Posted: 12:36 pm Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Softball: Local districts among the best in state, says Miracle Sports 

By Jeff Greer

Having two of the top-ranked teams in the state helped districts 9-8A and 13-3A achieve top-10 status in the Miracle Sports district strength index.

The No. 1 large school in the state, Palm Beach Gardens, anchors 9-8A, which finished the regular season as the best overall district in Florida, Miracle Sports announced Wednesday. Gardens is ranked first in the Class 5A-8A poll and the individual 8A rankings. American Heritage, ranked second in the 1A-4A statewide poll, carries 13-3a, which is considered the eighth-best district. Heritage is the top team in 3A.

The Miracle Sports polls are the last of the regular season and the last we’ll post. After this week, the polls only include teams still playing in the postseason. As softball fans know, one game — won or lost — isn’t always the best gauge, so it doesn’t make much sense to eliminate a team from rankings because it lost a win-or-go-home matchup.

District strength index
1. 9-8A (Palm Beach County)
Teams: Gardens, Dwyer, Jupiter, Palm Beach Central, Wellington)

2. 4-7A (Orlando area)
Teams: Evans, Lake Howell, Oviedo, Winter Springs

3. 2-6A (Fort Walton Beach area)
Teams: Choctawhatchee, Crestview, Fort Walton Beach, Mosley, Niceville

4. 7-7A (Lakeland area)
Teams: Bartow, George Jenkins, Haines City, Lake Region, Lakeland, Ridge

5. 7-6A (Melbourne/Palm Bay area)
Teams: Bayside, Eau Gallie, Heritage, Melbourne, Palm Bay

6. 2-3A (Jacksonville)
Teams: Bishop Snyder, Christ’s Church, Eagle’s View, Providence, Trinity Christian, University Christian

7. 16-7A (Broward County)
Teams: Cooper City, McArthur, Nova, Plantation, South Broward, St. Thomas Aquinas

8. 13-3A (Palm Beach County)
Teams: American Heritage, Pope John Paul II, Trinity Christian

9. 5-5A (St. Johns area)
Teams: Bartram Trail, Creekside, Clay

10. 8-4A (Cocoa area)
Teams: Astronaut, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Satellite

TEAM RANKINGS

Large schools (5A-8A)
1. Palm Beach Gardens (8A)
2 (tied). Eau Gallie (6A)
2 (tied). Niceville (6A)
4. Palm Harbor University (8A)
5. Chiles (7A)
6. Winter Springs (7A)
7. Braden River (7A)
8. North Marion (5A)
9. Milton (6A)
10. Creekside (5A)

Small schools (1A-4A)
1. Gulliver Prep (4A)
2. American Heritage (3A)
3. Bishop Snyder (3A)
4. Pine Castle (2A)
5. Liberty County (1A)
6. Trinity Prep (3A)
7. Westminster Christian (3A)
8. Canterbury (2A)
9. Space Coast (4A)
10. All Saints (2A)

Note: Records as of Friday, April 13

Class 8A
1. Palm Beach Gardens 24-1
2. Palm Harbor University 23-2
3. Mandarin 17-3
4. Flagler Palm Coast 20-4
5. Park Vista 18-6
6. Timber Creek 20-4
7. West Orange 20-4
8. Durant 17-4
9. Western 17-3
10. Alonso 17-5
Also receiving votes: Apopka 21-4, West Broward 14-4, Palm Beach Central 17-8, Jupiter 18-6, Douglas 12-4, Coral Reef 16-6, East Lake 16-6, Taravella 14-3, Bloomingdale 16-9, Wharton 15-8, Boca Raton 15-7, Cypress Bay 12-3, East River, (Orlando) 16-5, Lake Brantley 15-6.

Class 7A
1. Chiles (Tallahassee) 22-2
2. Winter Springs 23-2
3. Braden River 20-4
4. West Boca 20-3
5. Bartow 21-4
6. St. Thomas Aquinas 14-5
7. Chamberlain (Tampa) 20-4
8. Lake Howell 18-6
9. Plant City 17-3
10. Manatee 20-6
Also receiving votes: Sarasota 21-4, Steinbrenner 16-5, Lake Region 16-9, East Ridge 20-5, Okeechobee 15-8, Osceola 18-7, Countryside 19-4, Cooper City 16-7, Haines City 15-7, University (OC) 12-4, Harmony 16-7, Fletcher 13-5, Viera (Melbourne) 14-7, George Jenkins 16-7, First Coast 10-4.

