HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings for Tampa Bay
1. Newsome (4-0)
This week: Tuesday at Lennard; Friday vs. Sarasota Riverview; Saturday at Steinbrenner
Scoop: After winning their first three games this season by a combined 53-0, the Wolves had to hold on to beat Alonso 7-6 in their Class 9A, District 8 opener. Newsome has nine players who hitting .500 or better, led by Hannah Pridemore’s .636 average. Brooke Leistl currently is tied for third in the nation in runs scored with 11.
2. Gaither (3-0)
This week: Tuesday at Sickles; Thursday vs. Leto; Saturday at Blake
Scoop: The Cowboys have started the season by winning their first three games by a combined 55-1, including outscoring Tampa Bay Tech and Hillsborough 47-0 last week. Elizabeth Mason is hitting .714 with two triples and five RBIs. Bethany Kursch is fifth in the nation in slugging percentage at 1.625.
3. Chamberlain (3-0)
This week: Tuesday at King; Thursday v. Steinbrenner
Scoop: The offense is starting to come together as evidenced by the 27 combined runs the Chiefs scored in wins against Strawberry Crest (16-8) and Leto (11-1). Thursday’s game against Steinbrenner could be a slugfest with both teams averaging double digits in runs per game.
4. Plant (3-0)
This week: Tuesday at Plant City; Thursday vs. Sickles
Scoop: The Panthers started their season this past week, winning all three games. The pitching was solid with McKenzee Herron throwing a one-hitter in a 14-2, five-inning win over Jefferson, and Dana Rowley throwing a no-hitter in a 3-2 win over Bloomingdale.
5. Nature Coast (5-0)
This week: Tuesday at Hudson; Wednesday at Wesley Chapel; Friday at Ridgewood
Scoop: The Sharks won all three games last week to remain undefeated, the biggest victory coming against rival Springstead. In that game, Nature Coast rallied with three runs in the sixth inning for a 3-1 victory. Abbey Primavera had eight strikeouts against the Eagles and a game-tying double. Teammate Alanis Berrios had the winning two-run single.
6. Springstead (4-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. Crystal River; Friday at Academy of the Holy Names
Scoop: After winning their first four games, the Eagles fell from the unbeaten ranks with a loss against rival Nature Coast. Paige Pfent leads the nation in home runs with four and is fourth in RBIs with 13.
7. Land O’Lakes (4-1)
This week: Tuesday at Anclote; Thursday vs. Zephyrhills; Friday at Tampa Catholic
Scoop: Since losing to Springstead by a run in the season opener, the Gators have won four straight, the most impressive coming in a 5-2 victory against previously undefeated Academy of the Holy Names. Shannon Saile is 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA and 41 strikeouts.
8. Seminole (1-0)
This week: Tuesday vs. Pinellas Park; Thursday vs. Countryside
Scoop: The Warhawks played only one game the first two weeks of the season, a 6-2 win over rival Osceola. Seminole starts play in Class 8A, District 7 with games against Pinellas Park and Countryside this week.
9. Steinbrenner (4-0)
This week: Tuesday at Wharton; Thursday at Chamberlain
Scoop: Despite graduating several key starters, the Warriors are off to a great start, outscoring opponents 57-13. The biggest win came against previously undefeated Sickles, 11-10. In that game, Steinbrenner jumped out to a 5-2 lead through the first four innings and held on.
10. Countryside (3-0)
This week: Tuesday vs. St. Petersburg; Thursday at Seminole
Scoop: Stella Preston came through with the winning RBI single in a 4-3, eight-inning win over East Lake to remain undefeated. Makenzie Griffin is hitting .600 (6-of-10) with three RBIs. The game against Seminole on Thursday is a battle between undefeated teams in Class 8A, District 7.
11. River Ridge (4-0)
This week: Tuesday vs. Zephyrhills; Thursday at Wesley Chapel
Scoop: The Royal Knights won three games this past week to remain undefeated. The closest call came against Pasco. Anessa Holes hit a walk-off homer in a 10-8, eight-inning win. Kylie Randolph is hitting .500 (6-of-12) with eight RBIs.
12. Academy of the Holy Names (3-1)
This week: Tuesday at Clearwater Central Catholic; Thursday at Berkeley Prep; Friday vs. Springstead
Scoop: The loss to Land O’Lakes was the Jaguars’ first of the season. After scoring a combined 44 runs in the first three games, AHN managed only two against the Gators. Alexis Miniet (.778) and Haley Morrell (.727) are the team’s top hitters.
