HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings

Academy at the Lakes Brooke Blankenship (4) contacts the ball during the game at Canterbury School of Florida in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
Academy at the Lakes Brooke Blankenship (4) contacts the ball during the game at Canterbury School of Florida in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, March 7, 2017.CHARLIE KAIJO | Times
Published March 27 2017

1. Academy at the Lakes (10-0)

This week: Tuesday at Bishop McLaughlin; Wednesday vs. Buffalo Grove (at Madeira Beach Softball Complex)

Scoop: The Wildcats, ranked No. 1 in the Class 2A state poll, are the only undefeated team left in the bay area. In its only game last week, AATL routed Hernando Christian 16-1. Alexis Kilfoyl threw a no-hitter and struck out eight in a game that was called after three innings because of the mercy rule. Kendra Falby, an eighth-grader, leads the team in hitting with a .613 average.

2. Steinbrenner (13-1)

This week: Monday at Plant; Tuesday at Newsome; Saturday at Jefferson

Scoop: It was a good week for the Warriors, who pounded Alonso 10-1 and beat Class 8A, District 5 rival Sickles 1-0 in eight innings to clinch the top seed in the district tournament. Emalee Jansen continues to be effective on the mound and has a 0.74 ERA this season.

3. Chamberlain (13-1)

This week: Tuesday at Plant

Scoop: After winning their first 13 games to start the season, the Chiefs lost for the first time to East Lake in the championship game of the PHU's Lady 'Canes Invitational. The offense struggled this past weekend, scoring a combined 14 runs in four games.

4. Springstead (14-1)

This week: Tuesday at Citrus; Friday vs. Weeki Wachee

Scoop: The Eagles beat rival Nature Coast twice in a three-day span. The first came in the final of Hernando's Leopard Slam Tournament. The other was in the only scheduled regular-season matchup between the teams. Springstead has relied on the pitching of Kama Woodall and an air-tight defense. The team has recorded nine shutouts and has allowed just nine runs all season.

5. Land O'Lakes (15-2)

This week: Tuesday at Pasco; Thursday vs. Zephyrhills

Scoop: The Gators received a scare two weeks ago when ace Callie Turner injured her back. The sophomore was held out of most of the Sarasota Spring Slam Tournament and had last week off to recover while the team was on spring break. She is now healed and ready for the stretch run.

6. Plant City (8-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. Riverview; Thursday vs. King

Scoop: In their only game last week, the Raiders completed the season sweep of Durant. Edmilly Molina was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs to lead Plant City on offense. The Raiders now have a three-game lead on the rest of the field in the Class 8A, District 6 standings.

7. East Lake (11-2)

This week: Tuesday vs. St. Petersburg; Thursday at Tarpon Springs

Scoop: No team had a better week than the Eagles, who went 5-0 and won PHU's Lady 'Canes Invitational. In the championship game, East Lake beat previously undefeated Chamberlain 7-1. Freshman pitcher Tori Brennan was backed by a defense that allowed just one run in four games during the tournament.

8. Palm Harbor University (15-2)

This week: Thursday vs. Sarasota Riverview; Friday at Seminole

Scoop: The Hurricanes had their nine-game win streak snapped with a 2-1 loss to Chamberlain in the semifinals of their own tournament. Overall, Palm Harbor University went 3-1. The Hurricanes also beat Newsome 8-2 in nine innings to remain undefeated in Class 9A, District 8.

9. Nature Coast (12-2)

This week: Tuesday at Ridgewood; Wednesday at Canterbury; Friday vs. Hernando

Scoop: After starting 12-0, the Sharks have lost twice to rival Springstead. Nature Coast, which was averaging nine runs per game during its perfect start to the season, scored a combined three in both losses to the Eagles. Friday's game against Class 5A, District 7 rival Hernando is a tough one. The Sharks won the first meeting 9-4 in nine innings.

10. Canterbury (9-5)

This week: Wednesday vs. Nature Coast

Scoop: The Crusaders beat Lecanto in their only game last week. Taylor Bump continued her hot streak at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored. Wednesday's game against Nature Coast is a good test against a team in a higher classification.

11. River Ridge (9-4)

This week: Tuesday at Wesley Chapel; Thursday vs. Anclote

Scoop: The Royal Knights resume play after having last week off for spring break. The rest was needed after River Ridge went 1-4 the week before. The Royal Knights are tied with Land O'Lakes at the top of the Class 6A, District 7 standings. That makes Monday's game against Wesley Chapel a big one.

12. Alonso (9-5)

This week: Tuesday at Wharton; Thursday vs. Newsome

Scoop: Streaky week for the Ravens, who lost 10-1 to Steinbrenner before rebounding to beat Sarasota Riverview 7-1. Andrea Kopp and Erin Hale each had two hits and two RBIs against the Rams. Jodi Handler allowed four hits and had nine strikeouts. The biggest game this week is against Class 9A, District 8 rival Newsome.

