Monday, April 23, 2018

HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings

1. Palm Harbor University (21-2)

This week: Thursday vs. Clearwater; Friday vs. Boca Ciega (PCAC title game)

Scoop: The Hurricanes extended their win streak with wins over Dunedin (15-0) and Newsome (5-2). The win against Wolves kept PHU undefeated in Class 9A, District 8 play. Mia Buffano hit a three-run homer against the Falcons, and Jada Radecki had three hits and three stolen bases against Newsome. The Hurricanes will play in Friday's Pinellas County Athletic Conference championship game (opponent TBD).

2. Academy at the Lakes (16-1)

This week: Tuesday at Land O'Lakes; Thursday vs. Admiral Farragut

Scoop: The Class 2A, No. 1-ranked Wildcats, the last remaining undefeated in the bay area, had their perfect record end with a 10-4 loss to Canterbury. AATL still claimed the top seed in the 2A-5 district tournament. The Wildcats also had an impressive 4-0 victory over Springstead earlier in the week. On Tuesday, AATL's Alexis Kilfoyl (Alabama) faces Land O'Lakes' Callie Turner (Tennessee) in one of the top pitching matchups between a pair of Division I-A bound sophomore aces.

3. Plant City (15-2)

This week: Tuesday vs. Leto; Thursday at Newsome

Scoop: The Raiders finished last week with a 2-1 loss to Bartow that ended their 11-game win streak. Plant City managed to score just one run in each of its two losses this season. Earlier in the week, the Raiders beat East Bay 6-2 to finish undefeated in Class 8A, District 6 play, and shutout Robinson 3-0. Ashley Blessin is 15-2 with a 0.42 ERA and 152 strikeouts.

4. Chamberlain (19-3)

This week: Tuesday vs. Jefferson; Thursday at Steinbrenner

Scoop: An 8-7 loss to Gaither dropped the Chiefs into a tie with their rival for first place in Class 7A, District 8. The eight runs were the most Chamberlain has allowed all season. Despite the loss, the Chiefs own the tiebreaker based on run differential and can wrap up the No. 1 seed with a win against Jefferson on Tuesday. Chamberlain also has a solid matchup against Steinbrenner on Thursday to close out the regular season.

5. Steinbrenner (17-3)

This week: Thursday vs. Chamberlain

Scoop: Defense continues to be the team's strength. In the past four games, the Warriors have allowed just two runs. Steinbrenner has gone 3-1 during that stretch, the lone loss 1-0 to Bloomingdale two weeks ago. The team fielding percentage is .933.

6. Land O'Lakes (20-3)

This week: Tuesday vs. Academy at the Lakes; Thursday vs. Carrollwood Day

Scoop: In their only game last week, the Gators beat Ridgewood 10-0 in a game that was called after five innings because of the mercy rule. Marigrace Castoria and Jessie McCallister each had two hits and Brianna Lindner hit a home run. Callie Turner and Shelby Westbrook also combined on a no-hitter.

7. East Lake (16-3)

This week: Tuesday vs. Tarpon Springs

Scoop: A 5-3 loss to Seminole last was costly. Not only did it end the Eagles' 11-game win streak but it also dropped them out of first place in Class 8A, District 7. East Lake, now the No. 2 seed, will most likely have a tough matchup against Pinellas Park in the semifinals of next week's district tournament that will decide a playoff berth. Carolina Jacquay, a sophomore, leads the team in hitting with a .509 average.

8. Springstead (19-3)

This week: Wednesday vs. Nature Coast; Thursday vs. Central; Friday vs. Hernando

Scoop: The struggles on offense are starting to catch up to the Eagles. During a three-game stretch dating to April 4, Springstead managed a combined three runs and went 1-2, including a 4-0 loss to Academy at the Lakes last week. The offense came alive against Lecanto with Kayla Cruz, Paige Pfent and Kama Woodall each smacking homers. Abby Oliver was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs in a 3-1 win against Belleview.

9. Canterbury (18-6)

This week: Wednesday at Academy of the Holy Names; Thursday vs. Tampa Catholic

Scoop: The Crusaders exacted revenge with a 10-4 victory over Academy at the Lakes last week. Taylor Bump, a Michigan signee, was 2-for-3 with a homer, her ninth of the season. Canterbury's offense is putting up big numbers, averaging 12 runs per game during its current seven-game win streak.

10. Countryside (17-6)

This week: Idle

Scoop: For the second time this season, Jordan Lewis threw a shutout against Seminole, the latest a three-hitter with nine strikeouts in an 8-0 victory that locked up the No. 1 seed in Class 8A, District 7 for the Cougars. Alice Gannaway and Nicole Tikriti each had two hits against the Warhawks.

