HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings for Tampa Bay

Sunlake's Jenna Lord winds up a throw to first during team practice. (Douglas R. Clifford, Times)
Sunlake's Jenna Lord winds up a throw to first during team practice. (Douglas R. Clifford, Times)
Published April 16

1. Sunlake (19-1)

Up next: Tuesday at Anclote; Thursday vs. Gulf

The buzz: Jenna Lord and Paige Maseda each hit a pair of homers in a 10-1 win over River Ridge, the previous top-ranked team in the area. The victory was the Seahawks' 13 straight and their 19 wins this season have already set a school record. The offense is averaging 10 runs per game and the team has already set the school record for homers in a season with 18. The win streak should continue going into the postseason. Sunlake is supposed to pick up a forfeit win over Anclote and has another game scheduled against Gulf. Last week's game against Zephyrhills most likely will be made up his week.

RELATED: Sunlake beats River Ridge 10-1 in a matchup of top softball teams

2. Land O'Lakes (18-4)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Academy at the Lakes; Wednesday vs. Fivay; Thursday vs. Ridgewood

The buzz: In their only game last week, the Gators beat Dunnellon 7-3. Ashley Smith and Marigrace Castoria each had two hits and Callie Turner threw a four-hitter with 15 strikeouts. Land O'Lakes plays three games this week, the biggest coming Tuesday against Academy at the Lakes in a matchup between two of the area's premier pitchers in Turner and the Wildcats' Alexis Kilfoyl.

3. Newsome (18-2)

Up next: Tuesday vs. East Bay; Thursday at Plant City; Friday vs. Blake; Saturday vs. Lennard

The buzz: The Wolves won both of their games last week, beating Steinbrenner 8-2 and Palm Harbor University 12-2. The win against the Hurricanes clinched the top seed in the Class 9A, District 8 tournament for Newsome. Bailee Leistl had a solid week at the plate, driving in a combined five runs in both games. The Wolves stay busy with games this week to close out the regular season.

4. Academy at the Lakes (18-4)

Up next: Tuesday at Land O'Lakes; Thursday vs. Carrollwood Day

The buzz: Alexis Kilfoyl had a monster game against River Ridge last week. The Alabama commit had a double, a homer and three RBIs at the plate. She was just as dominate on the mound, throwing a three-hitter with nine strikeouts in a 7-1 win. The Wildcats, a Class 2A school, now have an impressive seven wins against teams ranked in the top 25.

5. East Lake (18-3)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Clearwater; Thursday at Boca Ciega (PCAC title game)

The buzz: The Eagles beat St. Petersburg (15-0), Countryside (14-0) and Pinellas Park (1-0) last week to extend their win streak to seven.  Stellar pitching and defense have been the difference. East Lake has allowed just two runs in its last seven games. On Thursday, the Eagles will play Boca Ciega in the Pinellas County Athletic Conference title game.

6. Springstead (19-3)

Up next: Wednesday vs. Nature Coast Tech; Thursday vs. Hernando; Friday vs. Central

The buzz: The Eagles were looking for a signature win this season and finally got it with a 1-0 win over rival Hernando last week. Kayla Cruz threw a four-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts and Paige Pfent went 3-for-3 with two doubles. Pfent has a had at least one hit in 17 of the past 19 games and is now batting .552 with seven homers and 26 RBIs.

7. River Ridge (18-4)

Up next: Tuesday at Palm Harbor University; Wednesday vs. Tampa Catholic

The buzz: Backloading their schedule with as many tough games as possible, the Royal Knights struggled, losing three straight. The slide started with a 5-4 loss to Tarpon Springs that ended River Ridge's 12-game win streak. It continued against Sunlake (10-1) and Academy at the Lakes (7-1). The 22 runs the Royal Knights gave up last week were more than they allowed all season.

