HomeTeam 25: Baseball rankings for Tampa Bay

Plant City baseball coach coach Michael Fryrear watches John Simpson throw during practice Monday. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times ]
Plant City baseball coach coach Michael Fryrear watches John Simpson throw during practice Monday. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times ]
Published March 6 2018
Updated March 6 2018

1. Calvary Christian (5-0)

This week: (Monday vs. Tarpon Springs), Today vs. Tampa Catholic, Thursday at Tampa Prep

The buzz: The Warriors got a scare against Boca Ciega, a 2-1, 8-inning win. They were good at winning close games last season, and that trait has carried over to this team. Calvary Christian has now won 35 straight with some tough games again this week.

2. Plant (4-1)

This week: Today vs. Sickles, Friday vs. Durant

The buzz: The lone loss came against Jefferson on Tuesday, 3-2. The Panthers bounced back with wins over Bloomingdale and Leto. Two big games this week before heading into the Saladino tournament.

3. East Lake (5-0)

This week: Thursday vs. Sunlake, Friday at Naples Barron Collier

The buzz: The Eagles have started quickly. St. Petersburg did give them a game, but East Lake won on Friday, 4-3. They should be plenty rested before two straight to end the week.

4. Plant City (5-0)

This week: Today vs. Lennard, Wednesday at Riverview, Saturday vs. Brandon (Saladino tournament)

The buzz: T.J. Gayner is a true ace so far for the Raiders. He is 2-0 with a 0.66 ERA. Junior Parker Messick is 2-0 with a 1.62 ERA and has 16 strikeouts in 13 innings. The team ERA is 1.65 in five games, and any team with a pitching staff is tough to beat.

5. Alonso (4-1)

This week: Today at Palm Harbor U, Saturday vs. Gaither (Saladino tournament)

The buzz: The first loss came on Saturday, 4-3 to Durant. A big early-season Class 9A, District 8 game awaits today at PHU. Senior Franco Aleman has pitched 11 innings and struck out 21. He is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA.

6. Sickles (5-0)

This week: Today at Plant, Saturday vs. Spoto (Saladino tournament)

The buzz: The Gryphons edged out Newsome 10-9 on Saturday to stay undefeated. A big game against Plant awaits tonight, and then it's on to the Saladino tournament, where they should be one of the favorites.

7. Dunedin (6-0)

This week: Thursday at CCC, Friday vs. Tarpon Springs

The buzz: So far, the Falcons can pitch and get just enough hitting. Derek Gray threw a one-hitter on Monday in a 2-0 win over Palm Harbor University. They will get another test at CCC on Thursday, but early on this looks like yet another playoff season.

8. Bishop McLaughlin (5-0)

This week: Today at Seffner Christian, Friday vs. Carrollwood Day

The buzz: The Hurricanes are off and running. Junior Derick Stager has a .583 average with seven RBI in his first five games. Junior Justin Koehler, a Mitchell transfer, is hitting .438 so far. He's also 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA.

9. Jesuit (3-2)

This week: Today vs. Blake, Wednesday at Seminole

The buzz: The Tigers lost in eight innings on Saturday to rival Tampa Catholic. A trip across the bridge to Seminole could be a bit of a challenge this week. Jesuit is talented as always, so expect better games as the season wears on.

10. Nature Coast (6-0)

This week: Tuesday vs. Hudson, Thursday vs. Central

The buzz: The Sharks have been impressive so far and remained undefeated with a 4-3 win on Thursday over Fivay. They are hitting .338 as a team, led as expected by Jonathan Gates, who is hitting .500 with 11 RBI.

11. Jefferson (3-1)

This week: Tuesday at Middleton, Thursday at Steinbrenner, Saturday vs. Blake (Saladino tournament)

The buzz: The Dragons are on a three-game win streak after a shutout loss to Alonso to start the season. The game Thursday at Steinbrenner will be a good one. Senior Charley Welch is off to a good start with a .417 average.

12. Hernando (4-1)

This week: Tuesday at Ridgewood, Thursday at Springstead, Friday at Cypress Creek

The buzz: A puzzling loss to Hudson was followed by a nice road win over Sebring. The Leopards are road warriors this week and must get good pitching from the back of the rotation.

