HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings for Tampa Bay
1. Plant City (14-2)
This week: Monday vs. Bloomingdale; Tuesday at East Bay; Thursday at Brandon
Scoop: The Raiders vault to the top of the standings after beating Newsome, which was the last remaining undefeated team in the Tampa Bay area. Ashley Blessin, a freshman, threw a two-hit shutout and recorded 10 strikeouts vs. the Wolves. On Monday, Plant City is resuming a game against Bloomingdale that was cut short last week. The Raiders, who can clinch the Class 8A, District 6 title with a win, were trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the first inning but had the bases loaded with one out.
2. Newsome (15-1)
This week: Tuesday at Plant: Thursday-Saturday at Kissimmee Klassic
Scoop: The Wolves’ No. 3 ranking in MaxPreps’ national top 25 poll and their 22-game win streak dating to last season came to an end with a 1-0 loss to Plant City. Newsome bounced back, rallying to beat Riverview. This week comes another tough test with the Kissimmee Klassic, including a rematch against Hagerty, the team the Wolves beat in last year’s state semifinals en route to winning the title.
3. Springstead (19-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. Dunnellon; Thursday vs. Lecanto; Friday vs. Pasco
Scoop: The Eagles have won 15 straight, currently the longest streak in the bay area. It is even more impressive considering three of the past four wins have come against Nature Coast and Academy of the Holy Names, which are a combined 31-6 this season. Springstead freshman Emily Kolwicz had a three-run walkoff homer against the rival Sharks.
4. Land O’Lakes (19-2-1)
This week: Thursday vs. Sunlake
Scoop: The Gators beat Libertyville (Ill.) and Shenango (Penn.) in Kissimmee last week to extend their win streak to 10. In the game against Libertyville, Brianna Lindner was 3-for-3 with two home runs and three RBIs. Both of Land O’Lakes’ losses this season came in 1-0 games to Springstead and Pasco.
5. Chamberlain (17-4)
This week: Tuesday vs. Gaither; Thursday at Jefferson
Scoop: The Chiefs had it rough at Bartow’s Rutenbar Classic, going 1-3. The losses were to Lake Region (ranked No. 1 in 8A), Bloomingdale and Durant. Chamberlain has to regroup quickly considering Tuesday’s game against Gaither is for first place in Class 7A, District 8.
6. Gaither (15-3)
This week: Tuesday at Chamberlain; Thursday vs. Steinbrenner
Scoop: As expected, the Cowboys pounded Middleton and King, winning both games by a combined 36-0. Elizabeth Mason is hitting .620 with 26 RBIs and 38 stolen bases. On Tuesday, Gaither plays Chamberlain in a game for first place in Class 7A, District 8.
7. Nature Coast (17-3)
This week: Tuesday at Central; Thursday vs. Gulf; Friday at Weeki Wachee
Scoop: The Sharks lost their past two against rival Springstead, each by a run. Nature Coast ace Abbey Primavera hurt her ankle during the Leopard Slam tournament. She gets her X-rays back Monday but said the ankle is healing well and she should return for Thursday’s game against Gulf.
8. Countryside (14-3)
This week: Tuesday vs. Tarpon Springs; Friday-Saturday at Belleview’s Doc4Life tournament.
Scoop: Having already clinched the top seed in the Class 8A, District 7 tournament, the Cougars can now wrap up a spot in the Pinellas County Athletic Conference championship game with a win against Tarpon Springs on Tuesday. After that, Countryside will get another test in Belleview’s Doc4Life tournament this weekend.
9. Steinbrenner (13-4)
This week: Tuesday at Hillsborough; Thursday at Gaither
Scoop: The Warriors showed off their ability to rally in last week’s wins over Bloomingdale and Plant. Against the Bulls, Steinbrenner scored five runs in the seventh to win 14-10. In the district finale against Plant, the Warriors scored once in the seventh to send the game into extra innings before winning it in the ninth.
10. Sickles (11-4)
This week: Tuesday at Alonso; Thursday vs. King
Scoop: The Gryphons already had the pitching. Now the offense is coming through with big performances. In the past four games, all wins, Sickles has scored a combined 43 runs. Morgan Noah continues to lead the team in hitting with a .458 average.
11. Academy of the Holy Names (14-3)
This week: No games this week
Scoop: The Jaguars split their two games last week, beating Clearwater Central Catholic and losing to Springstead. AHN has four players, Chloe Boos, Katie Hale, Alexis Miniet and Haley Morrell, who have at least 16 RBIs this season.
