HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings for Tampa Bay
1. Newsome (12-0)
This week: Tuesday at Sarasota Riverview; Thursday vs. Bloomingdale
Scoop: The Wolves are still undefeated approaching the halfway point of the regular season. They also have already clinched the top seed in Class 9A, District 8 with last week’s win over Alonso. The pitching and defense have been strong all season. Hannah Pridemore is among several players who lead the nation in fielding percentage at 1.000. Newsome has recorded shutouts in nine of its 12 victories and outscored opponents 124-8.
2. Chamberlain (9-0)
This week: Tuesday at East Bay; Thursday vs. Sickles; Friday-Saturday at PHU tournament
Scoop: The Chiefs join Newsome as the bay area’s only remaining undefeated teams. A win against either Hillsborough or Gaither will clinch at least a share of the top seed in Class 7A, District 8. This week, Chamberlain will be tested at the Palm Harbor University spring tournament.
3. Plant City (10-1)
This week: Tuesday at Riverview; Thursday at Strawberry Crest
Scoop: The Raiders avenged their only loss of the season by beating Durant 2-1 last week. Ashley Blessin matched a season high with 13 strikeouts against the Cougars and now has 90 on the season. Tuesday’s game against Riverview is for sole possession of first place in Class 8A, District 6.
4. Nature Coast (12-1)
This week: Wednesday vs. Ridgewood; Thursday vs. Hudson
Scoop: The Sharks cruised to wins over Gulf and Fivay, beating both Class 5A, District 7 foes last week by a combined 24-0. Shutouts have become a trend with Nature Coast recording six in its past seven games. The Sharks also have a balanced offense with five players hitting above .400. Chyloe Gonzalez has a team-leading 20 RBIs.
5. Springstead (10-1)
This week: Tuesday at Crystal River; Thursday at Weeki Wachee
Scoop: The Eagles extended their win streak to six with victories over Citrus and Hernando last week. Pitcher Kama Woodall cut her hand in biology class last week and missed both games, but will be back this week. Kayla Cruz took over the pitching duties and allowed just three runs (two earned) and struck out a combined 17 in both wins.
6. Land O’Lakes (11-2-1)
This week: Tuesday at Zephyrhills; Thursday vs. River Ridge
Scoop: After going 10 games without a loss, the Gators had their streak stopped last week when they were upset by Pasco. Land O’Lakes was shut out in both losses this season. The offense bounced back with a 2-0 win over Academy at the Lakes and forfeit victory over Anclote.
7. Gaither (8-2)
This week: Tuesday at Leto; Thursday vs. Freedom; Friday-Saturday at PHU spring tournament.
Scoop: The offense was back to being explosive with a combined 18 runs in wins over Hillsborough and Plant. Elizabeth Mason is batting a whopping .630 with 17 RBIs and 23 stolen bases. The pitching and defense have been there all season, too. The Cowboys have allowed eight runs, three coming last week.
8. Riverview (8-2)
This week: Tuesday vs. Plant City; Thursday at Plant
Scoop: The Sharks are one of the hottest teams in the area with four straight wins, including a victory over Durant that vaulted Riverview into a tie with Plant City for first place in Class 8A, District 6. The Sharks host the Raiders on Tuesday in a key district game.
9. Steinbrenner (7-3)
This week: Friday at Durant
Scoop: Last week, the Warriors beat rival Sickles to complete the regular-season sweep and clinch the top seed in Class 8A, District 5, as well as earn an automatic playoff berth. Defense was the key with Steinbrenner playing an error-free game against the Gryphons.
10. Seminole (7-1)
This week: Thursday vs. Largo; Friday vs. Dunedin
Scoop: The five-game win streak was snapped with a 5-3 loss to Class 8A, District 7 rival East Lake. The Warhawks rebounded in a big way, beating St. Petersburg and Clearwater by a combined 21-0. The schedule is favorable with games against Largo and Dunedin this week before a rematch against Countryside the following week. Jordan Day (.591) and Caitlin Miller (.538) are the team’s top two hitters.
11. Countryside (9-1)
This week: Tuesday at Pinellas Park; Friday-Saturday at PHU spring tournament
Scoop: Wins last week against Palm Harbor University and East Lake kept the Cougars in contention for the top seed in Class 8A, District 7, as well as a berth in the Pinellas County Athletic Conference championship game. Emily Hollenbeck (combined 5-for-8) and Makenzie Griffin (4-for-6) came up big at the plate.
12. Academy of the Holy Names (10-2)
This week: No games this week.
Scoop: The Jaguars’ win streak reached seven games with victories over Tampa Prep, Brooks DeBartolo and Bradenton Bayshore. AHN resumes play the following week with games against Berkeley Prep and Tampa Catholic that will ultimately decide the top seed in Class 4A, District 4.
