With so many power pitchers departing, this shaped up to be a topsy-turvy season with teams piling on runs in slug fests. The offensive onslaught also gives teams plenty of chances to pull off upsets. Just look at last week. The top three teams in last week’s rankings — Newsome, River Ridge and Sunlake — all lost. That meant there would be plenty of movement, as well as a new No. 1.
1. Alonso (6-0)
Up next: Tuesday vs. Wharton
Last week: No. 4
Why they moved up: In their lone game last week, the Ravens outlasted Palm Harbor University in a 16-12 slug fest to remain one of just a handful of unbeaten teams left in the area. Samantha Chaplow and Ashling Sturgis each had four hits, and Ah-Nayia Oglesby had a double, a homer and drove in four runs. On the mound, Paige Lassiter is 5-0 this season. By staying undefeated, Alonso put itself in position to vault to the top, especially after the teams ranked Nos. 1-3 all lost last week. The schedule remains light with the Ravens facing Wharton in their lone game of the week Tuesday.
2. Durant (5-0)
Up next: Tuesday at Freedom, Thursday at Brandon
Last week: No. 7
Why they moved up: Granted, the schedule has not exactly been challenging with the last three games coming against teams that are a combined 6-14. But the Cougars have been dominant so far and remained perfect by beating Strawberry Crest 7-0 and Bloomingdale 3-0 last week. Durant has recorded three straight shutouts and has given up just three runs all season. The string of zeroes on the scoreboard is due in large part to ace Kayla Swinson, who has a 0.66 ERA and 41 strikeouts on the season.
3. Newsome (5-1)
Up next: Tuesday vs. Plant, Thursday at Gaither
Last week: No. 1
Why they moved down: The Wolves fell from the unbeaten ranks with a 5-3 loss to Robinson. Newsome won its other two games last week, outscoring Plant City and Lennard by a combined 29-1. Kelsey Winters went 3-for-3 and threw a no-hitter with eight strikeouts against the Raiders. Winters and Katy Bradbourne each had three hits and McKayla Timmons had five RBIs against the Longhorns.
4. Sunlake (6-1)
Up next: Tuesday at Land O’ Lakes, Thursday at Mitchell
Last week: No. 3
Why they moved down: After winning the Lady ’Canes Spring Classic two weeks ago, the Seahawks stumbled with their first loss of the season to rival Cypress Creek. Kendra Falby went 4-for-4 against the Coyotes and is hitting .643 this season. Sunlake will try to bounce back this week with two games, the biggest coming Thursday against Mitchell.
5. Robinson (8-2)
Up next: Tuesday vs. Sickles, Thursday vs. Freedom
Last week: No. 8
Why they moved up: The Knights have been playing as well as any team in the area. Two weeks after finishing second at the Lady ‘Canes Spring Classic, Robinson took down top-ranked Newsome with a 5-3 victory. Lindsey Chadwick, Destiny DeHoyos and Julia Garcia each had two hits, and Alex Kirkner drove in two runs. The Knights already are in solid position to take the top seed in the Class 4A, District 11 tournament. After all, Robinson is the only team in the district that currently has a winning record.
6. Academy of the Holy Names (5-1)
Up next: Wednesday at Canterbury, Friday vs. Lakeland McKeel Academy, Saturday vs. Archbishop Wood (Pa.)
Last week: No. 6
Why they stayed put: With most of their players attending yearly mission trips, the Jaguars decided to take last week off. They resume play with three tough matchups, starting with Tuesday’s game against Canterbury that features a pair of programs ranked in the top 10. Bella Sardja has been stellar on the mound with a 4-1 record and 1.12 ERA.
7. River Ridge (6-1)
Up next: Tuesday at Gulf
Last week: No. 2
Why they moved down: Though they started the week undefeated, the Royal Knights had been living dangerously. They needed a grand slam in extra innings to beat Wesley Chapel and had to rally from a 6-3 deficit to get past winless Pasco. Those close calls caught up to River Ridge against Wiregrass Ranch. Ahead 6-2, the Royal Knights gave up a combined seven runs in the final two innings to lose 9-8. The offense, which is averaging nearly 10 runs per game, will keep River Ridge in every game. Jordan Sheets is hitting .545 and Madisen Vozdecky and Sophie Johnson each have 13 RBIs this season.
