1. Jesuit (7-0)
This week: Tuesday vs. Hillsborough, Thursday at Countryside, Saturday vs. Jefferson (Saladino)
The scoop: Three games last week and three fairly easy wins. One of the victories was over district rival Jefferson. The teams will play again on Saturday to start the Saladino Tournament. The Tigers are not regulars in the Saladino but did win it in 2017. They will be favored to do so again. Jesuit is ranked third nationally by MaxPreps.
2. Mitchell (6-0)
This week: Wednesday at Fivay, Friday vs. Clearwater Central Catholic
The scoop: One game last week, but it was a good one. The Mustangs beat new district rival East Lake 3-1 thanks to solid pitching and some fortunate plays. Left-hander Mason Miller is a top-notch starter. Jackson Miller can hit the ball all over the place and the Mustangs play good defense. They are ranked seventh nationally in the latest MaxPreps poll.
3. Berkeley Prep (8-0)
This week: Tuesday at Tampa Prep, Thursday at Brooks DeBartolo, Friday vs. Norfolk (Va.) Christian
The scoop: The Bucs looked doomed against Calvary Christian on Thursday night. Down a run in the seventh, Alex Haire hit a walk-off home run to left to keep his team undefeated. Ian Brown and Will Parkinson both pitched well in that game and have done so all season. The Bucs made it into the MaxPreps national rankings this week at No. 23.
4. Wharton (6-1)
This week: Tuesday at Steinbrenner, Thursday vs. Jefferson, Saturday vs. Leto (Saladino)
The scoop: The lone loss came in extra innings last week against Riverview. Now comes a busy stretch that will test a good pitching staff. The Wildcats have been especially good at the plate. Senior Grady Maguire is hitting .562 and has three doubles. Junior Dylan McDonald has done even better so far with a .565 average and five doubles.
5. Plant City (6-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. Durant, Saturday vs. Gaither (Saladino)
The scoop: The week started with a 2-1 win over Bloomingdale on Monday. Senior Jarod Wingo threw six innings and struck out seven. He’s been the ace so far. The Raiders’ only loss was to Bloomingdale earlier in the season. They have now won five straight.
6. Calvary Christian (6-2)
This week: Tuesday vs. Bishop McLaughlin, Thursday vs. Venice, Friday at River Ridge
The scoop: The Warriors’ difficult schedule continues this week. They already traveled to Venice and picked up their first loss of the season. The second came last week on a walk-off home run against Berkeley Prep. Calvary still has good pitching and offense and should get better as the season moves on.
7. East Lake (5-2)
This week: Wednesday at Wiregrass Ranch, Thursday at Northeast, Friday vs. Wiregrass Ranch
The scoop: The Eagles are a bit banged up right now. Starting pitcher Ryan Slater is relegated to designated hitter duties while he rehabs an arm injury. Fellow starter Cooper Nelson is out for a few weeks. Lucas Ismaili, one of their top hitters, is also out for a few weeks. But pitchers Nate Culver, Jaron Richman and Tanner Goswick have pitched well. Junior Avery Von Thaden pitched his first three innings this season against Mitchell and did not allow a run.
8. Land O’ Lakes (7-0)
This week: Tuesday at Pasco, Wednesday at Nature Coast
The scoop: The Gators are off to a fast start thanks to dominant pitching and a consistent offense. Junior Brian Holliday and senior Patrick Groark have been a good 1-2 punch on the mound. Seniors Garrett Weaver and Dakota Harris have hit the ball well so far. Pasco is also undefeated, so that will be a challenge. Nature Coast is also playing well.
9. Osceola (7-1)
This week: Tuesday vs. St. Petersburg, Thursday vs. Tarpon Springs, Friday vs. Lakewood
The scoop: The Warriors defeated rival Seminole to make their week. Now comes three straight home games before spring break. Aaron Deegan has played well at the plate (.400, 11 RBIs, four doubles) and on the mound (2-1, 0.54 ERA). Corey Braun is also a dual threat with a .333 average and a 1.40 ERA in 20 innings.
10. Northeast (5-2)
This week: Thursday vs. East Lake, Friday at St. Petersburg
The scoop: The Vikings have two losses, to Mitchell and East Lake. They will have to deal with the Eagles again Thursday, but the first time around was only a two-run loss. As is the case every year, Northeast is competitive because they can pitch, play defense and hit just enough. The Vikings hit .333 as a team and have a deep pitching staff.
11. Pasco (7-0)
This week: Tuesday vs. Land O’Lakes, Thursday vs. Cypress Creek
The scoop: The Pirates have outscored opponents 62-16 so far. The offense will run into a good pitching staff in the Land O’Lakes game. Sophomore Cory Filley and senior Austin Fiorelli are both hitting near .400. Senior pitcher Bryson Mistretta is 3-0 with a 1.65 ERA in 17 innings pitched.
12. Leto (5-2)
This week: Tuesday at Armwood, Thursday at Alonso, Saturday vs. Wharton (Saladino)
The scoop: One loss was in extra innings to a much improved Middleton. The other was by two runs against defending state champ Plant City. The Falcons are going to compete in every game. Mikey Camacho is off to a scorching start. He is hitting .458 with five doubles and two home runs. Leto has a .379 team batting average. Pitching is going to be the key. Freshman Bryan Rivera leads the team with 17 innings pitched.
13. Seminole (6-2)
This week: Wednesday at Dixie Hollins, Friday vs. Clearwater
The scoop: The Warhawks bounced back from a loss to Osceola by beating Countryside. They have been hitting well so far, which is a good sign. Seminole tends to get better as the weather warms up. Senior Victor Clanzy is hitting .421 Junior Tyler Strickland leads the team with six doubles.
14. Dunedin (4-2)
This week: Tuesday vs. Largo, Thursday at IMG, Friday vs. PHU (TD Stadium)
The scoop: An extra-inning loss to Osceola and a season-opening loss to Mitchell are the only blemishes. The Falcons have had to play on the road for all of their games so far but finally get a few at home this week. The offense has struggled a bit, but Mitchell Mussler and his .357 average have been a bright spot.
15. Bloomingdale (4-3)
This week: Wednesday vs. Plant, Saturday vs. Alonso (Saladino)
The scoop: The Bulls lost their second straight game Monday, this one to Plant City. All three losses have been close and to top-tier teams. A win over Plant on Wednesday would give them some momentum heading into the Saladino. Bloomingdale has hit seven home runs already, including three by Brock Wilken.
On the bubble
Gaither (5-1), Sickles (5-3), Middleton (6-2), Nature Coast (5-2), River Ridge (4-2), Hillsborough (5-2), Riverview (4-3), Robinson (4-2), Newsome (5-2), Durant (4-2), Bishop McLaughlin (3-2), Clearwater Central Catholic (5-3)