Concordia's (CA) Katie Carson. Photo Courtesy of Concordia (CA) Sports Information.KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For the fifth-consecutive week, Concordia (Calif.) holds down the No. 1 position in the NAIA Softball Coaches' Top 25 Poll, announced by the national office Tuesday. The Eagles own the most victories in the NAIA this year (51-3) and earned 20 first-place votes to go along with 591 total points in the seventh regular-season edition. Eight of the top 10 teams held their spots from last week.
The final regular-season Top 25 poll will be announced on May 8 by 3 p.m. CDT. In addition to the poll, the 32 national championship qualifiers will be released at the same time on www.NAIA.org. The pool play assignments and schedule will be announced on May 9 by 3 p.m. CDT on www.NAIA.org.
Concordia will shake off the cobwebs and host the Unaffiliated Group Tournament with teams from the California Pacific Conference, Frontier Conference and Golden State Athletic Conference Thursday through Saturday. The Eagles have not played since April 17 in a doubleheader split with then-No. 8 Azusa Pacific (Calif.). They rank in the top 10 statistically as a team in several major offensive categories, including fourth in batting average (.387) and fifth in runs scored per game (8.3).
No. 2 Cal State San Marcos gathered 572 points to hold position for the sixth-straight week. Third-ranked Oklahoma City, with 552 points, is percentage points behind Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) leader and No. 5 Lubbock Christian (Texas). With the remaining first-place vote, No. 4 Central Baptist (Ark.) recorded 531 points. Rounding out the top five is Lubbock Christian with 516 points.
No. 15 Southern Nazarene (Okla.) made the biggest jump within the poll as it crept up three spots. The Crimson Storm have won seven in-a-row and take on No. 17 St. Gregory's (Okla.) today in the regular-season finale.
No. 21 Reinhardt (Ga.) is the lone newcomer, after being ranked two weeks ago. The Lady Eagles won their second-straight Appalachian Athletic Conference tournament after a 6-0 shutout of Virginia Intermont on April 27. They will enter the 2012 NAIA National Championship in Gulf Shores, Ala., with a 34-11 record.
One week after its first ranking since 2000, Bethany (Kan.) (No. 24) falls out of the Top 25.
Thirteen conferences/independent/unaffiliated groupings are represented in the poll. The Southern States Athletic Conference lands six teams in the Top 25 for the eighth-straight time this year: No. 6 William Carey (Miss.), No. 11 Lee (Tenn.), No. 12 Shorter (Ga.), No. 16 Brenau (Ga.), No. 18 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) and No. 25 Mobile (Ala.). The SAC claims four Top 25 teams: Oklahoma City, Lubbock Christian, Southern Nazarene and St. Gregory's. 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.
Notes: (all information dating back to 2000) There have been 37 different teams ranked in eight 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, Concordia with five and Lubbock Christian with four... No. 25 Mobile leads all active programs with a 107-straight week stretch of being ranked in the Top 25... No. 3 Oklahoma City is second and has appeared in 79-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 42-consecutive mentions, No. 9 Houston-Victoria (Texas) follows with 37-straight and Concordia is at 33-straight polls.
To view the poll, click here.
-Courtesy of the NAIA