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HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings

Kama Woodall is just as dangerous with a bat in her hand as she is on the mound for Springstead. (Brendan Fitterer, Times)
Kama Woodall is just as dangerous with a bat in her hand as she is on the mound for Springstead. (Brendan Fitterer, Times)
Published Apr. 10, 2017

1. Academy at the Lakes (14-0)

This week: Monday vs. Springstead; Tuesday vs. Canterbury; Thursday vs. Seven Rivers Christian (doubleheader).

Scoop: It was another week for the Wildcats, who beat Keswick Christian 13-0 and Citrus Park Christian 13-2 to remain undefeated. Sophomore Alexis Kilfoyl recorded the 500th strikeout of her career against the Crusaders. Shortstop Brooke Blankenship, an eighth-grader, also committed to FSU last week. AATL has perhaps the toughest stretch of games the next two weeks starting with Springstead on Monday and a rematch against Canterbury for the top seed in Class 2A, District 5.

2. Plant City (13-1)

This week: Tuesday vs. East Bay; Thursday at Robinson; Friday at Bartow

Scoop: The Raiders clinched the top seed in the ultra-competitive Class 8A, District 6 weeks ago. That doesn't mean Plant City is coasting through the rest of the regular season. Wins against Lennard and Bloomingdale last week extended the Raiders' win streak to nine games. Another tough stretch of games looms this week against ranked teams.

3. Chamberlain (18-2)

This week: Tuesday at Gaither; Thursday at East Bay

Scoop: The Chiefs went 2-1 in the Blue Division of the Kissimmee Klassic, beating Class 7A, No. 2 ranked Gainesville 11-2 and defending 8A state champion Bartow 5-0 and losing to Scott County (Ken.) 3-1. Chamberlain was supposed to play Timber Creek but the game was canceled after Chiefs outfielder Haylie Corcho went down with a season-ending fractured wrist.

4. East Lake (15-2)

This week: Tuesday at Seminole; Thursday vs. Clearwater

Scoop: Last week's 1-0, eight-inning win over Countryside snapped the Eagles' five-game losing streak to one of their biggest rivals. It also moved East Lake into a tie with the Cougars atop the Class 8A, District 7 standings. Kendyl Crean had a two-run double for the winning run against Countryside. The Eagles followed that up by beating Pinellas Park to extend their win streak to 12.

5. Palm Harbor University (19-2)

This week: Tuesday at Dunedin; Thursday vs. Newsome

Scoop: Mia Buffano's single in the bottom of the seventh brought the winning run in a 1-0 win over Alonso that clinched the No. 1 seed in the Class 9A, District 8 tournament for the Hurricanes. Wins against Largo and Tarpon Springs last week also clinched a spot for PHU in the Pinellas County Athletic Conference championship game.

6. Springstead (17-2)

This week: Monday at Academy at the Lakes; Tuesday vs. Lecanto; Friday vs. Belleview

Scoop: Last week's loss to Crystal River was costly for the Class 6A, No. 1-ranked Eagles. Not only did Springstead have its 15-game win streak halted, but the loss also moved the Eagles into a three-tie with Crystal River and Dunnellon for the top seed in Class 6A, District 6. Springstead bounced back to Hernando 2-0. Kama Woodall had 11 strikeouts and was 2-for-3 with homer against the Leopards.

7. Steinbrenner (15-3)

This week: Tuesday at Strawberry Crest; Thursday at Gaither

Scoop: In their only game last week, the Warriors lost 1-0 to Bloomingdale. It is the first time Steinbrenner failed to score a run this season and it was its second loss in the past three games. Still, those losses do not mean much considering the Warriors have already clinched the top seed in the Class 8A, District 5 tournament.

8. Land O'Lakes (19-3)

This week: Wednesday vs. Ridgewood

Scoop: The offense, which had scored double digits in three straight games, was shut out in a 2-0 loss to Wesley Chapel that dropped the Gators back into a tie with River Ridge for the top seed in Class 6A, District 7. Land O'Lakes bounced back to beat Bishop McLaughlin 18-8 and Nature Coast 3-1 last week.

9. Robinson (18-3)

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

Scoop: The Knights won the Naples' Bill Longshore Memorial Tournament for the second time in the past three seasons, rallying to beat Treasure Coast 2-1 in the title game. It was an emotional moment for Robinson assistant Bo Longshore, whose team won the tournament named after his father. Longshore's daughter, Olivia, had a combined nine hits in the tournament.

10. East Bay (14-6)

This week: Tuesday at Plant City; Thursday at Chamberlain

Scoop: Haley Murphy threw a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts and a had a solo homer in a 2-1 win over Durant that moved the Indians into sole possession of second place in Class 8A, District 6. A win against Plant City on Tuesday would complete the regular-season sweep as well as clinch the No. 2 seed in the district for East Bay.

11. Canterbury (14-6)

This week: Tuesday at Seven Rivers Christian; Thurs.-Sat. At Kissimmee Klassic

Scoop: The Crusaders went 3-1 to take third in the Gold Division of the Kissimmee Klassic. Madison Fine, the team's leadoff hitter, was solid throughout the tournament, going a combined 12-for-17. Taylor Bump also had three doubles and a homer during the tournament. Canterbury's biggest game this week is Tuesday in a rematch with Academy at the Lakes.

12. Alonso (11-6)

This week: Tuesday at Plant; Thursday vs. Sarasota Riverview

Scoop: Last week's 1-0 loss to Palm Harbor University prevented the Ravens from moving into a tie for the top spot in the Class 9A, District 8 standings. Alonso will be the No. 2 seed and will have to play No. 3 Newsome in the district tournament to earn a playoff spot. Jodi Handler allowed seven hits and struck out three against the Hurricanes.