13. Palm Harbor University (6-1)
This week: Tuesday at Osceola; Friday vs. Alonso
Scoop: The Hurricanes have won five straight, the latest coming in a 9-8 come-from-behind win over Sarasota Riverview. PHU erased a six-win deficit and won thanks to a two-run homer by Mia Buffano and a game-sealing double play by Bailey Wilson.
14. Freedom (3-0)
This week: Tuesday vs. Alonso; Thursday at Wharton
Scoop: The Patriots are finding a way to win close games, beating East Bay and Strawberry Crest each by a run. Ashlee Markovitz is 2-0 with a 1.56 ERA
15. Canterbury (0-2)
This week: Tuesday vs. Seven Rivers Christian; Wednesday at Tampa Catholic; Thursday vs. Lakeside Christian; Friday vs. Kissimmee Osceola
Scoop: The Crusaders lost to Hagerty and Winter Springs to open the season. Danielle Romanello, last year’s Class 2A player of the year, is currently out with an injury. It doesn’t get any easier with games against Tampa Catholic and Kissimmee Osceola this week, among others.
16. Durant (3-0)
This week: Tuesday at Riverview; Friday vs. Bloomingdale
Scoop: The Cougars have bounced back from last year’s 8-18 mark with a fast start. Two of Durant’s three wins have come in the final inning, the last a 5-3 victory over previously undefeated Plant City. Bayli Johns had the first two homers of her high school career against the Raiders.
17. Plant City (3-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. Plant; Thursday vs. Riverview
Scoop: The Raiders’ unbeaten start to the season ended with a 5-3 loss to Durant. It was the first time Plant City did not reach double digits in runs this season. Edmilly Molina is hitting .692 (9-of-13) with 11 RBIs.
18. Wharton (3-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. Riverview; Friday at Wiregrass Ranch; Saturday vs. Middleton
Scoop: The Wildcats bounced back from a 10-8 eight-inning loss to Durant to beat Riverview and Wiregrass Ranch by a combined 14-1. In four games, Wharton has hit six triples, two by freshman Asia Thomas.
19. Sickles (4-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. Gaither; Thursday at Plant
Scoop: The Gryphons’ four-game win streak to start the season ended with an 11-10 loss to Steinbrenner. Sickles rallied from an 11-2 deficit but fell short. Leadoff hitter Morgan Noah is hitting .667 (12 of 18) with three triples.
20. Osceola (3-2)
This week: Tuesday vs. Palm Harbor University; Thursday vs. Gibbs; Friday vs. Northeast
Scoop: The offense is averaging seven runs per game. Only problem is the Warriors sometimes get involved in high-scoring games such as a 9-8 loss to Sunlake. Malorie Wallace is hitting .700. Against Clearwater last week, Hannah Ciatto was 3-for-4, one homer away from the cycle.
21. East Lake (2-2)
This week: Wednesday vs. Largo; Thursday at Tarpon Springs
Scoop: The Eagles’ two losses have each been by a run. Kendyl Crean hit a solo home run, and Nicci Palumbo had a game-tying two-run double against Countryside before East Lake lost 4-3 in eight innings.
22. Hudson (5-0)
This week: Tuesday vs. Nature Coast Tech; Wednesday vs. Zephyrhills; Friday vs. Fivay
Scoop: After hovering around .500 the past few years, the Cobras might be turning the corner with a 5-0 start this season. The biggest win came last week against Mitchell. On Tuesday, Hudson’s perfect start will be tested against undefeated Nature Coast.
23. Mitchell (4-2)
This week: Tuesday vs. Dixie Hollins; Wednesday vs. Clearwater;
Scoop: The Mustangs’ past four games have all been decided by a run. Mitchell split those four, beating Sunlake and Zephyrhills and losing to Land O’Lakes and Hudson. Kelsea Vanderveer is hitting .450 (9-of-20) with seven RBIs.
24. Sunlake (2-1)
This week: Tuesday at Fivay; Thursday vs. Dixie Hollins; Friday vs. Academy at the Lakes
Scoop: The Seahawks got a big win last week, beating Osceola 9-8. Mariah Melendez was 4-for-5 and Gianna Basilone 3-for-4 including a grand slam. Sunlake has scored at least five runs in each of its first three games.
25. Riverview (3-3)
This week: Tuesday vs. Durant; Thursday at Plant City
Scoop: The.Sharks rebounded from a loss to Wharton to beat East Bay 6-1 in the Class 8A, District 6 opener. Two more district games are on tap this week.
On the bubble: Bloomingdale (1-2), Strawberry Crest (1-3), Tampa Catholic (4-0)