Sunday, February 25, 2018

HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings

1. Chamberlain (8-0)

This week: Thursday at King; Friday-Saturday at PHU's Lady 'Canes Invitational

Scoop: The Chiefs are one of two remaining undefeated teams in the area and recently moved up to the top spot in the Class 7A state poll. To stay unbeaten, Chamberlain will have to get through a tough field at Palm Harbor University's tournament.

2. Academy at the Lakes (9-0)

This week: Tuesday vs. Hernando Christian

Scoop: The Wildcats are ranked No.1 in the Class 2A state poll. Alexis Kilfoyl is 8-0 with 0.35 ERA and 75 strikeouts on the season. AATL has had a light schedule with just two games in the past 11 days.

3. Steinbrenner (11-1)

This week: Tuesday at Alonso; Thursday at Sickles

Scoop: The Warriors went 3-1 at the Sarasota Spring Slam, the loss coming against Braden River, which dropped Steinbrenner from the unbeaten ranks. The offense was solid, averaging 11 runs per game during the tournament. Megan Pierro, a USF commit, was a combined 5-for-7 with two home runs and 11 RBIs against Braden River and North Fort Myers.

4. Springstead (11-1)

This week: Monday at Nature Coast; Friday at Lecanto

Scoop: The Eagles won Hernando's Leopard Slam tournament for the second straight season, beating rival Nature Coast 8-2 in the final to extend their win streak to 10. Kama Woodall won all four during the tournament. On Monday, Springstead meets the Sharks again.

5. Land O'Lakes (15-2)

This week: Idle

Scoop: Callie Turner was dominant against rival River Ridge last week. The sophomore ace threw a no-hitter and finished with 21 strikeouts in a 1-0 win. Turner, a Tennessee commit, leads in no-hitters (four) and strikeouts (142). She injured her back last week and only made one appearance in the Sarasota Spring Slam. The Gators are hoping the week off for spring break will give her time to recover.

6. Plant City (7-1)

This week: Tuesday at Durant; Thursday at Lennard

Scoop: After a week off, the Raiders return with a key Class 8A, District 6 game against rival Durant on Tuesday. Plant City has allowed just six runs all season. But the offense has not provided much support, scoring a combined 13 runs in the past five games. Edmilly Molina is hitting .571 with 13 RBIs. She is the only full-time starter who is hitting above .400.

7. Palm Harbor University (11-1)

This week: Wednesday at Newsome; Friday-Saturday at Lady 'Canes Invitational

Scoop: The Hurricanes have won six straight and are in position to clinch the top seed in Class 9A, District 8 and be the North representative in the Pinellas County Athletic Conference championship. This week, PHU has a big game against defending district champion Newsome before hosting it own tournament this weekend.

8. Nature Coast (12-1)

This week: Monday vs. Springstead

Scoop: The Sharks had their 12-game win streak snapped with an 8-2 loss to Springstead in the championship game of the Leopard Slam Tournament. The two runs Nature Coast scored was its lowest total of the season. The Sharks will try to avenge that loss in Monday's matchup.

9. Alonso (8-4)

This week: Tuesday vs. Steinbrenner; Thursday at Sarasota Riverview

Scoop: The Ravens snapped out of their funk with three straight victories to close out play at the Sarasota Spring Slam. The offense is a big reason for the turnaround. Alonso beat DeSoto County 11-1, Strawberry Crest 12-2 and Land O'Lakes 10-1. Erin Hale went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs against the Gators.

10. East Bay (8-2)

This week: Tuesday vs. Riverview; Thursday at Bloomingdale; Friday-Saturday at Daytona Beach tournament

Scoop: The week off gave the Indians time to regroup after losing two straight the previous week. On Tuesday, East Bay gets a rematch against rival Riverview. It is the second time Indians ace Haley Murphy faces her old team. This weekend, East Bay travels to Daytona Beach for its second tournament of the season.

11. Durant (5-3)

This week: Tuesday vs. Plant City; Thursday at Riverview; Friday-Saturday at PHU's Lady 'Canes Invitational

Scoop: This is an important week for the Cougars. After a week off, Durant returns to play Class 8A, District 6 foes Plant City and Riverview. The Cougars need to win those games in hopes of staying alive for one of the two seeds in the district tournament. This weekend, Durant plays in the always-tough PHU tourney.

12. Strawberry Crest (9-4)

This week: Tuesday vs. Sickles; Thursday vs. Wharton

Scoop: The Chargers had their eight-game win streak snapped with losses to Alonso (12-2) and North Fort Myers (1-0) to close out play at the Sarasota Spring Slam. Rachel Peak had a walk-off double in a 5-4 win over Sarasota earlier in the tournament. It's another tough week for Strawberry Crest with games against Sickles and Wharton.

