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HomeTeam 25: Baseball rankings for week of March 2

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Mon. March 2, 2015 | Rodney Page and Kelly Parsons

HomeTeam 25: Baseball rankings for week of March 2

1. Dunedin (7-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Sunlake, Friday at Land O’Lakes

Lowdown: The Falcons came off a high Wednesday after beating rival East Lake 12-0 to a low on Friday by losing 3-2 to district foe River Ridge. Still, with solid pitching and an offense that is hitting .371 collectively, Dunedin is a tough out for any team. 

2. Northeast (7-0)

This week: Tuesday at Clearwater, Wednesday at Osceola, Friday vs. East Lake

Lowdown: Coach Rob Stanifer believes this team is better than last year’s 23-win team. He might be right. Northeast has two outstanding left-handers on the mound, Colton Tison and David Sockol. The Vikings also have good offense with Will Condon (.500), Jake Hale (.385), Kobe Hartley (.391) and Ryan Cook (.364). 

3. Alonso (5-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Bloomingdale, Thursday at Middleton, Saturday vs. Tampa Bay Tech (Saladino Tournament)

Lowdown: Jose Ciccarello is 12-for-23 at the plate, and he’s one of six Ravens hitting at least .300. Ciccarello came up big for Alonso, finishing 3-for-4 with an RBI, in the Ravens’ 5-4 win against Plant last week.

4. Seminole (5-1)

This week: Tuesday at Pinellas Park, Friday at Sebring, Saturday at Winter Haven

Lowdown: After being shut out by Countryside, the Warhawks came back with a 6-5 win over East Lake on Friday. Now comes a tough week, with two road games over the weekend. Jacob Silverstein is off to a crazy start. He is hitting .714 with 10 hits in 14 official plate appearances. 

5. Newsome (6-1)

This week: Tuesday at Riverview; Saturday vs. Steinbrenner, (Saladino Tournament)

Lowdown: The Wolves have started hot under the direction of new coach Dick Rohrberg. They’re 4-0 in a tough district, including wins against Alonso and Plant, and are on a five-game win streak since losing to Robinson on Feb. 13.

6. Bishop McLaughlin (5-2)

This week: Tuesday vs. Brooks DeBartolo, Thursday at Springstead

Lowdown: Until a 6-5 loss to Carrollwood Day last week, the Hurricanes had given up just five runs in six games, and Nate Pearson is leading the way on the mound, posting a 0.54 ERA in 13 innings pitched.

7. Brandon (6-1)

This week: Tuesday at East Bay, Thursday vs. Sickles; Saturday vs. Blake (Saladino Tournament)

Lowdown: Troy Linderman and Christian Montesinos are both hitting above .300 and combine for 12 of the Eagles’ 31 RBIs. Antonio Velez is carrying his weight on the mound, having not allowed a single earned run in a team-high 19.2 innings pitched.

8. Hillsborough (7-0)

This week: Tuesday at Leto, Thursday vs. Jefferson, Saturday vs. Gaither (Saladino Tournament). 

Lowdown: The Terriers are one of two undefeated teams left in Tampa Bay. Hillsborough only has one win against a team with a winning record — it beat Armwood (4-2) 7-5 on Friday — but the upcoming Saladino Tournament will tell us if Hillsborough can keep sliding through unscathed.

9. East Lake (6-2)

This week: Tuesday vs. Countryside, Friday at Northeast

Lowdown: Not the best of weeks for the Eagles, who came crashing down to earth on Wednesday with a 12-0 no-hit loss to Dunedin. Then came a 6-5 loss to Seminole at home. East Lake needs to regroup, but this week’s schedule will not make that easy. 

10. Hernando (6-1)

This week: Tuesday at Nature Coast, Friday vs. Weeki Wachee, Saturday vs. Palatka

Lowdown: The Leopards don’t blow anyone out, at least not yet, but pitching and defense have done well in the first three weeks. Not the toughest of weeks for Hernando, although Palatka could present a challenge Saturday.

11. Durant (5-1)

This week: Tuesday at Plant City, Thursday vs. Plant, Saturday vs. Chamberlain (Saladino Tournament).

Lowdown: The Cougars dropped their season opener to Newsome but have rolled since, outscoring the next five opponents 49-7. Seven Cougars with at least 14 at-bats are hitting at least .300, and Bryce Gainer is holding his own on the mound, posting a 2-0 record and 0.93 ERA. 

12. Plant (3-3)

This week: Tuesday at Wharton, Thursday at Durant, Saturday vs. Middleton (Saladino Tournament)

Lowdown: The Panthers struggled as a whole last week, dropping a pair of district games to Newsome and Alonso, but senior outfielder Kyle Tucker is doing better than fine at the plate, hitting .500 with two home runs through Plant’s first four games. 

