Thursday, April 26, 2018
Hometeam

HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings for Tampa Bay

1. Land O'Lakes (10-0)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Pasco; Wednesday vs. Tampa Catholic; Thursday vs. Anclote

The buzz: The Gators, who have won 22 straight since last season, are 22nd nationally in the Xcellent 25 rankings by MaxPreps. Last week, Land O'Lakes beat Zephyrhills, Mitchell and Wesley Chapel by a combined 32-6. Brooke Stanley had two hits, three RBIs and scored twice in the win over the Wildcats.

2. Palm Harbor University (9-1)

Up next: Wednesday at East Lake; Thursday vs. Sarasota Riverview

The buzz: The Hurricanes are the top-ranked team in 9A and No. 3 overall in the latest state poll. Last week, they beat Alonso, Pinellas Park and Clearwater. Savanna Bennett pitched a complete game and drove in a run against the Ravens in a key district game. Mia Buffano hit a solo homer against the Tornadoes.

3. Academy at the Lakes (8-0)

Up next: Idle

The buzz: The Wildcats have outscored foes by a combined 64-1 to remain undefeated. Alexis Kilfoyl, the Alabama-bound ace, has not allowed a run in 35 innings pitched. Her best performance came last week in a win vs. previously undefeated Seven Rivers Christian. Kilfoyl threw a three-hit shutout and had 17 strikeouts.

4. Springstead (8-0)

Up next: Friday-Saturday at Hernando's Leopard Slam tournament

The buzz: Wins against Weeki Wachee (5-0) and Citrus (4-1) last week kept the Eagles undefeated. Paige Pfent, a North Florida commit, went 2-for-3 with a homer and two RBIs against the Hornets. Kayla Cruz was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored against the Hurricanes. On Friday, Springstead plays Bloomingdale and Dunedin to open play at the Leopard Slam tournament.

5. Sunlake (8-1)

Up next: Tuesday at Northeast; Friday-Saturday at Hernando's Leopard Slam tournament

The buzz: Nelson Garcia hit a coaching milestone with his 100th win in last week's 13-2 victory over Clearwater that lasted five innings. The Seahawks also routed Dixie Hollins 16-0. The high-scoring offense has reached double digits in runs in all but one win this season. On Friday, Sunlake plays Nature Coast in the opening round of Hernando's Leopard Slam .

6. Hernando (8-0)

Up next: Friday-Saturday at Leopard Slam tournament

The buzz: The Leopards get something they have been craving all season when they host the Leopard Slam tournament: a test. Hernando has cruised through the regular season, outscoring opponents by a combined 107-8. Madyson Lamp is hitting .750 with four homers and 22 RBIs. On Friday, the Leopards host undefeated Ridgeview in the Slam's opening round.

7. Newsome (7-0)

Up next: Idle

The buzz: The Wolves head into spring break with a ton of momentum. Last week, Newsome beat Sarasota Riverview 11-1 and Wharton 15-0. The offense was patient at the plate against the Wildcats, drawing 11 walks. McKayla Timmons went 3-for-4 with an RBI and four runs scored. The Wolves' next game is a big one against Class 9A, District 8 rival Palm Harbor University on March 20.

8. River Ridge (10-1)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Wesley Chapel; Thursday vs. Zephyrhills; Friday at Gulf

The buzz: The Royal Knights beat Cypress Creek, Pasco, Anclote and Wiregrass Ranch last week by a combined 46-1. Madisen Vozdecky is third in the area in RBIs with 22 and Hailey Smith is third in batting average at .724. Melanie Rogers is second in strikeouts with 104 and third in ERA at 0.26.

9. Osceola (9-1)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Gibbs; Thursday at Clearwater; Friday vs. Dixie Hollins

The buzz: The Warriors have won seven straight, including a regular-season sweep of Mitchell puts Osceola in good position to clinch one of the top two seeds in the Class 7A, District 9 tournament.  Four players — Rebecca Catarelli, Kayleice Hooks, Jordyn Pentz and Jayla Brooks — each have more than 10 RBIs this season.

10. Plant City (11-1)

Up next: Idle

The buzz: The Raiders were able to put it on cruise control this past week. They beat Lennard, Riverview and Middleton by a combined 42-0 to extend their win streak to five. Beka Schulte, a senior, had two home runs and a triple in the win over the Sharks. Ashley Blessin is 10-1 with a 0.38 ERA and 99 strikeouts this season.

11. Chamberlain (7-0)

Up next: Idle

The buzz: In their only game last week, the Chiefs pounded King 16-0 in three innings. Four players had inside-the-park homers and Gabby Vallee and Shannon Maloney combined on a perfect game, striking out eight of the nine batters they faced. Chamberlain has posted three straight shutouts.

12. Steinbrenner (7-1)

Up next: Idle

The buzz: In their only game last week, the Warriors scored the winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning to beat Jefferson 2-1. Stephanie Balmer again was solid at the plate, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Mikayla Johnson pitched a three-hitter with nine strikeouts for her fifth win of the season.