13. River Ridge (9-4)

This week: Idle

Scoop: It was a rough week for the Royal Knights, who struck out 21 times in a loss to Class 6A, District 7 rival Land O'Lakes to end their perfect season. River Ridge then went 1-3 at Hernando's Leopard Slam tournament. Melanie Rogers, the team's ace, was out of town and did not pitch in the final three games of the tournament.

14. Canterbury (8-5)

This week: Saturday vs. Lecanto

Scoop: No team has played a tougher schedule than the Crusaders. Their five losses have all come against state-ranked teams, three of whom are ranked among the top two in their respective classification. Last week, Canterbury lost a 3-2 heartbreaker to two-time defending Class 2A state champion Aucilla Christian. Taylor Bump, a Michigan signee, is tied with two others for the state lead in homers with seven.

15. Countryside (6-3)

This week: Wednesday at Tarpon Springs; Friday-Saturday at PHU's Lady 'Canes Invitational

Scoop: The Cougars had a week off for spring break. That helped Countryside prepare for a busy schedule that includes the Lady Canes Invitational this weekend. Nicole Tikriti and Makenzie Griffin each have 10 RBIs so far this season.

16. East Lake (6-2)

This week: Wednesday vs. Largo; Friday-Saturday at PHU's Lady 'Canes Invitational

Scoop: The Eagles, who won three straight before having last week off, hope to continue their momentum at the Lady 'Canes Invitational. Freshman Kansas Crean (0.54 ERA) and Tori Brennan (2.19 ERA) have a formed a strong duo on the mound for East Lake.

17. Sickles (9-6)

This week: Tuesday at Strawberry Crest; Thursday vs. Steinbrenner

Scoop: The Gryphons.went 2-2 at the Sarasota Spring Slam, beating Zephyrhills (6-5) and River Ridge (10-0) and losing to Hernando (5-2) and Sunlake (3-2). Sickles has rematch with Steinbrenner this week that will decide the top two seeds in the Class 8A, District 5 tournament.

18. Academy of the Holy Names (5-3)

This week: Tuesday at Tampa Prep; Wednesday vs. Brooks DeBartolo; Friday-Saturday at PHU's Lady 'Canes Invitational

Scoop: Idle the past week, the Jaguars resume play with games against Class 4A, District 4 foes Tampa Prep and Brooks DeBartolo before playing in the Lady Canes Invitational. Haley Morrell (.600), Alexis Miniet (.522) and Chloe Boos (.522) are the top hitters for AHN.

19. Mitchell (11-2)

This week: Idle

Scoop: Last week's 5-4 loss to Sunlake was the Mustangs' first in Class 7A, District 10 competition. Alex Hare hit two home runs in the past three games. Ashley Autuori also hit a homer last week and now has four on the season.

20. Robinson (7-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Blake; Thursday vs. Jefferson; Friday-Saturday at PHU's Lady 'Canes Invitational

Scoop: The Knights are off to one of their best starts but the schedule has not exactly been grueling. That will change this weekend when Robinson plays in the Lady 'Canes Invitational and gets the competition it has coveted.

21. Gaither (6-2)

This week: Tuesday at Hillsborough; Thursday vs. Plant; Friday-Saturday at PHU's Lady 'Canes Invitational

Scoop: The Cowboys return from spring break with games against Hillsborough and Plant, which are a combined 4-11, before playing in the Lady 'Canes Invitational.

22. Wharton (5-3)

This week: Thursday at Strawberry Crest; Friday at Lennard

Scoop: Close games are the norm for the Wildcats, who have had four games decided by a run this season, including two that went eight innings. Hana Schwindler, a sophomore, is 2-2 with a 1.93 ERA.

23. Bloomingdale (6-4)

This week: Tuesday at Plant; Thursday vs. East Bay; Friday-Saturday at PHU's Lady 'Canes Invitational

Scoop: Alexys Lawson has been impressive this season. The junior is 4-3 with a 1.81 ERA and ranks among the state leaders in strikeouts with 88. The Bulls have a big game against East Bay on Thursday.

24. Tampa Catholic (8-2)

This week: Wednesday vs. Brooks DeBartolo; Friday-Saturday at PHU's Lady 'Canes Invitational

Scoop: Olivia Mendez, a freshman, threw a no-hitter and was one batter from a perfect game in a 10-0 victory over Carrollwood Day that lasted five innings because of the mercy rule. The biggest test for the Crusaders comes this weekend at the Lady 'Canes Invitational.

25. Sunlake (11-4)

This week: Idle

Scoop: The Seahawks have a flair for the dramatic. They held off a late rally in a 5-4 win over Mitchell and scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to beat Sickles 3-2 at the Sarasota Spring Slam.

On the bubble: Freedom (6-5), Osceola (7-5), Pinellas Park (6-3), Boca Ciega (6-2), Wesley Chapel (8-4), Dunedin (9-6), Calvary Christian (6-3), Hernando (8-6).

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