KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Defending national champion Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) garners the No. 1 ranking in the preseason edition of the 2017 NAIA Baseball Coaches' Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Warriors claimed all 17 first-place votes and 467 total points. The first regular-season ranking is scheduled to be released on March 21.
Top 25 Highlights (historical information dates back to 2000)
• Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) enters the year fresh off its second-straight and 18th all-time Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series title. The Warriors downed Faulkner (Ala.), 12-11, in a rematch of the 2013 championship game.
• J.J. Robinson headlines the returners for the Warriors. The senior designated hitter was named a Second Team All-American after finishing the year with a .360 batting average, including 14 home runs, 26 doubles and 82 RBI.
• The Warriors open the 2017 season on Feb. 3 against NCAA Division II Montana State-Billings.
• Lewis-Clark State had been ranked in 157-consecutive polls, which is currently the longest active streak in the NAIA. The Warriors were ranked among the top five in every poll last season.
• This edition's No. 1 ranking is the 58th for the club dating back to 2000. Outside of Lewis-Clark State, 10 other teams have been ranked No. 1 in at least two polls: Oklahoma City (32), former member Lubbock Christian (Texas) (13), former member Embry-Riddle (Fla.) (11), Faulkner (10), Georgia Gwinnett (8), LSU Shreveport (La.) (6), former member Lee (Tenn.) (6), Cumberland (Tenn.) (6) and Tennessee Wesleyan (2).
• Rounding out the top five are No. 2 Faulkner, No. 3 Bellevue (Neb.), No. 4 Tennessee Wesleyan and No. 5 Georgia Gwinnett. The Grizzlies are the only newcomer to the top five, jumping five spots from their No. 10 ranking in the 2016 Postseason Poll.
• Four newcomers joined the Top 25 – No. 17 Middle Georgia State, No. 19 Northwestern Ohio, No. 20 Wayland Baptist (Texas) and No. 25 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.). All four clubs were ranked at some point during the 2016 season.
• No. 12 St. Thomas (Fla.) highlighted the positive movement in the poll, vaulting nine spots from its No. 21 postseason perch. The Bobcats, who finished as national runners-up in 2015, are the preseason favorite to win The Sun Conference as selected by the league's coaches.
• Other notable positive movement came from No. 15 Keiser (Fla.) (eight spots), No. 8 Westmont (Calif.) (seven spots), No. 10 Tabor (Kan.) (six spots) and Georgia Gwinnett (five spots).
• Three teams held the No. 1 ranking in 2016: Faulkner (twice), Georgia Gwinnett (seven times) and Lewis-Clark State (twice).
• Seven of last year's 10 World Series participants are included in the preseason ranking – Lewis-Clark State, Faulkner, Bellevue, Tennessee Wesleyan, No. 6 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), No. 7 Science & Arts (Okla.) and No. 11 The Master's (Calif.).
• The Golden State Athletic Conference, Southern States Athletic Conference and The Sun Conference lead all leagues with three teams represented each.
• The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions.
• The Top 25 is determined by a points system based on how each voter ranks the best teams. A team receives 30 points for each first-place vote, 29 for second-place and so on through the list.
• The highest and lowest ranking for each team (a non-rating is considered a low ratings) is removed and the team's ranking will be recalculated with an additional point added to each team for every ballot (including discounted ballots) that the teams appears on.
• Teams that receive only one point in the ballot are not considered "receiving votes"
• Frequency of polls occur by-weekly. This policy was approved by the National Administrative Council (NAC) for the 2016-17 academic season. This change allows raters the opportunity to consider a larger body of work between ratings periods.
• For the complete Top 25 calendar, click here.
|RANK||PRVS^||SCHOOL (1st PLACE VOTES)||2016 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) (17)||52-8||467|
|6||6||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||45-22||382|
|7||9||Science & Arts (Okla.)||48-13||370|
|11||8||The Master's (Calif.)||42-19||324|
|12||21||St. Thomas (Fla.)||38-22||310|
|17||RV||Middle Georgia State||39-18||206|
|18||13||USC Beaufort (S.C.)||42-16||175|
|T20||RV||Wayland Baptist (Texas)||45-17||160|
|22||24||IU Southeast (Ind.)||43-15||155|
|23||20||William Carey (Miss.)||40-21||135|
|25||NR||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||42-15||114|
Dropped from Top 25: Sterling (Kan.) (No. 5); Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) (No. 7 – no longer NAIA member); Point (Ga.) (No. 11); Madonna (Mich.) (No. 22)
Others receiving votes: LSU Shreveport (La.) 90; Bryan (Tenn.) 89; Oklahoma City 55; Oklahoma Wesleyan 46; British Columbia 26; Central Baptist (Ark.) 22; Morningside (Iowa) 18; Indiana Tech 17; Central Methodist (Mo.) 14; Point (Ga.) 10; Rio Grande (Ohio) 7; Texas A&M-Texarkana 7; Cumberland (Tenn.) 6; Southeastern (Fla.) 3; Judson (Ill.) 3.