Student Sports FAB 50 Softball Rankings

While the Midwest continues to toil under sometimes dicey weather conditions -- you know, the rain and cold that weathermen call spring -- several warm-weather states are wrapping up their seasons. The two states to watch are Florida and Arizona, where several teams could make a serious push for a mythical Student Sports FAB 50 national championship.

Let's say current No. 2 Clearwater Countryside rolls through the Class 5A field -- which is as good as it gets in Florida -- for a state championship. Who's to say it doesn't deserve to be No. 1 over Clovis, a team with two losses to Foothill (Tustin, Calif.)? The same theory can be applied to No. 4 Corona del Sol if the Tempe school dishes out some punishment against its Class 5A competition in Arizona. The interesting scenario would be for both teams to win out, along with No. 3 Bonita Vista, and Clovis to lose somewhere along the way. That would open the door for a serious debate at Rankings Central.

Even though their seasons might be long since completed by then, either Countryside or Corona del Sol could seal a national championship a month from now as California's postseason plays out. Ah yes, there's still plenty of drama to unfold in the race for No. 1.

This week's Student Sports FAB 50 national softball rankings (with win-loss record as of May 5 and last week's ranking in parentheses)

1. Clovis (Clovis, Calif.) 33-2-1 (1)
Nichole Willis' 3-for-3, two-RBI afternoon propelled the nation's top team to a 7-0 win over Central (Fresno). Jennifer Reynolds' one-hitter stymied Buchanan, 3-0, to improve her record to 27-1.

2. Countryside (Clearwater, Fla.) 30-1 (2)
Three shutouts in the Class 5A regionals advanced Florida's top-ranked team into the Final Four vs. Plant City Durant this week. Countryside blanked St. Petersburg Northeast, 7-0; Naples Gulf Coast, 6-0; and perennial contender Naples, 3-0.

3. Bonita Vista (Chula Vista, Calif.) 27-0 (3)
Emily Turner pitched a two-hitter and knocked a three-run homer in a 20-1 win over Southwest (San Diego).

4. Corona del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.) 32-2-1 (4)
Corona del Sol rolls into the Class 5A tournament this week after a 2-1 regional win over Desert Vista. Winning pitcher Tara Hansen also nailed a couple of doubles.

5. Katy (Katy, Texas) 27-3 (5)
Houston Westside offered no challenge for the Tigers, who won 13-0 in a Class 5A Region III area-round playoff game. Clements (Sugar Land) will try to derail the Tigers this week in the regional quarterfinals.

6. Pacifica (Garden Grove, Calif.) 23-2-1 (6)
In winning its second big tournament of the year, Pacifica beat Mater Dei (Santa Ana), 3-0, in the finals of the Canyon (Anaheim) tournament. Brittney Weil tossed a two-hitter with nine Ks to knock Mater Dei from the national rankings.

7. Foothill (Tustin, Calif.) 24-3 (7)
Knights remained unbeaten in the Century League by rallying from a 3-0 first-inning deficit to defeat El Modena, 5-3. A four-run fourth, led by a two-run single by Chelsea Cantillo, did the damage.

8. Mira Mesa (San Diego, Calif.) 28-1 (9)
Lisa Dodd's three-hitter with 12 Ks did in Serra (San Diego), 5-0. Desiree Fajota's two-run double sparked a five-run fifth inning.

9. Central Cabarrus (Concord, N.C.) 20-1 (10)
The Crystal Cox shutout show continues. The senior hurler, and North Carolina recruit, pitched three more shutouts last week--six in two weeks, as the two-time defending state Class 3A champions enter their final week of the regular season. Cox hurled a five-inning perfect game, 15-0, vs. West Mecklenburg; a nine-inning 1-0 win over Charlotte Independence; and a 2-0, 16-inning completed win over North Mecklenburg, which resumed after being called last week scoreless in the 10th inning.

10. Hillcrest (Simpsonville, S.C.) 36-0 (11)
The unbeaten Rams advanced to the Class 4A Upper State best-of-three finals this week vs. Lexington by downing South Aiken, 6-1. Pitcher Kate Pouliot won her 27th game with a six-hitter and nine strikeouts.

11. Buchholz (Gainesville, Fla.) 26-2 (15)
The BobCats advanced to state Class 5A Final Four vs. Cooper City this week and possible title game showdown against Clearwater Countryside. Three regional wins were over Jacksonville Terry Parker, 2-1; Niceville, 1-0 in 11 innings; and 2-0 over Tallahassee Lincoln.

12. Riverside Poly (Riverside, Calif.) 23-1 (13)
No. 2 pitcher Samantha Parks took advantage of a rare appearance for a three-hit, 11-strikeout shutout of Arlington (Riverside).

13. Wooster (Reno, Nev.) 33-2 (16)
The Colts finished their Northern 4A Conference season unbeaten with two forfeit victories over Reno Hug. They now take aim at the Northern Nevada Regional Championship Tournament this week in Carson City where they hope to qualify for a return trip to states.

14. Sahuaro (Tucson, Ariz.) 29-4-1 (32)
A 4-3 win over Salpointe Catholic, avenging two earlier losses, gives Sahuaro the top seed for this week's Class 5A state tournament. Despite giving up a homer, Courtnay Foster improved to 22-2. A three-run double by T.J. Eadus delivered the win.

