By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For the first time in school history, Concordia (Calif.) tops the NAIA Softball Coaches' Top 25 Poll with eight first-place votes and 574 total points. The Eagles are the fourth different team in as many polls this year to be the No. 1-ranked team. With a 46-2 overall record and the country's longest winning streak (39 games), Concordia improved two positions after last week's top-two squads had recent losses.
No. 2 Cal State San Marcos held steady with 571 points and seven first-place nods. The Cougars fell, 4-2, to then-unranked St. Gregory's (Okla.) on March 22. Since then, Cal State San Marcos has won a trio of games. The Cougars have lived in the top-two positions in all four polls this year.
With the remaining six first-place votes, No. 3 Oklahoma City improved one spot with 570 points. The Stars, who are ranked in their 75th-straight poll, are enjoying a 17-game winning streak. The most recent wins were a doubleheader sweep of then-No. 1 Lubbock Christian (Texas) on March 29.
Central Baptist (Ark.) also skips ahead to fourth with 524 points. The Mustangs have out-scored their opponents 54-3 during their current five-game winning streak.
Former No. 1, Lubbock Christian, tumbled down to the fifth position with 518 points. The Lady Chaps dropped three of five contests during one stretch last week. Included in that span was a doubleheader loss to Oklahoma City.
No. 24 Campbellsville (Ky.) and No. 25 Reinhardt (Ga.) slide in as newcomers. The ranking is the first for the Tigers since Feb. 2, 2010 (No. 24) in the Preseason Top 25. Reinhardt is back in again after a Preseason status of No. 19.
Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) (No. 13) and Oklahoma Christian (No. 21) were the two teams to fall out.
No. 17 SCAD Savannah (Ga.) makes a splash as the biggest improvement within the poll. The Fighting Bees, who vaulted up five spots, are 17-1 on the season.
Thirteen conferences/independent/unaffiliated groupings are represented in the poll. The Southern States Athletic Conference checks in with six ranked teams: No. 7 William Carey (Miss.), No. 9 Shorter (Ga.), No. 13 Lee (Tenn.), No. 16 Brenau (Ga.), No. 20 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) and No. 22 Mobile (Ala.). The Sooner Athletic Conference claims four Top 25 teams: Oklahoma City, Lubbock Christian, No. 11 St. Gregory's (Okla.) and No. 21 Southern Nazarene (Okla.). Three 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 April 10.
Notes: (all information dating back to 2000) The Southern States Athletic Conference lists out six programs in the Top 25 for the fourth-straight time... No. 24 Campbellsville (Ky.) becomes the 35th different team to be ranked this year (through four polls)... Concordia (Calif.) joins Lubbock Christian (Texas), Cal State San Marcos and Oregon Tech as the No. 1-ranked teams this year in four polls... 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 with four and Oklahoma Baptist with two ... No. 22 Mobile leads all active programs with a 103-straight stretch of being ranked in the Top 25... No. 3 Oklahoma City is second and has appeared in 75-straight polls, falling no lower than 18th during that stretch; No. 5 Lubbock Christian and No. 7 William Carey (Miss.) are tied for third with 38-consecutive mentions, No. 10 Houston-Victoria (Texas) follows with 33-straight and Concordia is at 29-straight polls.
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2012 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||3||Concordia (Calif.) (8)||46-2||574|
|2||2||Cal State San Marcos (7)||34-3||571|
|3||4||Oklahoma City (6)||32-2||570|
|4||5||Central Baptist (Ark.)||32-3||524|
|5||1||Lubbock Christian (Texas)||31-4||518|
|7||7||William Carey (Miss.)||27-6||462|
|8||10||Azusa Pacific (Calif.)||32-6||449|
|11||13||St. Gregory's (Okla.)||31-4||377|
|14||15||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||29-5||348|
|15||17||Williams Baptist (Ark.)||29-6||321|
|17||22||SCAD Savannah (Ga.)||17-1||265|
|19||20||College of Idaho||23-7||243|
|20||18||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||22-12||222|
|21||25||Southern Nazarene (Okla.)||24-12||166|