Concordia's (CA) Katie Carson. Photo Courtesy of Concordia (CA) Sports Information.KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Concordia (Calif.) maintained the No. 1 ranking for the fourth-straight week in the NAIA Softball Coaches' Top 25 Poll, announced by the national office Tuesday. The Eagles extended their NAIA-record win streak to 44 games before falling, 2-0, to then-No. 8 Azusa Pacific (Calif.) on April 17. The other five teams to follow all hold their spots in the sixth-regular season edition.
The Eagles gathered 591 total points and 20 of a possible 21 first-place nods. With a school-best record of 51-3, Concordia will next host the Unaffiliated Group Tournament with teams from the California Pacific Conference, Frontier Conference and Golden State Athletic Conference from May 3 - 5 in Irvine, Calif.
For the fifth-consecutive time, Cal State San Marcos lands in the No. 2 slot. The Cougars recorded 569 total points. With a 45-4 record, Cal State San Marcos is ranked in the top-10 statistically in 11 offensive categories, including fifth in slugging percentage (0.570) and sixth in hits per game (10.2).
No. 3 Oklahoma City captured 544 points. The Stars have eight more regular-season games listed on the schedule in the next week prior to the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) tournament. Oklahoma City is one-game behind league leader and fifth-ranked Lubbock Christian (Texas).
No. 4 Central Baptist captured its first-ever first-place vote in school history, as part of its 538 points. The Mustangs stand 38-4 on the season and ends the year with doubleheaders against Southwestern Christian (Okla.) on Friday and Central Christian (Kan.) on Saturday. Central Baptist will then participate in the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament.
With 509 total points, Lubbock Christian holds its ranking from the last poll. The Lady Chaps will try to maintain its grip on first-place in the SAC with six more regular-season contests. The key battle during that stretch is a twinbill against No. 13 St. Gregory's (Okla.) on Saturday.
Two teams boast the best improvement this week of three spots: St. Gregory's and No. 22 Webber International (Fla.). Both teams are climbing rapidly as St. Gregory's was first recognized in the Week 2 poll, which snapped a two-year drought. Webber International landed in the Top 25 last week for the first time since 2003.
Since poll information was collected in 2000, No. 24 Bethany (Kan.) sports its first national ranking with 109 total points. The Swedes are on a tear winning their last 12 games to improve to 36-7 overall and a three-game lead in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference standings.
With Bethany's jump, Reinhardt (Ga.) (No. 20) was pushed out of the poll.
Thirteen conferences/independent/unaffiliated groupings are represented in the poll. The Southern States Athletic Conference lands six teams in the Top 25 for the seventh-straight time this year: No. 6 William Carey (Miss.), No. 10 Lee (Tenn.), No. 12 Shorter (Ga.), No. 14 Brenau (Ga.), No. 19 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) and No. 23 Mobile (Ala.). The Sooner Athletic Conference claims four Top 25 teams: Oklahoma City, Lubbock Christian, St. Gregory's and No. 18 Southern Nazarene (Okla.). Four other conferences and unaffiliated groups list multiple teams in the poll.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences /independent /unaffiliated groupings. The next poll will be released on May 1.
Notes: (all information dating back to 2000) There have been 37 different teams ranked in seven polls this year... Concordia (Calif.) joins Lubbock Christian (Texas), Cal State San Marcos and Oregon Tech as the No. 1-ranked teams this year... No. 2 Cal State San Marcos has been positioned in either the Nos. 1 or 2 spots all year... Oregon Tech's No. 1 preseason ranking was nine spots higher than it had ever previously appeared in any poll and its first top 10 ranking since being slotted 10th on March 19, 2002 ... Concordia joins Cal State San Marcos, former NAIA member California Baptist, Lubbock Christian, Mobile (Ala.), Oklahoma Baptist, Oklahoma City, Oregon Tech, former NAIA member Simon Fraser (B.C.) and Thomas (Ga.) as the only schools to appear at No. 1 ... California Baptist leads the way with 46 all-time No. 1 appearances, followed by Oklahoma City with 20, Simon Fraser with 18, Thomas with 13, Mobile with five, Lubbock Christian and Concordia with four each... No. 23 Mobile leads all active programs with a 106-straight stretch of being ranked in the Top 25... No. 3 Oklahoma City is second and has appeared in 78-straight polls, falling no lower than 18th during that stretch; No. 5 Lubbock Christian and No. 6 William Carey (Miss.) are tied for third with 41-consecutive mentions, No. 9 Houston-Victoria (Texas) follows with 36-straight and Concordia is at 32-straight polls.
To view the entire poll, click here.
-Courtesy of the NAIA