The Baseball Observer Nov-Dec 2015 vol 5 - Page 55

Click here for

website daily


2016 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll

Defending World Series champion Lewis-Clark State headlines the poll at No. 1

By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Last year’s Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series champion Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) holds the No. 1 ranking in the preseason edition of the 2016 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The first regular-season edition will be released on March 15.

Top 25 Highlights (historical information dates back to 2000)

• Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), which won its NAIA record 17th World Series title a season ago, garnered 17 first-place votes and 467 total points en route to the preseason top spot. This is the first time that the Warriors have held the preseason No. 1 ranking since 2009.

• Lewis-Clark State boasts an NAIA-best 55 all-time top mentions and owns the NAIA’s longest active streak in the Top 25 at 147-straight editions.

• The Warriors begin their title defense on Feb. 5 against British Columbia.

• No. 2 St. Thomas (Fla.), No. 3 Faulkner (Ala.) and No. 17 Northwestern Ohio were the only other clubs to hold steady from the 2015 Postseason Poll.

• The Bobcats appeared in their first-ever World Series final last season. Previously, St. Thomas had never finished better than third-place at the event.

• No. 10 The Master’s (Calif.) highlights the positive movement within the poll, as the Mustangs jumped 14 spots from last edition. The Master’s is the reigning Golden State Athletic Conference regular-season champion.

• 2015 World Series Cinderella Vanguard (Calif.) fell farthest in the preseason poll, sliding 14 spots from No. 8 to No. 22. The Lions, who won the Santa Clarita Opening Round Bracket as the No. 4 seed, joined former-member Rogers State (Okla.) as the only teams seeded lower than No. 3 to win an Opening Round title. The title punched Vanguard’s ticket to the World Series for the first time since 1985.

• Three newcomers joined the Top 25 Poll – No. 21 Missouri Baptist, No. 24 LSU Alexandria (La.) and No. 25 Rio Grande (Ohio). Missouri Baptist is the only team among the trio that was ranked at any point during last season. All three squads qualified for last year’s Opening Round. LSU Alexandria was last ranked in 2014, while Rio Grande’s most recent mention came in 2011.

• The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference – No. 4 Tabor (Kan.), No. 9 Oklahoma Wesleyan and No. 20 Sterling (Kan.) – and the Golden State Athletic Conference – The Master’s, No. 16 Westmont (Calif.) and Vanguard – lead all conferences with three programs represented each.

• Six teams were ranked No. 1 in 2015 – Cumberland (Tenn.), Faulkner, Georgia Gwinnett, Lewis-Clark State, former member Oklahoma Baptist and Oklahoma City. No team held the mark for more than four-consecutive weeks.

• Outside of Lewis-Clark State, nine 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 (8), LSU Shreveport (La.) (6), former member Lee (Tenn.) (6), Cumberland (6) and Tennessee Wesleyan (2)

• Forty different teams were ranked in 2015.