). The Lady Crusaders own the second-most wins in the NAIA with a 46-3 mark. William Carey has four more scheduled games in the regular season, with a doubleheader against No. 9 Belhaven (Miss.) on Tuesday, followed by a twinbill on Friday at No. 8 Mobile (Ala.). 

No. 3 California State-San Marcos, No. 4 Concordia (Calif.), No. 5 Central Baptist (Ark.) and No. 6 Trevecca Nazarene (Tenn.) are the other teams among the top-six that stayed in their position. 

No. 19 Saint Xavier (Ill.) and No. 25 Bethel (Ind.) are the newcomers this week. With a 24-11 record, Saint Xavier is ranked for the first time in the 2011 campaign. The Cougars have won five of their last seven games, including two victories against then-No. 13 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) on April 14. Bethel was in the Top 25 for the first four polls of the season, before dropping out last week. The Pilots are 23-6 and have won four-straight contests and seven of their last eight. 

Those two schools replace Southern Nazarene (Okla.) (No. 16) and Huntington (Ind.) (No. 25) from last week’s Top 25. 

California Baptist is back on the winning track with a current four-game winning streak. The Lancers recently had a 31-game winning streak before a loss on April 9 to then-No. 24 Azusa Pacific (Calif.). Since California Baptist was ranked No. 1 starting on March 24, 2009, it holds a 147-9 (.942) overall record. With two more dates in the regular season, California Baptist has a doubleheader scheduled on Tuesday against Vanguard (Calif.) and a doubleheader at No. 4 Concordia (Calif.) on April 28. They hold an NAIA-best 52-2 overall record, including a 15-1 conference mark. The Lancers are currently in first-place in the Golden State Athletic Conference with a two-game lead over Concordia. 

Fourteen conferences and unaffiliated groupings are represented in the poll. The Southern States Athletic Conference is the leader among all conferences with five ranked teams: William Carey, No. 8 Mobile, No. 9 Belhaven (Miss.), No. 12 Brenau (Ga.) and No. 20 Shorter (Ga.). The Association of Independent Institutions and GSAC each boast a trio of teams in the Top 25. Three other conferences 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 sixth regular season Top 25 will be announced on April 26. 

To view the entire poll, click here.

- Courtesy of the NAIA