HomeTeam 25: Baseball rankings for week of March 9



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Mon. March 9, 2015 | Rodney Page and Kelly Parsons

HomeTeam 25: Baseball rankings for week of March 9

1. Northeast (10-0)

This week: Tuesday at Seminole, Thursday at Lakewood, Friday vs. Pinellas Park.

Lowdown: And then there was one. The Vikings are the lone undefeated team in the area thanks to a big win over district foe East Lake on Friday. Another big week awaits, but if the pitching and defense continues, the Vikings should keep rolling.

2. Alonso (8-1)

This week: Today vs. Plant City, Tuesday vs. King, Wednesday-Friday (Saladino tournament, TBA)

Lowdown: The Ravens haven’t lost a game in nearly three weeks, due in large part to Jose Ciccarello at the plate (.429, nine doubles) and Nick Kennedy (3-0, 1.09 ERA) on the mound. Should Alonso advance from Saladino pool play, it could be hard to stop. 

3. Brandon (9-1)

This week: Today vs. Leto, Tuesday vs. Wharton, Wednesday-Friday (Saladino tournament, TBA)

Lowdown: Brandon is cruising along, and junior lefty Antonio Velez has been almost untouchable, giving up 11 hits in seven appearances while striking out 48 in 26.2 innings pitched. He’s got a 0.26 ERA and 6-0 record.

4. Durant (8-1)

This week: Today vs. Middleton, Tuesday vs. Plant, Wednesday-Friday (Saladino tournament, TBA) 

Lowdown: Durant, which hasn’t lost in a month, is one of the hottest teams in town at the plate. Seven Cougar starters are hitting at least .300, and Jonah Scolaro (.414), Cade Kelley (.400) and Brandon Wheat (.400) are hitting at least .400.

5. Dunedin (8-2)

This week: Tuesday at Anclote, Wednesday at Palm Harbor University

Lowdown: After beating East Lake with a no-hitter, the Falcons then lost two straight. A much needed win over Land O’Lakes may have them back on track. 

6. Bishop McLaughlin (7-2)

This week: Tuesday at Nature Coast, Friday at Tampa Prep.

Lowdown: Friday’s game against Tampa Prep is a big one in Class 3A, District 7. The bats of Carson Ragsdale and Paul Coumoulos will have to stay hot, as does the solid pitching of Nate Pearson, Franklin German, Dominic Diaz and Ragsdale. 

7. Hernando (8-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Pasco, Thursday at Citrus, Friday at Wesley Chapel. 

Lowdown: The Leopards are pitching well. Eight have combined for a 1.28 team ERA thus far. Daniel Miller leads the way with a 1.05 ERA in 13.1 innings. The team batting average is .263, though, which needs to get a little better.

8. Hillsborough (9-1)

This week: Monday vs. Riverview, Tuesday vs. East Bay, Wednesday-Friday (Saladino tournament, TBA)

Lowdown: The Terriers dropped their first game last week against a solid Leto squad, but rebounded nicely with wins against Jefferson and Gaither. First baseman Tim Elko is still leading the way at the plate, with a .438 average and nine RBIs.

9. River Ridge (7-1)

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

Lowdown: The Royal Knights were rained out against Fivay on Friday, so they are rested and ready for this big week. They have won seven straight since starting the season with a one-run loss to Fivay. 

10. East Lake (7-3)

This week: Tuesday vs. Pinellas Park, Friday vs. Clearwater

Lowdown: Two district games this week for the Eagles and they are almost must-win to stay in the regular season hunt. The Eagles’ bats have gone a little quiet but the pitching and defense has been good.

11. Palm Harbor University (8-2)

This week: Tuesday vs. Largo, Wednesday vs. Dunedin, Friday at Clearwater Central Catholic

Lowdown: What a turnaround for the Hurricanes. They have won six straight and sit atop Class 8A-8. Dunedin will certainly be an interesting game, since first year PHU coach Tom Hilbert used to play and coach there. 

12. Springstead (7-3)

This week: Today vs. Nature Coast, Thursday at Dixie Hollins

Lowdown: The Eagles are trying to rebound from a loss to Bishop McLaughlin last week. Nature Coast and Dixie Hollins should not be stumbling blocks, although the Rebels could be a tough district opponent. 

13. Riverview (8-2)

This week: Monday vs. Hillsborough, Tuesday vs. Gaither, Wednesday-Friday (Saladino tournament, TBA)

Lowdown: The Sharks have cruised by quietly, winning two extra-inning games and two more by just one run. USF commit Garrett Bye is doing his part at the plate (.462) and on the mound (2-1, 2.07 ERA).