Related: River Ridge calm and confident as postseason nears

8. Chamberlain (18-4)

Up next: Tuesday at Alonso; Thursday at Robinson

The buzz: The Chiefs lost to rival Gaither 3-1 in their Class 7A, District 8 regular-season finale. That puts Chamberlain in a tie with the Cowboys at the top of the standings. Both teams could very well meet in the district championship game, much like they have done in each of the last two seasons. This week, the Chiefs play Alonso and Robinson in two good matchups to gear up for the district tournament.

9. Wharton (13-4)

Up next: Tuesday at Sickles; Thursday vs. Armwood

The buzz: The Wildcats are coming together at the right time. They have won three straight, none bigger than their 2-0 victory over Alonso last week. Jillian Long threw a five-hit shutout and Ysabella Dominguez and Tieley Vaughn each drove in a run against the Ravens. Defense also has been solid with Wharton allowing just one run in its two games last week.

10. Alonso (17-5)

Up next: Monday vs. Sickles; Tuesday vs. Chamberlain; Thursday at King

The buzz: The Ravens wrapped up play in Class 9A, District 8 with some momentum after beating Palm Harbor University 6-3 and Sarasota Riverview 15-2. Madison Coutts, Veronica Diaz and Ah-Niyia Oglesby each had two hits against the Hurricanes. Caila Weisman was 3-for-4 and Jodi Handler hit a three-run homer against the Rams. The only setback was Alonso was a 2-0 loss to Wharton that ended a four-game win streak.

11. Hernando (17-3)

Up next: Monday at Gulf; Thursday at Springstead; Friday at Weeki Wachee

The buzz: After losing to rival Springstead, the Leopards rebounded to beat Hudson 15-0 and Central 15-0 last week. Ali Shenefield was 3-for-3 in the loss to the Eagles and in the win over the Bears. She also tossed a three-inning perfect game against Central. Hernando will get another shot at Springstead in Thursday's rematch.

RELATED: How to describe's Hernando's softball team? No drama, just winning

12. Bloomingdale (17-6)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Strawberry Crest; Thursday vs. Jefferson

The buzz: By beating Plant City 7-1 and Riverview 7-0 last week, the Bulls were able to clinch the top seed in the Class 8A, District 6 tournament. Lexie Chevalier has had a hit in 22 straight games, including two each against the Raiders and the Sharks. She also has 36 RBIs this season.

13. Palm Harbor University (14-6)

Up next: Monday vs. Largo; Tuesday vs. River Ridge; Wednesday vs. Seminole; Thursday vs. Dunedin

The buzz: The Hurricanes entered last week with a chance to clinch the top seed in the Class 9A, District 8 tournament. Instead, Palm Harbor University lost to Alonso 6-3 and to Newsome 12-2 to fall into a tie with the Ravens for second place in the district. That sets up another rematch with Alonso in next week's district semifinals.

14. Tarpon Springs (15-4)

Up next: Thursday vs. Pinellas Park

The buzz: The Spongers were the first to knock off River Ridge last week, ending the Royal Knight's 12-game win streak. Gabby Renner and Bria Denamen each had two hits and two RBIs in the 5-4 victory. Tarpon Springs, which has won four straight, is now 5-4 against teams ranked in the top 25 this season.

15. Freedom (14-5)

Up next: Tuesday vs. King; Thursday vs. Plant

The buzz: The Patriots picked up a forfeit win over Leto and beat Wiregrass Ranch 9-0 last week. Kristina Calixto threw a three-hit shutout and went 2-for-4 with four RBIs in the win over the Bulls. Freedom has won eight of its last nine, the lone loss coming to rival Wharton two weeks ago that dropped the Patriots to the No. 2 seed in the Class 8A, District 4 tournament.

16. Steinbrenner (13-6)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Robinson; Thursday at Blake

The buzz: The Warriors have had an uneven second half of the season. For the second straight week, Steinbrenner spit its games, this time losing to Newsome 8-2 and beating Plant 8-2. Jennifer Bryant, Haley Keeting, Frankie Raeckers and Ashley Shroll each were 2-for-3 against the Panthers.