11. Robinson (19-4)

This week: Tuesday at Riverview; Thursday vs. Wharton

Scoop: The Knights were shut out for the first time this season in a 3-0 loss to Plant City that ended their eight-game win streak. Robinson continued its dominance in Class 6A, District 8, beating Blake 18-1 to finish unbeaten against district foes. Freshman Alex Kirkner leads the team in hitting with a .451 average.

12. Mitchell (18-5)

This week: Tuesday vs. River Ridge; Friday vs. Wesley Chapel

Scoop: An 11-1 win over Zephyrhills and a forfeit win over Anclote pushed the Mustangs' win streak to six games. Four times during this recent run Mitchell's offense has reached double digits in runs. Ashley Autuori, Alex Hare and Marina Rao each have 20 or more RBIs this season.

13. Wharton (12-5)

This week: Monday vs. Leto; Thursday at Robinson

Scoop: The Wildcats had a great week, beating Durant and Strawberry Crest by a combined 18-1. Ysabella Dominguez had two hits and three RBIs in each game. The junior has a team-leading 18 RBIs, 13 coming in the last seven games.

14. East Bay (14-8)

This week: Tuesday at Brandon; Thursday vs. Hillsborough

Scoop: Last week was a rough one for the Indians, who were outscored a combined 18-2 in losses to Plant City and Chamberlain The loss to the Raiders puts East Bay into a tie with Bloomingdale for second place in Class 8A, District 6. Rachel Kingery is the only player for the Indians who is hitting above .400.

15. Alonso (12-7)

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

Scoop: In their Class 9A, District 8 finale, the Ravens allowed seven runs in the first inning and couldn't catch up in a 9-8 loss to Sarasota Riverview. The loss does not hurt Alonso, which already had the No. 2 seed locked up. Erin Hale is hitting .424 with 18 RBIs. .

16. River Ridge (15-6)

This week: Monday at Hudson; Tuesday at Mitchell; Thursday vs. Sunlake

Scoop: The Royal Knights failed to get a hit in a 1-0 loss to Crystal River that ended their six-game win streak. It was the second time River Ridge was no-hit this season. Against the Pirates, Melanie Rogers recorded double-digits in strikeouts for the seventh time this season.

17. Sunlake (15-5)

This week: Tuesday vs. Ridgewood; Thursday at River Ridge

Scoop: The Seahawks lost 11-10 to Zephyrhills last week, halting their seven-game win streak. The 11 runs were by far the most Sunlake has given up all season. Thursday's regular season finale against River Ridge is a good test for the Seahawks before they start play the following week as the No. 2 seed in the Class 7A, District 10 tournament.

18. Bloomingdale (13-7)

This week: Tuesday vs. Newsome; Thursday at Freedom

Scoop: Alexys Lawson racked up a combined 24 strikeouts in wins against Riverview and Armwood and is now third in the state with 203 strikeouts. The Bulls finished play in Class 8A, District 6 with a 4-4 record and are tied with East Bay for second place.

19. Wesley Chapel (15-5)

This week: Tuesday vs. Gulf; Friday at Mitchell

Scoop: The good times continue for the Wildcats, who have won six straight after beating Tampa Catholic 6-5 five days ago. Freshman Anna Margetis had three hits and three RBIs against the Crusaders. Friday's game against Mitchell in the regular-season finale will help Wesley Chapel get ready for the district tournament.

20. Nature Coast (16-6)

This week: Tuesday vs. South Sumter; Wednesday at Springstead; Thursday vs. Weeki Wachee

Scoop: The Sharks went 2-1 last week, beating Gulf 4-1 in eight inning, Central 16-1 and losing to Crystal River 2-0. The Pirates, who also beat River Ridge and Springstead, have been a nemesis of North Suncoast teams. Chayse Skinner has at least one hit in all but four games and has a team-leading six home runs.

21. Academy of the Holy Names (11-7)

This week: Wednesday vs. Canterbury

Scoop: After taking last week off, the Jaguars return for their regular-season finale against Canterbury on Wednesday. Haley Morrell has been a force on offense, hitting a team-leading .549. She also is tied for third in the state in home runs with nine.

22. Freedom (14-9)

This week: Tuesday at Hillsborough; Thursday vs. Bloomingdale

Scoop: The Patriots forfeited a game to Newsome, then came back to beat Wiregrass Ranch 12-6 last week. The win against the Bulls assures Freedom of the No. 2 seed in the Class 8A, District 4 tournament.

