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Prep Sports Report

Bob Putnam, Rodney Page, Kelly Parsons

HomeTeam 25: Baseball rankings for Tampa Bay

Corey Ireson has been the ace for 14th-ranked Osceola so far this season.


Corey Ireson has been the ace for 14th-ranked Osceola so far this season.



1. Jesuit (7-0)

This week: Tuesday at Seminole, Thursday vs. Middleton, Friday at Blake

Scoop: The Tigers have given up just three runs in seven games, beating Robinson 4-3 in an extra-innings district matchup. Their next big test will be tonight, when Jesuit takes on Seminole, a team on a two-game win streak.

2. Berkeley Prep (7-0)

This week: Tuesday vs. Brooks DeBartolo, Friday vs. Tampa Catholic

Scoop: The Bucs have given up one run in their past five games, and they’re scoring an average of seven runs per contest. Four Berkeley Prep players have at least six RBIs, and 1B Dylan Brown leads the way with a .333 average and eight RBIs.

3. Hillsborough (5-1)

This week: Tuesday at Gaither, Thursday vs. Leto

Scoop: The Terriers’ five-game win streak ended last week at the hands of Sickles, but they’re still doing well with run production, averaging seven runs per game. Tim Elko has one of the best batting averages in the area, hitting .611 with 10 RBIs and six doubles.

4. Mitchell (6-1)

This week: Thursday vs. Fivay, Friday at Northeast

Scoop: The Mustangs dropped their first game of the season last week, 9-8 to Ridgewood. They gave up those nine runs in the first three innings and scored four in the seventh in their attempted comeback. Northeast is a big district game this week.

5. Countryside (6-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. East Lake, Friday at Pinellas Park

Scoop: The Cougars played three games last week and looked impressive in two of them. The lone loss came Saturday at IMG. The bats finally came alive in wins over Seminole and Northeast. After a 4-2 loss to IMG, Countryside doesn’t have it easy again this week.

6. Durant (5-1)

This week: Tuesday at Plant City, Thursday vs. Riverview, Saturday at Chamberlain

Scoop: The Cougars are on a four-game win streak, outscoring those opponents 30-8. In last week’s 9-2 victory against Lennard, senior Spencer Nelson went 3-for-3 with one run scored and six RBIs.

7. King (4-1)

This week: Tuesday at Middleton, Thursday at Chamberlain

Scoop: The Lions’ sole slip-up was a one-run loss against Hillsborough two weeks ago. RHP Brian Lee is leading the way on the mound, giving up just three hits and no earned runs in 10 innings pitched.

8. Bishop McLaughlin (4-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Winter Haven All Saints, Friday at Lakeland Christian

Scoop: The Hurricanes have won three straight since a one-run loss to Springstead. They have four players hitting over .400, led by Carson Ragsdale, who is hitting .625 with 13 RBIs.

9. Brandon (7-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Bloomingdale, Thursday at Tampa Bay Tech

Scoop: The Eagles are riding a six-game win streak, having posted three shutouts in the past two weeks. Jack Hubbard and Antonio Velez have given up a total of four runs in a combined 39 innings pitched.

10. Alonso (4-3)

This week: Tuesday at Steinbrenner, Thursday at Newsome, Saturday vs. Wharton

Scoop: The Ravens rebounded nicely from their rough start, winning four straight games by outscoring opponents 35-3. This week will be the true test, as Alonso prepares to take on a hot Steinbrenner team and district foe Newsome.

11. Bloomingdale (5-2)

This week: Tuesday at Brandon, Thursday at East Bay

Scoop: The Bulls’ two losses have been against highly-ranked teams, but both have been district games, making Class 8A-6 contentious, even in the early going. Tuesday’s game against the Eagles will be another challenge for battle-tested Bloomingdale.

12. Strawberry Crest (6-1)

This week: Monday vs. Plant, Wednesday vs. Freedom

Scoop: The Chargers’ first several wins of the season came against mediocre competition, but last week they proved their strength with back-to-back wins against Wharton and Riverview. Tonight they have a chance to keep the streak going with a game against the Panthers.

13. Northeast (6-2)

This week: Friday vs. Mitchell

Scoop: The Vikings went 2-1 last week, but the lone loss was 13-3 to Countryside. Ryan Cook (.452, 10 RBIs), Derek Jaar (.440, nine RBIs) and Kobe Hartley (.375) continue to pace the offense. Starter Joey Jimpie is 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA.