13. Alonso (8-2)

Up next: Idle

The buzz: After starting 8-0, including a win over Plant City in the title game of the inaugural Angela Slater Classic, the Ravens have dropped two straight. The losses have come against Class 9A, District 8 foes Newsome and Palm Harbor University. Jodi Handler has continued to pitch well. The Georgia Southern signee is sixth in the area with 78 strikeouts this season.

14. East Lake (8-2)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Pinellas Park; Wednesday vs. Palm Harbor University

The buzz: The Eagles extended their win streak to four with wins against Largo (18-3) and Tarpon Springs (5-4) last week. Nikki Steiniger hit a two-run homer in the third inning against the Spongers that gave East Lake enough of a cushion to hold on for the win. On Wednesday, the Eagles face Palm Harbor University in a battle of North Pinellas County rivals.

15. Academy of the Holy Names (8-1)

Up next: Idle

The buzz: The Jaguars rebounded from their only loss in a big way, beating rival Tampa Catholic 6-0 in a battle for first place in Class 4A, District 4. AHN broke the game open by scoring three runs each in the third and fourth innings. Alyssa LoSauro's .650 batting average is tied for fifth-best among area players.

16. Mitchell (6-4)

Up next: Tuesday at Clearwater; Thursday vs. Northeast

The buzz: It was a rough week for the Mustangs, who lost to Land O'Lakes 12-3 and Osceola 11-6. Mitchell is now two games behind the Warriors for the No. 2 seed in the Class 7A, District 9 tournament. Ashley Autuori continues to provide some pop in the lineup and is tied for the area lead in RBIs with 23.

17. Wharton (6-3)

Up next: Idle.

The buzz: The good news is that the Wildcats beat rival Freedom 7-2 last week to take sole possession of first in Class 8A, District 4. Ysabella Dominguez, Alexandria Dixon and Tieley Vaughn each had two hits, and Jillian Long drove in three runs against the Patriots. The bad news is Wharton followed that up with a 15-0 loss to Newsome to snap their three-game win streak.

18. Freedom (5-3)

Up next: Idle

The buzz: The Patriots split their two games last week, losing to Wharton 7-2 and beating Durant 5-1. The loss to the Wildcats not only snapped Freedom's three-game win streak but also dropped the Patriots out of first place in Class 8A, District 4. Lauren Batcho went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in the win against the Cougars.

19. Sickles (8-3)

Up next: Friday-Saturday at Hernando's Leopard Slam Tournament

The buzz: Wins against Plant (17-0) and Armwood (15-1) helped the Gryphons get back on track. Taylor Brown, a Piedmont signee, had a big week at the plate, going a combined 5-for-6 with a grand slam and six RBIs in the two wins. On Friday, Sickles plays Nature Coast in the opening round of the Leopard Slam.

20. Tampa Catholic (8-2)

Up next: Tuesday at Berkeley Prep; Wednesday at Land O'Lakes

The buzz: The Crusaders, who scored a combined 33 runs during their recent four-game win streak, were shut out against rival Academy of the Holy Names in a rematch of last year's region final. Tampa Catholic also fell out of first place in Class 4A, District 4.

21. Tarpon Springs (6-2)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Dunedin; Thursday at Seminole

The buzz: The Spongers have lost two of their past three. But their lone win in that span was big. Tarpon Springs beat Boca Ciega 3-0 to complete the regular season sweep and clinch the top seed in the Class 6A, District 9 tournament. Hunter Ruch and Devyn Howard each went 3-for-3 and Phoebe Howard threw a four-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts.

22. Robinson (8-4)

Up next: Idle

The buzz: Last week was a light one for the Knights who beat Spoto 15-0 and Hillsborough in games that each took just three innings to complete because of the mercy rule. Jordan Stephens and Rachel Clark each had three RBIs and Olivia Van Zandt threw a perfect game against the Spartans. Shelby Schoonmaker and Cassidy Renniger combined on a one-hit shutout against the Terriers.

23. Nature Coast (7-2)

Up next: Friday-Saturday at Hernando's Leopard Slam tournament

The buzz: The Sharks rebounded from a 12-1 loss to Dunnellon two weeks ago to beat Cypress Creek 7-4 and Fivay 15-0. Alanis Berrios went 2-for-2 with three RBIs in the win over the Falcons. Nature Coast plays Sickles and Sunlake on Friday at the Leopard Slam.

24. Bloomingdale (8-3)

Up next: Friday-Saturday at Hernando's Leopard Slam tournament

The buzz: After starting 2-3, the Bulls have won six straight, including a 2-1 victory over Sickles last month. Lexi Chevalier ranks seventh in the area in RBIs with 19. Bloomingdale has a challenging week ahead with games against Hernando and Sunlake on Friday to kick off the Leopard Slam.

25. Admiral Farragut (7-2)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Indian Rocks Christian; Thursday at Bradenton Christian

The buzz: The Blue Jackets have a two-game lead for the top seed in the Class 3A, District 5 tournament after beating Indian Rocks Christian 10-0 and Bradenton Christian 11-5 last week. Brielle Benefield recorded her fifth shutout of the season in the win over the Golden Eagles.

On the bubble: Strawberry Crest (6-5), Clearwater (4-3), Calvary Christian (4-3), Jefferson (5-4), Dunedin (6-3).

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