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Prep Sports Report

Bob Putnam, Rodney Page, Kelly Parsons

HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings for Tampa Bay

Hope Hernandez is just one of the Chamberlain batters who has plenty of pop on offense.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Special to the Times

Hope Hernandez is just one of the Chamberlain batters who has plenty of pop on offense.



1. Newsome (6-0)

This week: Tuesday vs. Sickles, Wednesday vs. Palm Harbor University; Friday at Palm Harbor University

Scoop: The Wolves are averaging a whopping 13 runs per game and outscoring opponents 80-6 during their perfect start. Four of the first six games have ended early because of the mercy rule. Maggie Trgo, a junior, has been on a tear with a team-leading .769 average (10-of-13) and five RBIs.

2. Chamberlain (3-0)

This week: Tuesday vs. Hillsborough; Thursday at Gaither

Scoop: Much like Newsome, the Chiefs have an explosive offense. Chamberlain is averaging nearly 11 runs per game. The toughest test so far came against previously undefeated Steinbrenner with the Chiefs having to pull out a 5-4 win. Thursday’s game against Gaither is for sole possession of first place in Class 7A, District 8.

3. Nature Coast Tech (9-0)

This week: Tuesday vs. Hernando; Wednesday vs. Land O’Lakes; Friday vs. Central

Scoop: The Sharks continued their dominant start with three wins last week. They handed Hudson its first loss of the season, then demolished Wesley Chapel and Ridgewood, beating both by a combined 30-0. Abbey Primavera is hitting .476 with 10 RBIs and three doubles.

4. Sickles (6-1)

This week: Tuesday at Newsome; Thursday vs. Hillsborough

Scoop: No team had a better week than the Gryphons, who handed Gaither its first loss of the season and beat Plant to climb back into a three-way tie for first place in Class 8A, District 5. Natalie Zweig, a freshman, has emerged as the ace and is 4-0 on the season with a 1.36 ERA.

5. Springstead (6-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Weeki Wachee; Thursday at Dunnellon

Scoop: After losing to rival Nature Coast, the Eagles responded in a big way, beating Crystal River and Academy of the Holy Names by a combined 16-3 last week. Paige Pfent and Kayla Cruz are each hitting .500. Pfent also has 19 RBIs and four home runs.

6. Gaither (5-1)

This week: Tuesday at King; Thursday vs. Chamberlain

Scoop: The Cowboys’ three-game win streak ended with a 2-0 loss to Sickles. Gaither bounced back, beating Leto and Blake by a combined 31-0 to close out the week. In six games, the Cowboys have outscored opponents 86-3. Two of the three runs allowed came in the loss to the Gryphons. Elizabeth Mason is hitting .600 with eight RBIs and two doubles.

7. Land O’Lakes (6-1-1)

This week: Tuesday at River Ridge; Wednesday at Nature Coast; Thursday vs. Wesley Chapel

Scoop: The Gators have not lost since falling to Springstead in the season opener. Against undefeated Tampa Catholic last week, Land O’Lakes scored twice in the seventh before the game ended in a tie. Gators pitcher Shannon Saile threw a no-hitter against Anclote.

8. Seminole (3-0)

This week: Tuesday vs. St. Petersburg; Thursday vs. Tarpon Springs

Scoop: The Warhawks survived a marathon game, beating Countryside 1-0 in 11 innings to take over sole possession of first place in Class 8A, District 7. Jordan Day threw a four-hit shutout and was 4-for-4 at the plate. Her last hit, a single in the 11th inning, led to the winning run.

9. Plant (3-2)

This week: Tuesday vs. Wharton; Thursday vs. Steinbrenner

Scoop: It was a tough week for the Panthers, who lost 5-4 to Plant City in nine innings and 3-1 to Sickles in a key Class 8A, District 5 game.The offense has scored just seven runs in the past three games. Rachel Heuker is hitting .432 with 14 RBIs and eight triples. On Thursday, Plant has a chance to sweep district rival Steinbrenner and stay in first place.

10. Tampa Catholic (6-0-1)

This week: Monday vs Academy at the Lakes; Thursday at Holy Names; Saturday at Fort Myers Bishop Verot

Scoop: With an abundance of talent, especially on offense, the Crusaders have enough to compete against quality teams. Last week, they beat defending Class 3A state champion Lakeland Christian and annual Class 2A power Canterbury. Tampa Catholic also played Land O’Lakes to a tie. Julia Rogers has a team-leading .619 batting average.

11. Plant City (6-1)

This week: Tuesday at Bloomingdale; Thursday vs. East Bay

Scoop: Last week was perhaps the Raiders’ best of the season with a 5-4, nine-inning win over previously unbeaten Plant, followed by an 8-0 win over Riverview in a key Class 8A, District 6 game. Edmilly Molina continues to shine on offense, hitting a team-leading .519 with 13 RBIs.

12. Steinbrenner (5-2)

This week: Tuesday vs. Freedom; Thursday at Plant

Scoop: After starting the season 5-0, the Warriors have lost two straight to undefeated Newsome and Chamberlain. Steinbrenner’s offense scored 54 runs in the first four games but has managed just six in the past three. It will not be easy to snap out of that funk with games against Freedom and Plant this week.