13. Springstead (4-0)

This week: Tuesday vs. Lecanto, Thursday vs. Hernando, Friday at Citrus

The buzz: A nice start for the Eagles. Jack Jasiak threw a complete game no-hitter in a 2-1 win over Dunnellon and struck out 13. Four different pitchers have not given up an earned run this season. Senior Kevin Tomas is 2-0 and has 15 strikeouts.

14. Tampa Catholic (4-1)

This week: Tuesday at Calvary Christian, Friday at Berkeley Prep

The buzz: Upset alert on Tuesday. The Crusaders are playing pretty well. They are coming off an extra-innings win on Saturday against Jesuit. The only loss thus far was to Tampa Prep. Senior  Ryan Savitt and sophomore Lucas Harman are both hitting .429 to start the season.

15. Leto (3-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Hillsborough, Saturday vs. Bloomingdale (Saladino tournament)

The buzz: The Falcons' three-game win streak was snapped with a loss to Plant on Friday. A light but challenging week leading into the Saladino tournament.

16. Mitchell (4-1)

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

The buzz: The Mustangs have won four straight after losing the season opener. Now comes a week with two games against Class 7A, District 10 rival Osceola. Pitching is always the key in a three-game week, so the staff behind senior Jakob Mattos needs to step it up.

17. King (2-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Chamberlain, Thursday vs. Middleton, Saturday vs. Armwood (Saladino tournament)

The buzz: The season has started slowly but it ramps up this week. The Lions have won two straight since a season-opening loss to Sickles. The offense has been decent, and the pitching staff has yet to find an ace.

18. Palm Harbor University (3-2)

This week: Today vs. Alonso, Thursday vs. Clearwater

The buzz: The first loss of the season came Thursday at Sarasota Riverview. That was followed by a close loss to Dunedin on Monday. This week will test a deep pitching staff, especially with two straight games to start the week. Alonso is a district game and the offense needs to step up.

19. Steinbrenner (2-2)

This week: Thursday vs. Jefferson, Saturday vs. Brooks DeBartolo (Saladino tournament)

The buzz: Three of the Warriors' four games have been decided by two runs or less. The Jefferson game will be a big test prior to the Saladino tournament.

20. Carrollwood Day (3-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Lakeland Santa Fe, Friday at Bishop McLaughlin

The buzz: The only loss this season was a 1-0, nine-inning game to Berkeley Prep. The big game this week is at Berkeley Prep.

21. Bloomingdale (2-2)

This week: Tuesday vs. East Bay, Thursday at Spoto, Saturday vs. Leto (Saladino tournament)

The buzz: The two losses last week were to Sickles and Plant, tough teams for anybody. This week should be a little better, albeit busy with the start of the Saladino tournament.

22. Northside Christian (2-2)

This week: Tuesday vs. Shorecrest, Friday vs. Indian Rocks Christian, Saturday vs. Lovett (Ga.)

The buzz: The Mustangs are stuck in a win, loss, win, loss pattern early in the season. The last game was a 6-5 loss to Sarasota Out-of-Door Academy. A three-game week this week won't be easy for a team that is only hitting .238.

23. Zephyrhills (4-0)

This week: Today at River Ridge, Thursday at Hudson, Friday vs. Anclote

The buzz: A good start for the Bulldogs, who picked up a nice 5-4 win over Sunlake last week. River Ridge and Anclote are Class 6A, District 7 opponents this week.

24. Indian Rocks Christian (4-2)

This week: Tuesday vs. Sarasota Out-of-Door, Thursday vs. Dixie Hollins, Friday at Northside Christian

The buzz: The Golden Eagles ran into a speed bump last week against Bradenton St. Stephen's. This week isn't any easier. Senior John Turner is hitting well early with a .421 average. Senior John Pacheco has started three games and is 1-1 with a 3.91 ERA.

25. Cambridge Christian (5-1)

This week: Tuesday at Bell Creek, Thursday at Winter Haven All Saints

The buzz: The Lancers are on a four-game win streak and the only loss was by one run to Lakeland McKeel. Ethan McCoy leads the offense with a .429 average. Senior Michael McCarty is 2-0 with a 2.10 ERA so far.

On the bubble: Strawberry Crest (2-2), Boca Ciega (4-3), Wiregrass Ranch (2-2), Fivay (3-3), Newsome (2-2), Clearwater (3-2), Osceola (2-2), Keswick Christian (5-1), Northeast (3-3)