12. Seminole (10-3)
This week: Tuesday at Palm Harbor University; Friday at East Lake
Scoop: The Warhawks had the week off to regroup after going 1-2 the week before and dropping out of first place in Class 8A, District 7. There are two tough games this week, the most important coming Friday against East Lake to determine the No. 2 seed and a bye in the district tournament.
13. Tampa Catholic (16-6-1)
This week: Saturday vs. Bishop McLaughlin
Scoop: The Crusaders bounced back from a loss to rival Academy of the Holy Names two weeks ago to beat Brooks DeBartolo and Seffner Christian. Five starters are hitting above .500 led by Alexa Russo at .551.
14. Mitchell (14-3)
This week: Tuesday vs. Northeast; Thursday vs. Osceola
Scoop: The Mustangs have already clinched the top seed in the Class 7A, District 10 tournament. Still, the Mustangs have something to play for as they try to extend their eight-game win streak in closing out their district schedule against Northeast and Osceola this week.
15. Strawberry Crest (11-8)
This week: Tuesday at Durant; Wednesday vs. Wharton; Thursday vs. East Bay
Scoop: At Bartow’s Rutenbar Classic, the Chargers went 2-2. Brandy Ashmore, Scottie Todd, Ashleigh Vogt and Kasey Locke all hit homers at the tournament. Wednesday’s game against Wharton is a makeup from last week.
16. River Ridge (11-6)
This week: Monday at Gulf; Thursday at Wiregrass Ranch
Scoop: With no games last week because of spring break, the Royal Knights had time to regroup after going 3-5 in their past eight games. Jessica Bryson, a freshman, is hitting .400 with 23 runs scored and 22 stolen bases.
17. Riverview (10-6)
This week: Tuesday at Bloomingdale; Thursday-Saturday at Kissimmee Klassic
Scoop: It was an emotional week for the Sharks, who had a memorial for their beloved coach Angela Slater, who died in February after a year-long battle with cancer. Riverview ace Haley Murphy had tendinitis in her forearm but is expected to return for this weekend’s Kissimmee Klassic.
18. East Lake (10-6-1)
This week: Tuesday at Pinellas Park; Wednesday vs. Clearwater; Friday at East Lake
Scoop: After a week off, the Eagles resume play with three games. On Tuesday, East Lake will try to get payback from an earlier loss to Pinellas Park. On Friday, the Eagles will try to complete a regular-season sweep against Seminole and clinch the No. 2 seed in the Class 8A, District 7 tournament.
19. Plant (9-9)
This week: Tuesday vs. Newsome; Thursday vs. Robinson.
Scoop: The Panthers split two games, beating Alonso and losing in extra innings to Steinbrenner. Kayla McGory leads the team in hitting with a .467 average.
20. Alonso (9-7)
This week: Tuesday vs. Sickles; Thursday at Sarasota Riverview; Friday vs. Sarasota Riverview
Scoop: The Ravens fell to Plant in their only game last week, marking their third straight loss. The offense is not as explosive as it was at the beginning of the season and has scored just six runs in the past three games.
21. Palm Harbor University (12-9)
This week: Thursday vs. Seminole
Scoop: The Hurricanes had the week off for spring break. They resume play Thursday against Seminole. In their last game against the Spongers, freshman Mia Buffano had two hits, including a home run.
22. Sunlake (12-7)
This week: Tuesday at Dixie Hollins; Thursday at Land O’Lakes; Friday at Fivay
Scoop: A win Tuesday against Dixie Hollins would not only exact revenge for a loss earlier this season but also clinch the No. 2 seed in the Class 7A, District 10 tournament. Gianna Basilone has seven home runs to go along with 28 RBIs.
23. Osceola (13-6)
This week: Thursday at Mitchell
Scoop: After having the week off, the Warriors return with only one game this week against Mitchell in their Class 7A, District 10 finale. Maria Kappos is hitting a team-high .561.
24. East Bay (9-11)
This week: Tuesday vs. Plant City; Thursday at Strawberry Crest
Scoop: The Indians’ lone game last week against Durant was rained out. This week, there are two tough games against Plant City and Strawberry Crest. Rachel Kingery is hitting .472 with 15 RBIs.
25. Durant (8-10)
This week: Tuesday vs. Strawberry Crest; Thursday at Freedom
Scoop: Yes, the Cougars have a losing record. But they have beaten Plant City and Chamberlain, two of the top teams in the bay area. Four players have hit two home runs this season.
On the bubble: Wharton (8-6), Gulf (13-2), Berkeley Prep (10-6), Cambridge Christian (9-3), Pinellas Park (7-6), Tarpon Springs (8-6), Zephyrhills (8-8), Canterbury (5-8), Admiral Farragut (12-2), Northside Christian (9-5)