13. Countryside (15-6)

This week: Thursday at Seminole

Scoop: The Cougars rebounded from a loss to East Lake to win the Doc4Life tournament in Ocala for the second time in the past three seasons (last year's tournament was rained out). Countryside beat Ocala Forest, Lake Brantley and Doral Academy. Jordan Lewis and Makenzie Griffin were named co-MVPs of the tournament.

14. River Ridge (13-5)

This week: Monday at Zephyrhills; Tuesday at Fivay; Thursday at Crystal River

Scoop: The Royal Knights appear to have gotten past their midseason slump. Last week, they beat Tampa Catholic, Gulf and Ridgewood by a combined 36-1. Melanie Rogers threw a perfect game against the Rams in a game that lasted three innings because of the mercy rule. The sophomore has gone 12 straight innings without allowing a run.

15. Sunlake (14-4)

This week: Tuesday vs. Wiregrass Ranch; Thursday at Zephyrhills

Scoop: Riley Baxter had two doubles and Isabella Huff and Daisy McQuain each had triples in a 16-1 win over Dixie Hollins that wrapped up play in Class 7A, District 10 for the Seahawks. With an 8-2 district record, Sunlake will be the No. 2 seed and could face Osceola in the semifinals.

16. Mitchell (16-5)

This week: Tuesday vs. Zephyrhills; Thursday vs. Anclote

Scoop: Marina Rao, a freshman, was 3-for-4 with an RBIs and a run scored in a 6-5 win over two-time defending Class 7A, District 10 champion Osceola that clinched the top seed for the Mustangs. That is big for Mitchell because it does not have to face the Warriors or Sunlake in the semifinals of the district tournament,

17. Nature Coast (14-5)

This week: Monday at Gulf; Tuesday at Central; Wednesday vs. Crystal River

Scoop: The Sharks have difficulty beating the top-tier teams in the area. Last week's 3-1 loss to Land O'Lakes continued a late-season slump in which Nature Coast has lost five of seven games. The offense has struggled recently with a combined seven runs in the five losses.

18. Wharton (10-5)

This week: Tuesday at Durant; Thursday vs. Strawberry Crest

Scoop: In the battle of Bruce B. Downs, the Wildcats exacted revenge with a 7-3 win over Freedom to move into sole possession of first place in Class 8A, District 4. Chloe Lee was 3-for-5, and Mackenzie Allen and Asia Thomas each had triples against the Patriots. Wharton can clinch the No. 1 seed with a win against Strawberry Crest on Thursday.

19. Bloomingdale (13-7)

This week: Tuesday at Riverview; Thursday vs. Armwood

Scoop: The Bulls beat Steinbrenner, then had their five-game win streak snapped with a loss to Plant City. Alexys Lawson also had her 21-inning scoreless streak end when the Raiders scored in the first inning. Bloomingdale finishes play in Class 8A, District 6 against Riverview on Tuesday.

20. Wesley Chapel (13-5)

This week: Wednesday vs. Central; Thursday at Tampa Catholic

Scoop: All but two players on the Wildcats' roster are sophomores and freshmen. Despite such a young roster, Wesley Chapel has not experienced many growing pains. The Wildcats have already set the school record for wins, including impressive victories over River Ridge and Land O'Lakes. That has put Wesley Chapel within striking distance of the top two seeds in Class 6A, District 7.

21. Freedom (13-8)

This week: Tuesday at Newsome; Thursday at Wiregrass Ranch

Scoop: The Patriots' six-game win streak ended with a loss to rival Wharton in their only game last week. That loss also dropped Freedom to second place in the Class 8A, District 4 standings. Brandee Mull had a big game at the plate against the Wildcats with two hits and two RBIs.

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

This week: Idle

Scoop: The Jaguars had a strong start at the Longshore Memorial Tournament, beating Lake Worth Christian and Naples. In the semifinals, AHN forfeited to Robinson, which went on to win the tournament. The Jaguars are off this week and finish the regular season with a game against Canterbury the following week.

23. Tampa Catholic (15-6)

This week: Tuesday vs. Wharton;

Scoop: Wins against Zephyrhills (10-9) and Berkeley Prep (9-5) snapped a two-game losing streak for the Crusaders. Madison Epperson, who will sign with USF on Wednesday, had three hits, including two doubles against the Bulldogs. Tuesday's game against Calvary Christian will decide the No. 2 seed in the Class 4A, District 4 tournament.

24. Newsome (12-7)

This week: Tuesday vs. Freedom; Thursday at Palm Harbor University

Scoop: The Wolves are in a rebuilding phase after graduating the bulk of their starting lineup. But they are starting to putting things together with wins in five of their past six games. The lone loss during that span was to rival Alonso in eight innings. Bailee Leistl leads the team in hitting with a .453 average.

25. Durant (11-8)

This week: Tuesday vs. Wharton; Thursday at King

Scoop: Last week's loss to East Bay ended the Cougars' three-game win streak as well as any hope of getting the No. 2 seed in the Class 8A, District 6 tournament. Sloan Hammons, an FAU signee, had a combined 21 strikeouts against Gaither and the Indians this past week.

On the bubble: Strawberry Crest (11-8), Sickles (11-11), Osceola (11-8), Gaither (11-7), Pinellas Park (10-8), Boca Ciega (12-2), Dunedin (13-9), Calvary Christian (10-4), Seffner Christian (13-7), Hernando (12-8)