Sunday, December 17, 2017
Sports

HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings

1. Chamberlain (8-0)

This week: Idle

Scoop: The Chiefs keep getting better. In their last five games, they outscored opponents by a combined 61-1. Last week, Chamberlain beat Gaither 10-0 to take over sole possession of first place in Class 7A, District 8. Gabby Vallee threw a no-hitter and had 13 strikeouts against the Cowboys.

2. Steinbrenner (8-0)

This week: Friday at Sarasota Spring Slam; Saturday at Sarasota Spring Slam

Scoop: The Warriors cruised last week, beating Plant and Hillsborough 26-3. The schedule gets much tougher this weekend at the Sarasota Spring Slam. Steinbrenner has at least four games, including a matchup against defending Division I AA Tennessee state champions Christian Academy of Knoxville on Friday and games against defending state semifinalist Braden River and region finalist North Fort Myers on Saturday.

3. River Ridge (7-0)

This week: Tuesday vs. Zephyrhills; Thursday vs. Land O'Lakes

Scoop: Freshman slugger Madisen Vozdecky hit home runs, including a grand slam, and had eight RBIs in a 15-4 win over Pasco to complete the regular-season sweep. Another win against rival Land O'Lakes on Thursday will all but wrap up the No. 1 seed in Class 6A, District 7.

4. Land O'Lakes (10-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Wesley Chapel; Thursday at River Ridge; Friday at Sarasota Spring Slam; Saturday at Sarasota Spring Slam

Scoop: March has been a grueling month for the Gators, who played seven games during a 10-day stretch, including four last week. Land O'Lakes survived, winning all seven. It doesn't get any easier this week with five games, including a rematch against rival River Ridge on Thursday, followed by games against Naples and Sarasota on Friday and one against Alonso on Saturday at the Sarasota Spring Slam.

5. Springstead (7-1)

This week: Friday-Saturday at Hernando's Leopard Slam Tournament

Scoop: The Eagles avenged their only loss of the season, beating Class 6A, District 6 rival Dunnellon 4-0. Paige Pfent and Kayla Cruz each had an RBI, and Kama Woodall threw a three-hit shutout with eight strikeouts. Springstead also beat East Ridge last week to extend its current win streak to six.

6. Nature Coast (9-0)

This week: Monday at Belleview; Wednesday at Weeki Wachee; Thursday at Fivay

Scoop: Chayse Skinner was 2-for-3 with two RBIs in the Sharks' 3-1 win over previously undefeated Belleview in what was the biggest test so far this season. Nature Coast's perfect start is due in large part to the pitching of Abbey Primavera and a defense that has allowed just seven runs all season.

7. Plant City (5-1)

This week: Idle

Scoop: With wins over Bloomingdale and East Bay last week, the Raiders now have a two-game lead for the top seed in the Class 8A, District 6 tournament. Edmilly Molina was 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs against the Indians. Ashley Blessin threw shutouts in both games last week and combined for 19 strikeouts.

8. Palm Harbor University (11-1)

This week: Idle

Scoop: The Hurricanes had another solid week, beating defending Class 8A state finalist Countryside and defending Class 9A state finalist Alonso. The win against the Ravens gives PHU a one-game lead over the other three teams in Class 9A, District 8. The Hurricanes have won six straight.

9. Academy at the Lakes (9-0)

This week: Monday vs. Seven Rivers Christian

Scoop: Last week's 4-1 win over Canterbury was historical, marking the first time the Wildcats had ever beaten the state powerhouse. It also vaulted AATL to the top of the rankings in the Class 2A state poll. The team is starting show off its power with Alexis Kilfoyl, Kendra Falby and Brooke Blankenship combining for seven home runs this season.

10. Strawberry Crest (7-2)

This week: Friday at Sarasota Spring Slam; Saturday at Sarasota Spring Slam

Scoop: The Chargers have won six straight after beating Leto 12-1 and Wiregrass Ranch 13-0 last week. Kacey Fultz threw a one-hit shutout against the Bulls. This weekend, Strawberry Crest will try to keep the momentum going at the Sarasota Spring Slam with games against Sarasota and Naples on Friday and Alonso and North Fort Myers on Saturday.

11. East Bay (8-2)

This week: Idle

Scoop: The Indians' perfect season ended last week with losses to Durant and Plant City. Both losses were to Class 8A, District 6 foes, which dropped East Bay into third place in the standings. The Indians have the week off for spring break.

12. Durant (5-3)

This week: Idle

Scoop: Since starting 2-3, the Cougars have won three straight, including a 3-2 victory over previously undefeated East Bay. Kelly Swank doubled, then scored on Lauren Estrada's squeeze bunt in the bottom of the seventh for the winning run against the Indians.