23. Tampa Catholic (16-7)

This week: Tuesday vs. Wharton;

Scoop: Alli Adamy, Grace Burleigh and Maddie Epperson each had three hits as the Crusaders exacted revenge by beating Calvary Christian 11-5 to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Class 4A, District 4 tournament. Tampa Catholic followed that up with a 6-5 loss to Wesley Chapel.

24. Newsome (13-8)

This week: Tuesday at Bloomingdale; Thursday vs. Plant City

Scoop: The Wolves fell behind early in a 5-2 loss to Palm Harbor University to close out regular-season play in Class 9A, District 8. The outcome does not affect Newsome, which was already guaranteed the No. 3 seed. Jada Smallwood, a freshman, leads the team in RBIs (25), doubles (seven) and triples (five).

25. Gaither (13-8)

This week: Tuesday vs. Sickles; Thursday at Wharton

Scoop: The Cowboys had their biggest win of the season last week, beating rival Chamberlain 8-7. The two teams will claim the top two seeds in the Class 7A, District 8 tournament and should meet in the championship game for the second straight season.

On the bubble: Durant (12-9), Strawberry Crest (11-10), Sickles (12-11), Osceola (13-8), Pinellas Park (11-9), Boca Ciega (13-2), Dunedin (14-10), Calvary Christian (10-5), Seffner Christian (13-7), Hernando (15-8)

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays win on Carlos Gomezís walkoff home run

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays win on Carlos Gomezís walkoff home run

Carlos Gomez, who had been struggling, delivers a two-run, walkoff home run as the Rays sweep the Twins for the first time at Tropicana Field. Rick Stroud discusses the moment and the celebration that followed Gomez's first career walkoff hit in toda...
Updated: 1 hour ago
How Deon Cain went from lifelong quarterback to NFL-bound receiver

How Deon Cain went from lifelong quarterback to NFL-bound receiver

TAMPA — Ricky Sailor thought his colleague had lost his mind.Sailor's Unsigned Preps 7-on-7 team had one of the area's most promising young quarterbacks, Deon Cain. So why would one of his coaches, Carlos Blake, want to risk injury and burn bri...
Updated: 2 hours ago
District softball schedules for Tampa Bay

District softball schedules for Tampa Bay

Note: Some district schedules may be impacted by inclement weather.Class 9A-8 (higher seed hosts)Tuesday: No. 3 Alonso at No. 2 Palm Harbor University, 4; No. 4 Sarasota Riverview at No. 1 Newsome, 7Thursday: Final, 4 or 7 (depending on who hosts)Cla...
Updated: 3 minutes ago
Lightning has answer for Devils and David Puddy

Lightning has answer for Devils and David Puddy

You knew those who work the scoreboard for the Lightning games at Amalie Arena would have an answer Saturday during Game 5 to the Devils using David Puddy during Game 4 at the Prudential Center. Puddy meets Homer Simpson. Actually, Puddy met Terry ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Single-game tickets for the Lightning's Eastern Conference semifinal series go on sale to the general public at 1 p.m. Monday at Lightning plays the winner of the Bruins-Maple Leafs series. Game 6 of that series is Monda...
Updated: 5 hours ago
How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

TAMPA — The buzz surrounding this year's NFL draft is a class of talented quarterbacks deep enough to challenge the record six taken in the first round in 1983, a group that included future Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.Th...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

TAMPA — As usual, Andrei Vasilevskiy didn't speak in front of the cameras after the game. He has been like that since he hit the NHL. He still isn't comfortable with his English on TV.But Vasilevskiy spoke loudly and clearly in the first-round ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

ST. PETERSBURG — Good pitching and hitting go hand in glove, but the Rays did not look like a team that could swing the bats very well until this completed homestand.In their series sweep over the Twins, Tampa Bay scored 8, 10 and 8 runs. ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Jimmy Butler leads Timberwolves against team he loved

Jimmy Butler leads Timberwolves against team he loved

MINNEAPOLIS — All-Star forward Jimmy Butler comes across as the proudest former resident in the history of tiny Tomball, Texas. What he doesn't advertise in his Twitter biography, but also doesn't dispute, is that he grew up dreaming of becomin...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Rick Stroudís takeaways from Rays-Twins

Rick Stroudís takeaways from Rays-Twins

–Yonny Chirinos may be the Rays fourth starter, but it seems to be in name only. He was lifted after pitching 4 2/3 innings against the Twin on Sunday, the shortest start of his career and his second-shortest appearance.  "Going into the g...
Updated: 12 hours ago