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High school softball rankings for Tampa Bay

Newsome and River Ridge remain in the top two spots while Sunlake makes a move.
Jadeyn Ruszkowski, center, and Newsome have had plenty to be happy about so far this season.
Jadeyn Ruszkowski, center, and Newsome have had plenty to be happy about so far this season. [ SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times ]
Published Mar. 2, 2020

Two weeks into the season and there are just a handful of teams still undefeated. That was to be expected with Palm Harbor University’s annual Lady ’Canes Spring Classic held earlier than usual and many other teams front-loading their schedule. Sunlake won the PHU tournament to remain undefeated and moves into the top three of the rankings.

1. Newsome (3-0)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Plant City, Thursday at Lennard, Saturday at Robinson

Last week: No. 1

Why they stayed put: In their only game last week, the Wolves routed Riverview 11-1. Jadeyn Ruszkowski went 3-for-3 and Katie Bradbourne, Madison Hudson and Jada Smallwood each had two hits. Kaitlyn Felton threw a five-hitter, allowing one run while striking out eight. Newsome has been dominant so far, outscoring opponents by a combined 24-3 in the first three games. The toughest game this week comes Saturday against Robinson.

2. River Ridge (4-0)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Admiral Farragut, Wednesday vs. Land O’ Lakes, Thursday vs. Wiregrass Ranch

Last week: No. 2

Why they stayed put: The Royal Knights beat Pasco and Fivay last week to remain unbeaten. Against the Pirates, River Ridge rallied from a 6-0 deficit and scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh to win 8-7. Sophie Johnson, a freshman, continued to show her power at the plate by hitting her second home run in as many games. The offense has scored seven or more runs in all four games. Jordan Sheets leads the team in hitting with a .545 average.

3. Sunlake (6-0)

Up next: Thursday vs. Cypress Creek

Last week: No. 6

Why they moved up: First-year Seahawks coach Phil Bell wanted to schedule as many tough games as possible. That’s why he entered three tournaments, including the Lady ‘Canes Spring Classic. Bell said the record might not be as stellar as last season’s, but the games will help Sunlake boost its ranking as well as prepare for another postseason run. So far, the Seahawks are perfect. They won the Palm Harbor University tournament, beating Strawberry Crest 11-0, Sarasota 7-6, Bartow 7-2 and Robinson 4-1 in the title game. Bella Sanchez had the winning hit against Sarasota, Daisy McQuain hit her first home run of the season against Bartow, and Kendra Falby snagged everything hit her way in the outfield.

Related: North Suncoast softball landscape looks a bit different this year

4. Alonso (5-0)

Up next: Tuesday at Palm Harbor University

Last week: No. 15

Why they moved up: Though the Ravens were hit hard by graduation, they still have managed to remain undefeated. Last week, they were impressive, beating Steinbrenner 8-2, Plant 7-4 and Chamberlain 5-0. Against the Chiefs, Annissa Quinonez threw a two-hit shutout and struck out seven. The top performer at the plate so far has been Alisha Lanyon, who is hitting .667 with nine RBIs in the four games she has played.

5. Canterbury (7-2)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Calvary Christian, Wednesday at Tampa Catholic

Last week: No. 7

Why they moved up: The Crusaders went 3-1 at the Lady ‘Canes Spring Classic, beating Strawberry Crest, Braden River and Calvary Christian, and losing to Bartow. But the biggest win came earlier in the week when Canterbury beat two-time defending Class 3A state champion Admiral Farragut 2-1 to gain an edge in the Class 2A, District 10 standings. The Crusaders have yet to lose to an area team and the two losses were to state powerhouses.

6. Academy of the Holy Names (5-1)

Up next: Idle

Last week: No. 7

Why they moved up: The Jaguars went 3-1 at the Lady ‘Canes Spring Classic, beating Braden River, Sarasota and Admiral Farragut, and losing to Bartow. Against the Blue Jackets, Keala Hollenkamp threw a five-hitter, allowing one run while striking out eight. Audrey Barnes, Chase Cordoves, Hollenkamp and Bella Sardja all had multiple hits. Sardja threw a three-hitter against the Sailors and had a solid game at the plate.

7. Durant (3-0)

Up next: Tuesday at Strawberry Crest, Thursday vs. Bloomingdale

Last week: No. 14

Why they moved up: In their lone game last week, the Cougars beat rival Plant City 16-0 in a game that was called after four innings because of the mercy rule. Shelby Allen went 4-for-4 and Emily Smith went 3-for-3 with two home runs and five RBIs. Peyton Haxton hit a pair of solo homers and Kelly Swank had six RBIs. The offensive fireworks were more than enough for ace Kayla Swinson, who threw a two-hit shutout with six strikeouts.