13. Sickles (8-3)
This week: Tuesday vs. Plant; Thursday at Chamberlain
Scoop: Last week’s loss to Steinbrenner dropped the Gryphons out of the running for the top seed in Class 8A, District 5. On Tuesday, Sickles can clinch the No. 2 seed with a win over Plant. Regardless of the outcome, both teams will play each other in the semifinals of this three-team district. The schedule does not get any easier after that with a game against undefeated Chamberlain on Thursday.
14. Tampa Catholic (10-2-1)
This week: Monday vs. Calvary Christian; Tuesday at CC Catholic; Friday-Saturday at PHU spring tournament
Scoop: After closing out the previous week with a two-game losing streak that ended an unbeaten start to the season, the Crusaders came back in a big way, beating Tampa Prep, Clearwater Central Catholic and Berkeley Prep by a combined 40-2. The tough non-district schedule continues this weekend at Palm Harbor University’s spring tournament.
15. River Ridge (8-3)
This week: Tuesday vs. Wesley Chapel; Thursday at Land O’Lakes
Scoop: The Royal Knights got back on track last week. They beat Anclote and exacted revenge with a win against Class 6A, District 7 rival Zephyrhills. River Ridge currently is in second place in the district standings, one game behind Land O’Lakes. The teams meet on Thursday.
16. Durant (6-5)
This week: Tuesday at Bloomingdale; Friday vs. Steinbrenner
Scoop: After starting 6-1, the Cougars have dropped four straight, including games against Class 8A, District 6 foes Plant City and Riverview to fall to third place in the standings. Sloan Hammons leads the team with a .459 average.
17. Plant (5-4)
This week: Tuesday at Sickles; Thursday vs. Riverview
Scoop: The Panthers have struggled to find any consistency, going 2-4 in their past six games. During that stretch, Plant has been averaging just two runs per game. Tuesday’s game against Sickles is for second place in Class 8A, District 5.
18. Mitchell (11-3)
This week: Thursday at Dixie Hollins
Scoop: The Mustangs have won seven of eight and extended their win streak to six with a win over Osceola to remain undefeated in Class 7A, District 10. The offense has been on tear, reaching double digits in runs in each of the past four games. Kelsea Vanderveer leads the way with a .455 average and 17 RBIs.
19. Alonso (7-4)
This week: Monday vs. Middleton; Tuesday vs. Palm Harbor University
Scoop: Last week, the Ravens split their two games, beating Steinbrenner in nine innings and losing to undefeated Newsome. A win against PHU on Tuesday would complete a season sweep and all but clinch the No. 2 seed in the Class 9A, District 8 tournament. Jessica Louth has a team-leading .500 average.
20. Palm Harbor University (9-5)
This week: Tuesday at Alonso; Friday-Saturday PHU spring tournament
Scoop: The Hurricanes closed out the week with wins against Largo and Sarasota Riverview to snap a four-game losing streak. Freshman Mia Buffano is hitting .486 with four home runs and 23 RBIs. PHU hosts its annual tournament Friday and Saturday.
21. Freedom (6-4)
This week: Tuesday at Wharton; Thursday at Gaither
Scoop: Last week was a rough one for the Patriots, who lost to Sickles and Strawberry Crest. The offense has struggled with only five runs combined in the past three games. Dallas O’Clair has 14 RBIs, nine more than anyone else on the team.
22. Osceola (9-4)
This week: Wednesday at St. Petersburg; Thursday at Northeast
Scoop: Warriors ace Megan Weisenberg left with a knee injury in last week’s loss to Mitchell. Her status is uncertain this week. Osceola will try to rebound against south county foes St. Petersburg and Northeast. Lindsey Hall is hitting .605 with two home runs and 17 RBIs.
23. East Lake (6-4)
This week: Tuesday at St. Petersburg; Friday-Saturday at PHU spring tournament
Scoop: The Eagles got a momentum boost by handing Seminole its first loss of the season. But that was followed by a 13-4 loss to Countryside that left East Lake on the outside looking in for on the top two seeds in the Class 8A, District 7 tournament.
24. Strawberry Crest (5-5)
This week: Tuesday at Wiregrass Ranch; Thursday vs. Plant City
Scoop: After starting 0-3, the Chargers have won five of seven, including impressive victories over Wharton and Freedom last week. Three of Strawberry Crest’s losses have been decided by a run, two coming in extra innings.
25. Berkeley Prep (8-4)
This week: Tuesday vs. Brooks DeBartolo; Friday vs. Tampa Catholic
Scoop: The Buccaneers have a tough time against rivals Academy of the Holy Names and Tampa Catholic with three of their four losses coming against those schools. Last week’s loss against the Crusaders was the first time Berkeley Prep has failed to score a run.
On the bubble: Wharton (6-6), Cambridge Christian (7-3), Pinellas Park (5-4), Tarpon Springs (5-4), Northside Christian (5-4), Sunlake (7-4)