Class 6A
1. Niceville 23-2 (tie)
1. Eau Gallie 24-2 (tie)
3. Milton 20-4
4. Columbia 20-4
5. Pembroke Pines 16-3
6. Springstead 19-4
7. Navarre 20-3
8. Ida Baker 15-1
9. Lakewood Ranch 19-6
10. Strawberry Crest 18-5
Also receiving votes: Oakleaf 19-6, Barron Collier 18-5, Sunlake 17-5, Sickles 15-7, Mosley 17-6, Deltona 15-4, River Ridge 15-4, Melbourne 18-8, Tate 15-8, Escambia 15-8, Atlantic Coast 16-5, Mater Academy 16-2.

Class 5A
1. North Marion 22-2
2. American Heritage (Plantation) 20-4
3. Creekside 19-3
4. Arnold 19-5
5. Clay 16-5
6. Tavares 18-3
7. Pasco 16-4
8. North Fort Myers 18-4
9. Ponte Vedra 18-3
10. Bartram Trail 16-6
Also receiving votes: Gulf 15-5, Golden Gate 18-5, Bellview 16-8, Auburndale 17-8, Suncoast (Riviera Beach) 15-8, Jensen Beach 12-10, Lake Wales 17-8, Bellview 14-7, Lemon Bay (Englewood) 12-6, Pompano Beach 11-2, Suwannee 13-7, Baker County 14-7.

Class 4A
1. Gulliver Prep (Pinecrest) 20-5
2. Space Coast 19-6
3. Desoto County 18-3
4. South Sumter 16-2
5. Bradford (Starke) 20-5
6. Lincoln Park (Fort Pierce) 16-4
7. Mulberry 21-6
8. Florida High (Tallahassee) 17-5
9. University School (Ft. Laud.) 20-3
10. Satellite (Satellite Beach) 15-6
Also receiving votes: Tampa Catholic 13-3, Keystone Heights 14-7, Bishop Verot 15-4, Holy Names 11-5, Carrollton 14-3, Trinity Catholic 11-6, West Nassau 9-5, Coral Springs Charter 14-7, St. Andrew’s 11-2, Santa Fe 16-8, Yulee 10-3.

Class 3A
1. American Heritage (Delray Beach) 18-6
2. Bishop Snyder 19-4
3. Trinity Prep (Winter Park) 17-8
4. Westminster Christian 20-4
5. North Florida Christian 18-2
6. University Christian 16-5
7. King’s Academy 18-5
8. Pope John Paul II 13-4
9. Northside Christian 14-3
10. St. Pete Catholic 14-3
Also receiving votes: Providence (Jacksonville) 13-7, McKeel Academy 16-4, Montverde 12-10, Bradenton Christian 13-6, Master’s Academy (Oviedo) 14-8, Berean Christian 8-4, P. K. Yonge (Gainesville) 15-8, Shorecrest Prep 5-1, Benjamin 10-11.

Class 2A
1. Pine Castle Christian 18-7
2. Canterbury (St. Petersburg) 14-11
3. All Saints Academy 18-2
4. Grandview Prep (Boca Raton) 16-5
5. Southwest Florida Christian 16-4
6. Master’s Academy (Vero Beach) 14-5
7. Wellington Christian 14-4
8. Hernando Christian (Brooksville) 14-5
9. Sheridan Hills 9-2
10. Munroe (Quincy) 12-5
Also receiving votes: Cambridge 11-6, Trinity (Deltona) 10-5, Foundation 14-5, Sarasota Christian 6-4, Lake Worth Christian 10-7.

Class 1A
1. Liberty County (Bristol) 21-4
2. Lafayette (Mayo) 19-4
3. The Villages 19-5
4. Hilliard 17-5
5. Union County 16-6
6. Holmes County 17-5
7. Port St. Joe 19-5
8. Sneads 19-5
9. Jay 16-3
10. South Walton 16-7
Also receiving votes: Poplar Springs 12-6, Baldwin 13-9, Chipley 8-6, Laurel Hill 10-5, Franklin County 11-10, Hawthorne 10-6.