By Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With 18 first-place votes, Concordia (Calif.) remains at No. 1 in the fourth regular-season edition of the 2013 NAIA Softball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, announced by the national office Tuesday. The top billing is the fourth-straight for the Eagles and 10th overall spanning the last two seasons. The rest of the top-five stays the same in the third installment with No. 2 Cal State San Marcos, No. 3 Lubbock Christian (Texas), No. 4 Lee (Tenn.) and No. 5 Williams Baptist (Ark.).
Concordia captured 559 total points with a 36-3 overall record. After a 4-2 start to the year, the Eagles are 32-1 including a 29-game win streak. Under the direction of coach Crystal Rosenthal, who celebrated career victory No. 200 recently, the Eagles are trying to win 40 games for the fifth-straight season. Led by Katie Cotta’s NAIA-leading ERA (0.200), Concordia’s pitchers rank No. 1 in the nation in ERA (0.690) and opponent batting average (0.127).
For the fourth-straight time, Cal State San Marcos holds in the No. 2 position with 531 points. The Cougars are 12-1 in their last 13 contests and hold a 60-12 scoring advantage during that span.
On a 27-game win streak, Lubbock Christian checks in at the third spot with 527 points. The Lady Chaps grabbed the remaining two first-place nods for the second-straight time. First place in the Sooner Athletic Conference is up for grabs this weekend as Lubbock Christian collides with No. 6 Oklahoma City in a four-game set. Currently, the Lady Chaps are in first-place by two games over the Stars.
No. 4 Lee posted 510 total points and face a tough week. The Lady Flames host No. 10 Belhaven (Miss.) Thursday before No. 12 William Carey (Miss.) comes to Cleveland, Tenn., Saturday.
Leaders in the American Midwest Conference standings with a 31-2 record, Williams Baptist remains steady at No. 5. The Eagles rebounded from a March 29 loss with seven-straight wins. During that current win streak, Williams Baptist owns four shutouts and holds an 86-6 scoring edge.
No. 10 Belhaven highlights the poll with the biggest upward movement, jumping from No. 16 last week. The Blazers improved to 6-3 against the Top 25 with a 6-1 win against then-No. 6 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) April 5.
No. 18 Rogers State (Okla.) fell the farthest in the last week, sliding down 11 spots. The Hillcats lost three-of-four at home to then-No. 20 St. Gregory’s (Okla.) over the weekend.
No. 25 Indiana Southeast is this week’s newcomer. The Grenadiers, who have won 18 of their last 20 contests, check in for the first time since the Preseason Top 25 edition (No. 20).
With four-straight losses, Mobile (Ala.) (No. 22) falls out of the Top 25.
Thirteen of 21 conferences/independent/unaffiliated groupings are represented in the poll. The SSAC leads the way with six programs within the Top 25: Lee, No. 7 Auburn Montgomery, Belhaven, William Carey, No. 16 Brenau (Ga.) and No. 23 Spring Hill (Ala.). The Sooner Athletic Conference claims four ranked teams.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences /independent /unaffiliated groupings. The fifth regular-season Top 25 will be announced on April 16.
For the complete calendar of 2013 Top 25 Polls, click here.
Notes: (all information dating back to 2000) No. 1 Concordia (Calif.) has now held the No. 1 position in 10 of the last 12 polls dating back to the 2012 season… The Southern States Athletic Conference lands a trio of teams in the top 10… There have been 34 teams ranked in the Top 25 in five polls this year (which includes the Preseason Top 25)… No. 6 Oklahoma City leads all active schools with 86-straight rankings, falling no lower than 18th during that stretch which dates back to start of 2004 season; No. 3 Lubbock Christian and No. 12 William Carey (Miss.) are tied for second with 49-consecutive mentions and No. 1 Concordia (Calif.) is right behind at 40-straight polls… With its first preseason No. 1 ranking in history back on Nov. 12, 2012, Cal State San Marcos is looking to become the first team to be on top of the preseason charts and win the national championship in the same season since Oklahoma City did so in 2002… There were 38 different teams ranked in 10 polls last year… This year, two teams have held the No. 1 ranking: Cal State San Marcos (1) and Concordia (4) – last year, there were five different programs… Since 2000, there have been 11 teams to be on top of the polls: Concordia, 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.), former member Shorter (Ga.) and Thomas (Ga.)… 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, Concordia with 10 , Mobile with five and Lubbock Christian with four.
2013 NAIA Softball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll (Rating No. 4 – April 9)
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Concordia (Calif.) (18)||36-3||559|
|2||2||Cal State San Marcos||31-5||531|
|3||3||Lubbock Christian (Texas) (2)||41-6||527|
|5||5||Williams Baptist (Ark.)||30-2||486|
|7||6||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||28-5||444|
|12||10||William Carey (Miss.)||26-9||338|
|13||15||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||25-3||318|
|14||17||South Carolina Beaufort||29-3||315|
|15||20||St. Gregory's (Okla.)||26-7||304|
|17||19||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||29-3||263|
|18||7||Rogers State (Okla.)||35-8||252|
|19||12||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||31-5||239|
|23||24||Spring Hill (Ala.)||28-8||157|
|24||23||Central Baptist (Ark.)||21-9||151|
Others receiving votes: Mobile (Ala.) 78; William Penn (Iowa) 67; Friends (Kan.) 55; Concordia (Ore.) 45; Houston-Victoria (Texas) 40; Simpson (Calif.) 38; Kansas Wesleyan 20; Central Methodist (Mo.) 18; Bellevue (Neb.) 16; Davenport (Mich.) 15; Marian (Ind.) 15; Virginia Intermont 8; Faulkner (Ala.) 8; Bethel (Ind.) 4; Judson (Ill.) 3; St. Thomas (Fla.) 3.