13. Sickles (8-4)

This week: Friday-Saturday at Hernando's Leopard Slam Tournament

Scoop: The Gryphons had their two-game win streak snapped with a 5-4 loss to Wharton that lasted eight innings. Ahead 4-2, Sickles gave up two runs in the sixth to tie the game and eventually send it to extra innings. On Friday, the Gryphons play Hernando and Zephyrhills on the first day of the Leopard Slam Tournament hosted by Hernando.

14. Canterbury (8-4)

This week: Monday at Aucilla Christian

Scoop: Last week's loss to Academy at the Lakes marked the first time the Crusaders lost a district game under coach Jody Moore. Canterbury bounced back with wins over St. Petersburg and defending Class 3A state champion Lakeland Christian. On Monday, the Crusaders travel to play two-time defending Class 2A state champion Aucilla Christian.

15. Countryside (6-3)

This week: Idle

Scoop: After losing to Palm Harbor University, the Cougars rebounded to beat Largo last week. Nicole Tikriti was 3-for-3 with five RBIs against the Packers. Countryside has the week off for spring break and will play in the Palm Harbor University tournament the following week.

16. East Lake (6-2)

This week: Idle

Scoop: The Eagles ended their two-game losing streak with wins against Pinellas Park, Dunedin and Seminole last week. Caroline Jacquay (.600 average) and Maddie Neuhaus (.560) are the top two hitters in East Lake's lineup.

17. Mitchell (9-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Sunlake; Thursday at Hudson; Friday vs. Fivay

Scoop: The offense was explosive last week, scoring 11 runs each in wins over Osceola and Northeast. The win over the Warriors moved Mitchell into sole possession of first place in Class 7A, District 10. Ashley Autuori was 3-for-4 with a double, a homer and three RBIs against Osceola.

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

This week: Idle

Scoop: After losing three of their past four, the Jaguars got back on track in a 16-3 win over Class 4A, District 4 rival Tampa Catholic. The offense has averaged 13 runs in the five wins.

19. Alonso (5-3)

This week: Friday at Sarasota Spring Slam; Saturday at Sarasota Spring Slam

Scoop: The Ravens have lost three of their past four, including a key Class 9A, District 8 game against Palm Harbor University last week. The slide is due in large part to an offense that has scored just two runs in four games. Alonso will try to turn it around against Braden River and DeSoto County on Friday, and against Strawberry Crest and Land O'Lakes on Saturday at the Sarasota Spring Slam.

20. Robinson (7-1)

This week: Idle

Scoop: Last week's win over Plant was the first time the Knights beat their south Tampa rival since 1984. Cassidy Renninger threw a one-hit shutout against the Panthers. The junior is 3-1 with a 0.45 ERA this season.

21. Gaither (6-2)

This week: Tuesday vs. King; Thursday at Chamberlain

Scoop: The Cowboys fell out of first place in Class 7A, District 8 after losing 10-0 to rival Chamberlain last week. It was the second time in the past three meetings Gaither was shut out against the Chiefs. The Cowboys are off this week.

22. Wharton (5-3)

This week: Idle

Scoop: It was a roller coaster week for the Wildcats, who rallied to beat Sickles, then let a three-run lead slip away in a loss to Freedom. The loss against the Patriots dropped Wharton out of first place in Class 8A, District 4.

23. Bloomingdale (6-4)

This week: Idle

Scoop: Last week was tough for the Bulls, who lost to Plant City (1-0) and Riverview (15-6). After starting 4-0, Bloomingdale has lost four of its past six. The Bulls have the week off to regroup before a grueling stretch.

24. Tampa Catholic (7-2)

This week: Thursday vs. Carrollwood Day

Scoop: The Crusaders' struggles against Holy Names continue. Last week, Tampa Catholic lost its sixth straight meeting against its fiercest rival, a streak that dates to the 2015 season. Tampa Catholic already picked up a forfeit win against Clearwater Central Catholic this week.

25. Osceola (6-2)

This week: Friday-Saturday Spring Break Tournament at Palmetto

Scoop: The Warriors lost to rival Mitchell to fall out of first place in Class 7A, District 10. Osceola plays Bradenton Manatee on Friday and Palmetto, Winter Haven and Naples Gulf Coast on Saturday in a spring break tournament in Manatee County.

On the bubble: Freedom (4-4), Pinellas Park (6-3), Boca Ciega (6-2), Dunedin (8-3), Sunlake (7-3), Calvary Christian (6-3).

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