13. Countryside (4-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Pinellas Park; Wednesday vs. Largo; Friday at Lake Brantley

Scoop: The Cougars already know how tough things are at the top of the Class 8A, District 7 standings. Countryside has split a pair of extra-inning games against district foes, beating East Lake 4-3 in eight innings and losing 1-0 to Seminole in 11. Makenzie Griffin is hitting .500 with four RBIs.

14. River Ridge (5-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Land O’Lakes; Thursday at Pasco; Saturday vs. Academy of the Holy Names

Scoop: The Royal Knights fell from the unbeaten ranks with a 9-8 loss to Zephyrhills. In that game, River Ridge was ahead 8-6 before giving up three run in the sixth inning. The Royal Knights have allowed 18 runs this season,16 coming in games against Pasco and Zephyrhills.Kylie Randolph is hitting .526 with 10 RBIs.

15. Academy of the Holy Names (5-2)

This week: Tuesday vs. Calvary Christian; Thursday at Tampa Catholic; Saturday at River Ridge

Scoop: Since starting 3-0, the Jaguars have gone 2-2 with losses to Land O’Lakes and Springstead. Still, Holy Names is undefeated against Class 4A, District 4 competition, winning all four games by a combined 57-7. That perfect start will be tested Thursday against Tampa Catholic in a rematch of last year’s region semifinal.

16. Palm Harbor University (7-2)

This week: Wednesday at Newsome; Friday vs. Newsome

Scoop: A 4-3 loss to Alonso last week was the Hurricanes’ first in Class 9A, District 8. PHU has a chance to make up ground with consecutive games against defending state champion Newsome in rematches of last year’s region semifinal. Freshman sensation Mia Buffano is hitting .621 with four home runs and a whopping 23 RBIs.

17. Freedom (4-1)

This week: Tuesday at Steinbrennner; Friday vs. Wiregrass Ranch; Saturday vs. Jefferson

Scoop: The Patriots’ undefeated start ended with a 9-6 loss to Wharton last week. Down 7-2, Freedom had a furious rally that fell just short. Lauren Hall and Maddy Hall are each hitting above .500. Dallas O’Clair has 13 RBIs.

18. Durant (4-1)

This week: Tuesday at East Bay; Thursday at Armwood

Scoop: The Cougars rebounded from a 5-1 loss to Riverview to beat Bloomingdale 4-1 and avoid falling below .500 in the Class 8A, District 6 standings. Pitching has been key with Sloan Hammons going 4-1 with a 1.27 ERA so far this season.

19. Wharton (5-2)

This week: Tuesday at Plant; Thursday vs. Strawberry Crest

Scoop: The Wildcats’ two losses were close and came against quality teams (Durant and Steinbrenner). More importantly, Wharton is 2-0 in Class 8A, District 4 after beating Freedom 9-6 last week. Emma Poole is hitting .500.

20. Riverview (4-2)

This week: Tuesday at Strawberry Crest; Thursday vs. Bloomingdale

Scoop: The Cougars’ emotional season got a lift last week with wins over Class 8A, District 6 foes East Bay and Durant.

21. Mitchell (6-2)

This week: Tuesday at Wiregrass Ranch; Thursday at Sunlake; Friday vs. Pasco

Scoop: After playing four straight games that were decided by a run, the Mustangs finally had some breathing room with wins, by a combined 30-0, against Clearwater and Dixie Hollins. It marked the first time Mitchell had scored double digits in consecutive games since the first two of the season. Kelsea Vanderveer has scored 14 runs this season.

22. Osceola (5-3)

This week: Monday vs. Lakewood; Thursday at Boca Ciega; Friday vs. Dixie Hollins

Scoop: After losing to Palm Harbor University, the Warriors’ offense started to put things together with wins against Gibbs and Northeast by a combined 32-6. Malorie Wallace has been a terror on basepaths, ranking among the nation’s leaders in stolen bases with 14.

23. East Lake (4-2)

This week: Wednesday at Dunedin; Thursday vs. Pinellas Park

Scoop: The Eagles had a big week, beating Largo and rival Tarpon Springs by a combined 30-9 to climb back above .500. Aliyah Andrews, an LSU signee, had five RBIs against the Spongers, three coming on a home run that sealed the win.

24. Zephyrhills (4-4)

This week: Tuesday vs. Pasco; Wednesday vs. Hernando; Friday at Anclote

Scoop: The Bulldogs beat previously undefeated River Ridge and Hudson last week. Those two upsets were due in large part to an offense that scored a combined 19 runs in both games. Alexis Christopher is hitting .529 with three home runs.

25. Sunlake (3-2)

This week: Tuesday at Northeast; Thursday vs. Mitchell; Friday at Hudson

Scoop: The uneven season continues with the Seahawks unable to post consecutive wins. An upset by Dixie Hollins was followed by a 1-0 win over Academy at the Lakes last week. Part of the problem is an offense that has scored just three runs in the past two games after scoring 41 in the first three.  

On the bubble: Hudson (5-2), Canterbury (2-3)

[Last modified: Monday, February 22, 2016 1:25pm]


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