14. Tampa Prep (7-2)

This week: Wednesday vs. Atlanta Lovett, Thursday vs. Bishop McLaughlin

Lowdown: The Terrapins might have started 0-2, but they’ve won the last seven, scoring 59 runs in the process. Junior catcher Luis Medina is hitting .480 with 13 RBIs, four doubles and a home run. 

15. Jesuit (6-4)

This week: Monday vs. Newsome, Tuesday vs. Steinbrenner, Wednesday-Friday (Saladino tournament, TBA)

Lowdown: The Tigers started slow, but they’re riding a six-game win streak, shutting out their last two opponents. Kennie Taylor is still hitting .455 (eight doubles), and Drew Martin has earned the last two wins, throwing four scoreless innings in each. 

16. Wesley Chapel (9-3)

This week: Tuesday at Zephyrhills, Thursday at Anclote, Friday vs. Hernando

Lowdown: Brandon McLeod has been huge defensively for Wesley Chapel, which is riding a six-game win streak. The senior right-hander has struck out 55 in 30 innings pitched and has a 5-0 record and 1.63 ERA.

17. Countryside (6-3)

This week: Tuesday vs. Clearwater, Friday at Seminole, Saturday at IMG Academy

Lowdown: The Cougars’ last two losses were against Northeast and East lake, two tough teams. They did bounce back with a win over Pinellas Park. Friday’s game at Seminole is another tough test, but just about all of them are in 7A-9. 

18. Leto (6-3)

This week: Monday. vs. Brandon, Tuesday vs. Blake, Wednesday-Friday (Saladino tournament, TBA)

Lowdown: The Falcons have lost to Chamberlain and King so far this month, but Gian Carlos Lopez is still hitting the ball well, leading the team with a .448 average eight RBIs and four doubles.

19. Sunlake (6-2)

This week: Tuesday at River Ridge, Thursday vs. Mitchell, Friday at Fivay

Lowdown: After losing to Tarpon Springs on Feb. 27, the Seahawks have won their last three games, outscoring opponents 13-5 and picking up a big win against Dunedin. T.J. Bendert is leading Sunlake with a .450 average and seven RBIs.

20. Jefferson (6-3)

This week: Monday vs. Robinson, Tuesday vs. Strawberry Crest, Wednesday-Friday (Saladino tournament, TBA)

Lowdown: The Dragons have scored 18 runs in their past three wins and Nelson Maldonado, a Florida commit, has continued his hot streak from last season, hitting .407 with seven RBIs and four doubles.

21. Robinson (7-3)

This week: Monday vs. Jefferson, Tuesday vs. Freedom, Wednesday-Friday (Saladino Tournament, TBA)

Lowdown: The Knights dropped their first Saladino Tournament game to Strawberry Crest last Saturday, but Mitchell Tozian has come up big in his last three games, finishing 4-for-6.

22. Newsome (6-4)

This week: Today vs. Jesuit, Tuesday vs. Armwood, Wednesday-Friday Saladino tournament(Saladino tournament, TBA) 

Lowdown: Newsome has lost three straight to Riverview, Gaither and Steinbrenner, but in the Wolves’ defense, they’ve faced some quality arms. Games against Jesuit and Alonso in the next several days will give Newsome a chance to prove itself against strong competition. 

23. Plant (5-4)

This week: Tuesday vs. Durant, Wednesday-Friday Saladino tournament (Saladino tournament, TBA)

Lowdown: The Panthers have been hit or miss at the plate, but Kyle Tucker (.471) and Jake Woodford (2-0, 0.78 ERA) are still headlining the pack, as expected. A rematch with Durant, which beat Plant 4-1 on Friday, could be a turning point for the Panthers.

24. Calvary Christian (6-2)

This week: Today vs. Lovett (Georgia), Tuesday vs. St. Petersburg Catholic, Friday vs. Carrollwood Day

Lowdown: The Warriors proved something last week with wins over CCC and Indian Rocks Christian. Jake Rothwell has increased his average to .417. And freshman Matheu Nelson is hitting .429 in 29 plate appearances. 

25. Lakewood (6-3)

This week: Tuesday vs. Southeast, Thursday vs. Northeast, Friday at Gibbs. 

Lowdown: Leading hitter Bo Bichette is out for a while with an injured right arm, a big blow for a team that relies on offense. Donovan Pink and Mario Conde are two of the best hitters in the county, but the Spartans need better pitching and defense to get through the season. 

In the conversation: Strawberry Crest (6-4), King (6-4), Keswick Christian (9-2), Seminole (5-4)

Note: All records for Saladino teams are as of Saturday. 



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