8. Canterbury (9-3)
Up next: Wednesday vs. Academy of the Holy Names
Last week: No. 5
Why they moved down: The Crusaders had their five-game win streak snapped with a 3-0 loss to Kissimmee Osceola, alma mater of coach Jody Moore. In the two previous games, Canterbury beat Calvary Christian 8-3 and Tampa Catholic 3-2. Morgen Talley was 3-for-4 against the Warriors, and Mackenzie Bergstrom gave up four hits and struck out five in five innings of work against the Crusaders.
9. Steinbrenner (9-2)
Up next: Tuesday at Palm Harbor University, Thursday at Chamberlain
Last week: No. 10
Why they moved up: The Warriors continued their momentum from the Lady ‘Canes Spring Classic by beating Plant 6-2 and Chamberlain 12-0 last week. Paige Bergen and Emily Chiarella each had three hits against the Panthers. The offense is averaging nearly seven runs per game.
10. Mitchell (5-1)
Up next: Tuesday vs. Pasco, Thursday vs. Sunlake
Last week: Unranked
Why they moved in: After getting crushed by Cypress Creek the second game of the season, the Mustangs have reeled off four straight wins, the biggest coming last week against Wesley Chapel. Madison Antioco and Vanessa Neptune each had three hits, and Alexis Barber drove in two runs in the 7-4 victory over the Wildcats. The biggest game this week is against Class 6A, District 10 rival Sunlake on Thursday.
11. East Lake (7-3)
Up next: Tuesday at Dunedin, Wednesday vs. Countryside, Friday vs. Bartow
Last week: No. 13
Why they moved up: After going 1-3 at the Lady ‘Canes Invitational, the Eagles bounced back in a big way last week. For the second straight season, East Lake won the Montverde Academy Invitational. This time, the Eagles took the title by beating Jacksonville Trinity Christian Academy 4-3, Winter Garden West Orange 5-4 and Montverde 6-2. Cassidy Patterson went a combined 5-for-9 at the tournament and now hitting .586 for the season.
12. Cypress Creek (5-2)
Up next: Tuesday at Land O’ Lakes
Last week: No. 12
Why they stayed put: The Coyotes are tough to figure out. They have beaten Mitchell and Sunlake this season, but Cypress Creek also lost 22-3 to Berkeley Prep, the same team the Coyotes beat by 12 runs in the nightcap of a doubleheader.
13. Nature Coast (6-0)
Up next: Monday vs. Wiregrass Ranch, Tuesday at Central, Thursday at Citrus
Last week: Unranked
Why they moved in: The Sharks might be the most underrated team in the area. They have outscored opponents 69-9 during their perfect start and already have wins against rival Hernando (8-2) and Springstead (8-1). Tori Ratigan is hitting .614 and Lexi Lendo has 12 RBIs this season.
14. Admiral Farragut (4-4)
Up next: Wednesday at Tampa Catholic
Last week: No. 11
Why they moved down: The two-time defending state champions are hanging on to a spot in the rankings — barely. The Blue Jackets have lost three of their past four, including an 11-2 loss to River Ridge last week. Lexi Hernandez leads the team in hitting with a .583 average.
15. Dunedin (9-0)
Up next: Tuesday vs. East Lake, Thursday vs. Archbishop Wood (Pa.)
Last week: Unranked
Why they moved in: The Falcons are off to their best start in years. During its perfect start, Dunedin has dominated opponents, winning eight games by eight or more runs. But the Falcons have hardly been tested. Only one opponent so far had a record of .500 or better. That changes this week with a matchup against East Lake. To keep the streak going, Dunedin needs its offense to keep producing. Alissa Mankiewich leads the way with a .667 average.
On the bubble: Jefferson (6-2), Calvary Christian (3-4), Berkeley Prep (4-3), Freedom (3-3), Gaither (4-1), Land O’ Lakes (4-5), Hernando (5-2), Seffner Christian (7-2).