17. Sickles (15-7)

Up next: Monday at Alonso; Tuesday vs. Wharton; Thursday at Gaither

The buzz: The Gryphons took advantage of a light schedule by beating Hillsborough 17-0 and Middleton 14-0 to extend their win streak to four. Taylor Brown was a combined 6-for-7 with eight RBIs on the week. The schedule gets a lot tougher with Sickles playing Alonso, Wharton and Gaither to close out the regular season.

18. Osceola (16-6)

Up next: Monday vs. St. Petersburg; Tuesday vs. Northeast

The buzz: The Warriors were able to get back on track last week with wins against Seminole (14-3) and Northeast (15-5) that ended a two-game losing streak. Megan Weisenberg had a big game at the plate against the Vikings, going 4-for-4 with two homers, including a grand slam, and finishing with eight RBIs.

19. Mitchell (16-8)

Up next: Tuesday at Wiregrass

The buzz: Much like Osceola, the Mustangs were able to regroup last week, winning three straight. The Mustangs picked up a forfeit win against Anclote and shutout Clearwater (8-0) and Dixie Hollins (10-0). Ashley Autuori allowed just six combined in the shutouts and Alex Hare was 3-for-4 with a double, homer and three RBIs against the Rebels.

20. Robinson (18-5)

Up next: Tuesday at Steinbrenner; Thursday vs. Chamberlain

The buzz: The Knights have lit up scoreboards during their five-game win streak, scoring at least 13 runs in each one. Last week, Robinson pounded Blake 15-0 and Leto 17-0 in games that ended early because of the mercy rule. Claire White had two hits and four RBIs in the win over the Yellow Jackets. The Knights finish the regular season with tough matchups against Steinbrenner and Chamberlain.

21. Plant City (15-4)

Up next: Tuesday at Tampa Bay Tech; Thursday vs. Newsome

The buzz: A loss to Bloomingdale that completed a season sweep ended any hopes the Raiders had of getting the top seed in the district. Plant City came back to beat East Bay 6-0, avenging a loss from earlier this season. Ashley Blessin had a no-hitter and nine strikeouts and Abbie DeWeese was 3-for-4 with three RBIs against the Indians.

22. Boca Ciega (16-5)

Up next: Tuesday at Palmetto; Wednesday at Admiral Farragut; Thursday vs. East Lake (PCAC game)

The buzz: The Pirates, winners of eight straight, currently have the longest streak in the area. Last week they beat Dunedin 2-0 and Seminole 8-2. Alanah Rivera threw a two-hit shutout with seven strikeouts in the win over the Falcons. Carmen Perez had a triple and four RBIs against the Warhawks.

23. Gaither (12-5)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Jefferson; Thursday vs. Sickles

The buzz: A 3-1 win over Chamberlain helped the Cowboys force a tie with their rival at the top of the Class 7A, District 8 standings. Gaither has now won three straight. Pitching and defense have key to the Cowboys' success. After all, Gaither has posted shutouts in four of its last five wins.

24. Tampa Catholic (12-5)

Up next: Monday vs. Northside Christian; Wednesday at River Ridge

The buzz: After losing to Canterbury, the Crusaders came back to beat Admiral Farragut 2-1 and Calvary Christian 9-4. The win against the Warriors clinched the top seed in the Class 4A, District 4 tournament for Tampa Catholic. The Crusaders had 13 hits against Calvary, three from Paige Lassiter.

25. Academy of the Holy Names (12-6)

Up next: Tuesday at Calvary Christian; Thursday at Berkeley Prep

The buzz: The Jaguars are in a funk. They have lost six of their past nine, including a costly one to Calvary Christian last week that dropped Academy of the Holy Names to second place in the Class 4A, District 4 standings. The Jaguars did regroup to beat Berkeley Prep 5-0 to end a three-game losing streak.

On the bubble: Admiral Farragut (12-5), Canterbury (11-10), Durant (11-10), East Bay (12-11), Nature Coast (15-8), Calvary Christian (9-6), Northside Christian (15-8),

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