13. East Bay (11-6)

This week: Tuesday vs. Strawberry Crest; Friday at Armwood

Scoop: The Indians lost to Bloomingdale, then went 1-3 at the Bof the Beach tournament in Port Orange. East Bay's lone win at the Battle of the Beach came against Space Coast in the opening round.

14. Durant (8-6)

This week: Tuesday vs. Bloomingdale; Thursday at Brandon; Friday vs. Tampa Bay Tech

Scoop: The Cougars went 3-3 on the week, including a split of its four games at PHU's Lady 'Canes Tournament. A win Tuesday against Bloomingdale would keep Durant in second place in the Class 8A, District 6 standings.

15. Wharton (7-3)

This week: Tuesday vs. Alonso; Thursday vs. Wiregrass Ranch; Saturday vs. Blake

Scoop: Everything is starting to come together for the Wildcats, especially on offense. Last week, Wharton reached double digits in runs in wins over Strawberry Crest (10-2) and Lennard (12-0). The win over the Chargers vaults the Wildcats into first place in Class 8A, District 4.

16. Strawberry Crest (10-5)

This week: Tuesday at East Bay; Thursday at Freedom

Scoop: Last week's 10-2 loss to Wharton dropped the Chargers out of first place in the Class 8A, District standings. With losses in three of the last four games, Strawberry Crest has to find a way to snap out of its funk, especially with a big district game against Freedom on Thursday.

17. Countryside (9-5)

This week: Tuesday vs. Seminole; Thursday at Pinellas Park

Scoop: The Cougars split their two games at the Lady 'Canes Invitational, beating Bloomingdale and Holy Names and losing to Chamberlain and Newsome. The offense struggled early, scoring a combined one run against Bulls and Jaguars before rebounding in the last two games.

18. Sickles (10-8)

This week: Tuesday at Freedom; Thursday at Plant

Scoop: The Gryphons continued their recent skid with losses to Strawberry Crest and Steinbrenner last week. The offense has struggled, scoring a combined three runs in the last three games. A win Thursday against Plant would wrap up the No. 2 seed in the Class 8A, District 5 tournament.

19. Tampa Catholic (12-4)

This week: Thursday vs. Bradenton Bayshore; Friday vs. Academy of the Holy Names

Scoop: The Crusaders went 2-2 at the Lady 'Canes Invitational, the biggest win coming against nemesis Holy Names in the consolation bracket finale. All four games in the tournament were decided by a combined five runs. Tampa Catholic plays the Jaguars for the third time this season on Friday.

20. Sunlake (11-4)

This week: Tuesday vs. Northeast; Thursday vs. Osceola

Scoop: The Seahawks had the week off for spring break. They resume play with two games against Class 6A, District 7 foes, the biggest coming Thursday against Osceola. Sunlake lost 2-1 to the Warriors earlier this season.

21. Academy of the Holy Names (8-6)

This week: Friday at Tampa Catholic

Scoop: The Jaguars struggled at the Lady 'Canes Invitational, going 1-3. The lone win came against Freedom in the opening round of the tournament. AHN will try to bounce back against Tampa Catholic on Friday in a key Class 4A, District 4 game.

22. Mitchell (12-5)

This week: Tuesday vs. Clearwater; Thursday vs. Dixie Hollins

Scoop: Last week was a rough one for the Mustangs, who went 1-3 at the Lady 'Canes Invitational. This week starts a run of four straight games in Class 7A District 10, the last coming against Osceola next week that will help decide the No. 1 seed.

23. Robinson (9-3)

This week: Tuesday vs. Spoto; Thursday at Middleton

Scoop: The Knights finally got the competition they wanted at the Lady 'Canes Invitational. They split their four games at the tournament, beating Pinellas Park and Mitchell and losing to Tampa Catholic and Freedom. The two losses were by a combined three runs.

24. Bloomingdale (10-6)

This week: Tuesday at Durant; Wednesday vs. Gaither

Scoop: The Bulls started the week with a 5-3 win over East Bay then went 2-2 at the Lady 'Canes Invitational. Alexys Lawson has kept Bloomingdale in games. The junior ace currently is seventh in the state in strikeouts with 127.

25. Freedom (10-7)

This week: Monday at Wiregrass Ranch; Tuesday vs. Sickles; Thursday vs. Strawberry Crest

Scoop: The Patriots finished strong at the Lady 'Canes Invitational, beating Plant, Tarpon Springs and Robinson. Thursday's game against Strawberry Crest could help Freedom vault into first place in Class 8A, District 4.

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