13. River Ridge (5-1)

This week: Tuesday at Gulf, Thursday at Hudson, Friday at Fivay

Lowdown: The Royal Knights made a big statement in Class 5A, District 8 last week with wins over Tarpon Springs and Dunedin. Tyler Hawks and Rocco Iervasi have pitched well, and Jason Heinrich is hitting .556 to lead the offense. 

14. Lakewood (6-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Boca Ciega, Friday vs. Osceola

Lowdown: Bo Bichette gets most of the attention for Lakewood, maybe because he’s hitting .632 with 18 RBIs, three doubles and four home runs, but there are other offensive weapons. Donovan Pink is hitting .611 with three doubles and two homers, and Jamie Robles and Jamaal Chaney are both hitting over .400. But do the Spartans have enough pitching? 

15. Springstead (5-2)

This week: Monday vs. Weeki Wachee, Tuesday at Hudson, Tuesday vs. Bishop McLaughlin

Lowdown: Close losses to Hernando and Osceola last week ended the Eagles’ undefeated run. The big game this week if Friday against Bishop McLaughlin. 

16. Robinson (5-2)

This week: Tuesday at Middleton, Thursday vs. East Bay, Saturday vs. Strawberry Crest (Saladino Tournament) 

Lowdown: The Knights dropped their second game, a make-up against Jesuit last week, but their only two losses are against squads (Jesuit, Bloomingdale) with top-notch pitching staffs. Matthew Steckel is leading the way at the plate, hitting .412 with four RBIs and eight runs scored.

17. Tarpon Springs (4-2)

This week: Wednesday at Palm Harbor University, Friday vs. Anclote

Lowdown: The Spongers are much improved from last season and continue to show they will be a factor in Class 5A, District 8. The problem is, Dunedin and River Ridge have proven to be very good this season as well, so getting a region spot will not be easy. 

18. Countryside (5-2)

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

Lowdown: Good pitching beats good hitting, and the Cougars can attest to that. Both losses were shutouts to Dunedin’s Colton Widdows and Northeast’s Colton Tison. This week they are sure to face even more good pitching, so the bats need to wake up. 

19. Jesuit (4-4)

This week: Tuesday vs. Spoto, Saturday vs. Armwood (Saladino Tournament)

Lowdown: Jesuit has seemingly gotten its act together, following its 0-4 start with a four-game win streak. Five Tigers are hitting at least .300, with Kennie Taylor — 14-for-28 with three RBIs and eight doubles — leading the way.

20. Pinellas Park (3-2)

This week: Tuesday vs. Seminole, Wednesday at Dixie Hollins, Friday at Countryside

Lowdown: The Patriots are looking at a tough four-game stretch that also includes East Lake next week. Tyler Curry is hitting .600 early on and Zach Roberts, Scottie Thomas and Tyler Phillips are all over .400. They need to stay hot.

21. Leto (4-1)

This week: Monday vs. Chamberlain, Tuesday vs. Hillsborough, Thursday at King, Saturday vs. Wharton (Saladino Tournament)

Lowdown: The Falcons had a losing season last year, but have started out nicely in their newest campaign, winning four of the first five with the help of Gian Carlos Lopez at the plate (.500, three RBIs) and Felix Dieguez on the mound (0.00 ERA, 17 innings pitched).

22. Palm Harbor University (6-2)

This week: Wednesday vs. Tarpon Springs, Thursday vs. Clearwater, Friday vs. Manatee

Lowdown: First-year coach Tom Hilbert has the Hurricanes playing some good baseball. The Hurricanes have won four straight, but three games in three days this week could test the pitching staff. 

23. King (3-3)

This week: Tuesday vs. Chamberlain, Thursday vs. Leto, Saturday vs. Plant City (Saladino Tournament)

Lowdown: The Lions have had some ups and downs, but a decisive 7-2 win against district foe Jefferson last week was big for the young team. Juan DeJesus and Danny Terp are still leading the way on offense, hitting .462 and .400, respectively.

24. Indian Rocks Christian (6-2) 

This week: Monday at Shorecrest, Friday at Calvary Christian, Saturday vs. Northside Christian

Lowdown: The Eagles can pitch, which will take them a long way. Paul Kulaga and Oakley Albinson have proven to be top notch starters. Daniel Llerena his hitting a whopping .800 (12-for-15). 

25. Calvary Christian (4-2)

This week: Tuesday vs. Clearwater Central Catholic, Friday vs. Indian Rocks Christian

Lowdown: Jake Rothwell is off to a good start. He is hitting .412, but the Warriors are hitting only .254 as a team. Expect the bats to heat up, which they must do this week against two tough district opponents. 

Teams to watch: Central (3-2), Mitchell (3-3), Steinbrenner (3-3), Strawberry Crest (4-3), Wesley Chapel (6-3), Bloomingdale (3-4), Jefferson (3-2), Armwood (4-2)

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