14. Osceola (5-2)

This week: Wednesday vs. East Lake, Friday vs. Clearwater

Scoop: The Warriors picked up a nice win over IMG last week, but followed that with a 2-1 district loss to Sunlake. East Lake will be a tough non-district game and Clearwater is improved, so it will not be an easy week. Corey Ireson has been the ace. He is 2-1 with a 0.82 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 17 innings.

15. East Lake (5-2)

This week: Tuesday at Countryside, Wednesday at Osceola

Scoop: The Eagles have won three straight . Christian James threw a complete-game shutout against Pinellas Park last week. Andrew Belcik  allowed only one run in a 9-1 win over St. Petersburg.

16. Steinbrenner (4-2)

This week: Tuesday vs. Alonso, Thursday vs. Sickles

Scoop: The Warriors proved just what they’re capable of last week with a 6-0 victory against district foe Plant, a game in which CJ Van Eyk struck out 11 and the offense was clicking. If they can continue to play like that, the Warriors could be tough to stop.

17. Newsome (5-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Wharton, Thursday vs. Alonso

Scoop: The Wolves are riding a five-game win streak after a Week 1 loss against Brandon, and they can further their solid standing in Class 9A-8 with a win against Alonso later in the week.

18. Palm Harbor University (2-2)

This week: Tuesday at Tarpon Springs, Friday  vs. Sarasota Riverview

Scoop: PHU didn’t have a chance to play last week after Wednesday’s game against Dunedin was rained out. The Hurricanes should be well rested and they will need a big effort to get past district foe Riverview.

19. Springstead (6-2)

This week: Tuesday at Citrus, Friday vs. Lecanto

Scoop: There were two big offensive games last week for the Eagles, with 14 runs against Dunnellon and  13 against Weeki Wachee. Then came a 2-1 loss to Hernando. Jake Murray has emerged as the leading hitter, batting .458 in eight games.

20. Robinson (5-2)

This week: Tuesday at Jefferson, Thursday at Spoto

Scoop: Robinson fell to Jesuit and Alonso last week, but it was the only team to even score a run against the undefeated Tigers. Junior Aaron Scott has been hitting well for the Knights, posting a .455 batting average and a team-high eight RBIs.

21. Land O’Lakes (6-0)

This week: Tuesday at Anclote, Friday at Wesley Chapel

Scoop: The Gators are unranked no more. Nice wins over River Ridge and Pasco last week kept them undefeated. Jake Weber is the leading hitter with a .412 average. Pitching has been lights out. The Gators have a team ERA of 0.18. Kirby Osborn is 3-0 with a 0.33 ERA in 21 innings pitched . McCabe Sargent is also 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 16 innings.

22. Seminole (6-3)

This week: Tuesday vs. Jesuit, Friday vs. St. Petersburg

Scoop: Last week got off to a bad start, with an 8-4 loss to Countryside. But the Warhawks followed with wins over Tarpon Springs and Pinellas Park. Jesuit will be a challenge for this young team, but pitching and defense have been above average and Seminole should compete.

23. Plant (4-3)

This week: Tuesday at Strawberry Crest,

Scoop: The Panthers had back-to-back losses last week, giving up 12 runs between the two games, but shutout victories against Wharton and Sickles in February prove that Plant has potential.

24. Riverview (4-3)

This week: Tuesday vs. East Bay, Thursday at Durant

Scoop: The Sharks have been up and down, but they still boast one of the hottest hitters around. Senior INF Anthony Gonnella is hitting .556 with 11 RBIs, three doubles and seven runs scored.

25. Pinellas Park (5-2)

This week: Tuesday vs. St. Petersburg, Friday vs. Countryside

Scoop: The Patriots won five straight but ended last week with losses to East Lake and Seminole. Those games were close so they just need to heat up the offense again. Kenny Brush is still hitting over .600 and Triston Allen is 2-0 as the top starter.

On the bubble: Hernando (4-3),  Indian Rocks Christian (6-3), River Ridge (3-3), Calvary Christian (4-3), Northside Christian (8-1), Keswick Christian (8-0), Plant City (3-3), Wharton (4-3)

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 1, 2016 1:52pm]


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