15. Salpointe Catholic (Tucson, Ariz.) 28-4-1 (8)
Fortunately for Salpointe, last week's 4-3 regional loss to Sahuaro doesn't end the season. It just makes the road for a Class 5A title tougher as a lower seed. In many other state tournament settings, Salpointe would be done.

16. Magnolia (Magnolia, Texas) 27-3 (17)
KatieAnn Trahan threw a one-hitter and also contributed a triple as the Bulldogs routed Livingston 10-0 in a Class 4A Region III area-round playoff game. Belton will be the opponent for Magnolia this week in the regional quarterfinals.

17. Broad Run (Ashburn, Va.) 15-0 (19)
Christy Anch has a 0.00 ERA this season and picked up her 85th career victory in the team's 5-1 win over Stone Bridge.

18. Chambersburg (Chambersburg, Pa.) 16-0 (21)
The Trojans won three games in one day. Alabama recruit Steph Van Brakle tossed two one-hitters in a 1-0 win over Martinsburg (W.Va.) and a 3-0 win over Cumberland Valley. She had 30 strikeouts. Chrissy Cline threw a one-hitter in the 14-2 win over Martinsburg.

19. Brenham (Brenham, Texas) 28-4 (22)
The Cubs needed plenty of offense in a 6-5 win over Vidor in the area round of the Class 4A Region III playoffs. Brenham will take on Cedar Park in this week's regional quarterfinals.

20. Coppell (Coppell, Texas) 28-4 (25)
Don't get Nicole Denes mad. After Irving scored against her in a Class 5A Region I area-round playoff game, Denes fanned eight straight batters. She finished with 15 Ks and allowed just one hit as the Cowgirls pulled away for a 7-1 win. The defending state champions will play nationally ranked South Grand Prairie this week in the regional quarterfinals in a battle of Dallas-area powers.

21. Wilson (Hacienda Heights, Calif.) 20-1-1 (26)
Jamee Juarez pitched a one-hitter against Diamond Ranch, 7-0, and struck out nine in an 8-0 win over Los Altos (Hacienda Heights). She added two triples vs. Diamond Ranch.

22. Springfield (Springfield, Ore.) 21-0 (nr)
Springfield, which boasts a win over former nationally ranked North Eugene, beat Churchill, 9-2, to move within one victory of a league title.

23. Canby (Canby, Ore) 18-1 (24)
A rout of Dallas last week keeps the defending state champs in the hunt.

24. Carl Sandburg (Orland Park, Ill.) 20-2-1 (29)
The Eagles completed a big week with a Stagg tournament title, beating West Aurora, 2-0, in the final behind No. 3 starter, sophomore Lauren Brennan. Showing off the versatility of a three-person staff, No. 1 hurler Brittany McIntyre shut out Stagg (Palos Hills) and Lockport last week, while Nikki Netzel held Queen of Peace to one run in a win and the next day, shut out Andrew (Tinley Park), 4-0.

25. Leon (Tallahassee, Fla.) 29-2 (28)
Pitcher Erin Horn broke the Florida season strikeout record by fanning 16 in 1-0 Class 4A regional win over Pensacola Pine Forest. Other regional wins were over Jacksonville Bishop Kenny, 4-0 and Pensacola Washington, 4-1. Leon faces state Class 4A No. 2 Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas in state semifinals.

THE NEXT 25:

26. Shorecrest (Seattle, Wash.) 15-1 (18)
27. Soddy Daisy (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) 34-3 (30)
28. Richland (North Richland Hills, Texas) 38-5 (31)
29. South Grand Prairie (Grand Prairie, Texas) 31-4 (33)
30. Bay Shore (Bay Shore, N.Y.) 15-0 (34)
31. Oak Park & River Forest (Oak Park, Ill.) 21-1-1 (38)
32. Glenbard North (Carol Stream, Ill.) 23-2 (45)
33. Olathe East (Olathe, Kan.) 13-1 (42)
34. Horizon (Scottsdale, Ariz.) 24-5-2 (43)
35. Pennsbury (Fairless Hills, Pa.) 12-0 (36)
36. Pisgah (Pisgah, Ala.) 55-5 (46)
37. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 28-4 (nr)
38. Immaculate Heart Academy (Township of Washington, N.J.) 16-0 (40)
*39. Columbia (Lake City, Fla.) 25-4 (14)
40. Normal Community (Normal, Ill.) 22-2-1 (20)
41. Centennial (Las Vegas, Nev.) 29-2 (44)
42. Center Grove (Greenwood, Ind.) 16-0 (47)
43. Bartow (Bartow, Fla.) 31-2 (nr)
44. Lincoln Way Central (New Lenox, Ill.) 20-2 (48)
45. Mercy Catholic (Farmington Hills, Mich.) 22-1 (nr)
46. Cypress-Fairbanks (Cypress, Texas) 27-4 (49)
47. Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.) 23-3-1 (nr)
48. Taylorsville (Taylorsville, Utah) 11-0 (nr)
49. Taylor (Katy, Texas) 23-6 (nr)
50. Carlsbad (Carlsbad, N.M.) 18-4 (nr)

DROPPED OUT: Sam Rayburn (Pasadena, Texas) (12), El Modena (Orange, Calif.) (23), North Eugene (Eugene, Ore.) (27), University (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (35), Edgewater (Orlando, Fla.) (37), Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) (39), Alamogordo (Alamogordo, N.M.) (41), Thousand Oaks (Thousand Oaks, Calif.)
(50).



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