8. Robinson (6-2)

Up next: Tuesday at Chamberlain, Saturday vs. Newsome

Last week: Unranked

Why they moved in: The Knights, who made the region final last season, got on track by advancing to the final of the Lady ‘Canes Spring Classic. Robinson went 3-1 at the tournament with wins against Lake Mary, Admiral Farragut and Steinbrenner and the lone loss coming against Sunlake in the final. The Knights were launching softballs to the warning track or over the fence throughout the tournament. Julia Garcia was 3-for-3 with a triple against Lake Mary. Jordan Stephens smacked a three-run homer against Admiral Farragut. And Destiny DeHoyos, a transfer from Jefferson, had two homers and five RBIs against Steinbrenner.

9. Wesley Chapel (2-1)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Pasco, Thursday vs. Mitchell, Friday at Land O’ Lakes

Last week: No. 12

Why they moved up: After losing the season opener to River Ridge in extra innings, the Wildcats rebounded with solid wins against Cypress Creek and Tampa Catholic. Allison Fraley was 2-for-3 with a homer and two RBIs in the victory over the Coyotes. Jordan Almasy, a UCF signee, threw a no-hitter with six strikeouts and was walk away from a perfect game against the Crusaders.

10. Steinbrenner (6-3)

Up next: Thursday vs. Plant, Saturday vs. Chamberlain

Last week: No. 3

Why they moved down: After starting 2-0, the Warriors went 4-3 in a taxing week. The offense produced, scoring at least four runs in six of those games. But the pitching staff wore down, especially toward the end of the Lady ‘Canes Spring Invitational. In the last three games of the tournament, Steinbrenner gave up a combined 22 runs.

11. Admiral Farragut (4-3)

So far this season, Admiral Farragut's Krystina Hartley still swings a mean bat.
So far this season, Admiral Farragut's Krystina Hartley still swings a mean bat. [ SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times ]

Up next: Tuesday at River Ridge

Last week: No. 8

Why they moved down: The Blue Jackets had a rough week. After starting 2-0 the opening week of the season, Admiral Farragut went 2-3, which included splitting four games at the Lady ‘Canes Spring Classic. The toughest loss came against Canterbury in a key Class 2A, District 10 contest. But the Blue Jackets did rebound to beat defending Lady ‘Canes champion East Lake 4-3 in the opening round of the tournament. Krystina Hartley, Lexi Hernandez and Alyssa Rano each had two hits against the Eagles.

12. Cypress Creek (2-1)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Wiregrass Ranch, Wednesday vs. Berkeley Prep, Thursday at Sunlake

Last week: No. 10

Why they moved down: In their lone game last week, the Coyotes lost to rival Wesley Chapel to fall from the unbeaten ranks. Anna Margetis went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Emma Coon was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Though Haley Vasquez had her first loss of the season, the Cypress Creek ace did finish with 11 strikeouts.

13. East Lake (3-3)

Up next: Tuesday vs. Largo, Friday vs. Jacksonville Trinity Christian, Saturday at Montverde

Last week: No. 4

Why they moved down: The Eagles went 1-3 at the Lady ‘Canes Spring Classic, the lone win coming against Osceola in the tournament finale. The biggest thing East Lake has to work on is prevailing in close games. The three wins have all been by 10 or more runs. The three losses were by a combined four runs, including one to Braden River in eight innings.

14. Freedom (2-2)

Freedom's Lilly Kiester, right, greets Ellis Erickson, left, at home plate during a victory over Durant last season.
Freedom's Lilly Kiester, right, greets Ellis Erickson, left, at home plate during a victory over Durant last season. [ SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times ]

Up next: Tuesday vs. Lake Minneola, Thursday at Lake Minneola

Last week: No. 13

Why they moved down: So far, it’s been an up-and-down season for the Patriots. They split their two games last week, beating Chamberlain 9-5 and losing 1-0 to Auburndale. Freedom showed some offensive balance against the Chiefs with Kylie Coffin, Ellis Erickson, Lilly Kiester, Hailey Martin and Chloe Potts all recording two hits. Despite the loss, Coffin pitched a solid game against Auburndale, allowing five hits while striking out eight.

15. Calvary Christian (3-3)

Up next: Tuesday at Canterbury

Last week: No. 11

Why they moved down: The Warriors had mixed results at the Lady ‘Canes Spring Classic. They went 2-2, beating Lake Mary and Osceola and losing to Land O’ Lakes and Canterbury. Two of Calvary Christian’s three losses have been by a run. Leah Jarnac, who committed to Duke this past weekend, is having a solid season at the plate with a .500 average and two home runs.

On the bubble: Dunedin (6-0), Seffner Christian (6-0), Nature Coast (3-0), Jefferson (4-1), Gaither (3-1), Chamberlain (1-1).