By Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Concordia (Calif.) continues to lock down the No. 1 ranking in the seventh regular-season installment of the 2013 NAIA Softball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, announced by the national office Tuesday. The Eagles, who collected all 21 first-place votes and 591 points, is in the top slot for the seventh-consecutive week. With the best win percentage in the NAIA (45-3), Concordia is a national championship qualifier after winning the Unaffiliated Group Tournament (Golden State Athletic Conference/California Pacific Conference) April 27.
The final regular-season Top 25 poll will be announced at 4 p.m. CST May 7. The 40 qualifiers for the first annual NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round will be announced at 5 p.m. The official opening round pairings will be announced via a graphical selection show at approximately 7 p.m. on www.NAIA.org.
Concordia has dominated the competition recently, with five-straight shutouts. During that stretch, the Eagles hold a 51-0 scoring edge. Pitching has been one of the keys to success as the pitching crew is No. 1 in the NAIA in opponent batting average (.125) and earned run average (0.560). Announced last week, Concordia is one of 10 sites selected to host a NAIA National Championship Opening Round tournament.
Holding at Nos. 2 and 3 are Lubbock Christian (Texas) and Lee (Tenn.), respectively. With 572 points, the Lady Chaps have been ranked in the top three in each of the last five polls. Lee, who compiled 533 points, checks in with a top-five spot for the seventh-straight week.
Moving up one position to No. 4 is Cal State San Marcos with 527 points. No. 5 Oklahoma City slides up into the top five for the first time since the 2013 Preseason Top 25. The Stars check in with 512 points.
No. 17 Brenau (Ga.) boasts the best improvement with a five-spot jump. The Tigers have won eight of their last nine contests, including two against opponents ranked in the top 10.
Conversely, No. 20 William Carey (Miss.) fell three positions as the largest drop this week. The ranking is the lowest for the Crusaders since a non-ranking in the 2008 Preseason Top 25 (Jan. 30). They are 3-4 in their last seven games.
This week’s newcomer, No. 25 Friends (Kan.), is ranked for the first time since May 5, 2009 (No. 22). The Falcons have won 18-straight games heading into their opening-round matchup against McPherson (Kan.) in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament Friday.
Indiana Southeast (No. 24) is the only program that dropped out this week.
Twelve of 21 conferences/independent/unaffiliated groupings are represented in the poll. The Southern States Athletic Conference leads the way with six programs within the Top 25: Lee, No. 7 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.), No. 12 Belhaven (Miss.), No. 15 Spring Hill (Ala.), No. 17 Brenau (Ga.) and No. 20 William Carey (Miss.). 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.
For the complete calendar of 2013 Top 25 Polls, click here.
Notes: (all information dating back to 2000) The seven-straight No. 1 rankings for Concordia (Calif.) is the longest stretch for any program since former member California Baptist rattled through all nine polls in 2011… Seventeen programs have been ranked in each of the seven polls (including Preseason) this year… No. 1 Concordia (Calif.) has now held the No. 1 position in 13 of the last 15 polls dating back to the 2012 season… There have been 34 different teams ranked in the Top 25 this year… No. 5 Oklahoma City leads all active schools with 89-straight rankings, falling no lower than 18th during that stretch which dates back to start of 2004 season; No. 2 Lubbock Christian (Texas) and No. 20 William Carey (Miss.) are tied for second with 52-consecutive mentions and No. 1 Concordia is right behind at 43-straight polls… With its first preseason No. 1 ranking in school history back on Nov. 12, 2012, No. 4 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 (7) – 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, 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, Concordia and Thomas with 13, Mobile with five and Lubbock Christian with four.
2013 NAIA Softball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll (Rating No. 7 – April 30)
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2013 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Concordia (Calif.) (21)||45-3||591|
|2||2||Lubbock Christian (Texas)||52-7||572|
|4||5||Cal State San Marcos||40-8||527|
|6||4||Williams Baptist (Ark.)||38-4||505|
|7||7||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||39-8||467|
|10||10||South Carolina Beaufort||38-4||407|
|11||11||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||43-5||390|
|13||14||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||45-7||384|
|14||13||St. Gregory's (Okla.)||31-12||338|
|15||16||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||43-5||325|
|15||15||Spring Hill (Ala.)||38-12||325|
|20||17||William Carey (Miss.)||33-16||213|
|22||20||Rogers State (Okla.)||38-13||194|