Strong pitching has allowed three teams to move into contention for the No. 1 spot in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 Baseball Rankings.
Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.) is off to an 8-0 start and opposing batters are hitting just .118 against the Tiger pitching staff. Similarly, Pensacola Catholic (Fla.) is off to a 6-0 start with a 1.40 staff ERA.
Then there's The Woodlands (Texas), whose pitchers have already thrown two no-hitters on the season while racking up a 10-0 mark.
Those three teams sit behind current No. 1 Cathedral Catholic, which has yet to begin the season but has an imposing pitching staff of its own. The Dons begin play Tuesday against La Costa Canyon (Calif.).
Several teams tumbled out of this week's rankings. Vista lost its opener to La Jolla Country Day and dropped all the way out of the rankings. Parkview also lost its opener to Collins Hill while Campolindo fell to St. Francis. Barbe also dropped out after suffering several tournament losses.
Moving in this week are Archbishop McCarthy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), which is 7-0, and Tomball (Texas), which is 8-0. St. Francis also joins the mix along with once-beaten Calallen (Corpus Christi, Texas).
MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Baseball Rankings1. (1 last week) Cathedral Catholic (San Diego), 0-0
Season begins March 5 vs. La Costa Canyon at Hilltop-Lolitas Tournament.2. (3) Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.), 8-0
Three more big wins for the Tigers, who defeated Lennard (Ruskin, Fla.) 17-4 thanks to
's home run and five RBI and Blake (Tampa, Fla.) 11-1 with Ricky Caldevilla
's two-run homer. In an 11-1 win over Lakeland, John Kilichowski
struck out 12 in five innings.3. (5) Pensacola Catholic (Fla.), 6-0
The Crusaders needed 11 innings to top Choctawhatchee 2-1 last week. Avery Geyer
and Cooper Jones
combined for the win with Geyer striking out eight in six innings and Jones fanning 11 in his five innings on the hill. The next game wasn't nearly as close with Pensacola Catholic downing Milton (Fla.) 16-6 on home runs by Jon Jon Burkett
and Evans Bozeman
. PC concluded the weekend with a 12-1 win over Navarre and a 6-0 win over Pensacola on Saturday.4. (6) The Woodlands (Texas), 10-0
The Highlanders have received strong pitching so far this season, including a pair of no-hitters. Carter Hope
tossed a no-hit shutout in a 7-0 win over Klein Collins last week and followed up that effort with a complete game 1-0 win over Montgomery at the Brenham/Montgomery Tournament. Hope had 11 strikeouts in the win. Ryan Burnett
also had a no-hitter, striking out 15 in a 9-1 non-tournament game early in the week. In other tournament games, the Highlanders topped Bryan 8-3, Fort Bend Kempner (Sugar Land, Texas) 10-1, Texas City 15-5 and Lamar 12-4.5. (7) Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village, Colo.), 0-0
Season begins March 6 vs. Thomas Jefferson (Denver).6. (12) Oak Grove (Hattiesburg, Miss.), 4-0
Oak Grove stayed undefeated with four wins last week, beating Purvis 9-6, Lumberton 14-1, Biloxi 4-3 and Sumrall 4-3. Kirk McCarty
struck out 16 in a little over five innings of work against Sumrall.7. (15) Elk Grove (Calif.), 1-0
got the Thundering Herd off to a strong start as he went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and three RBI in a 10-0 win over Ponderosa. Elk Grove has a tough schedule ahead with games against Valley Christian (San Jose), St. Mary's (Stockton) and Campolindo (Moraga) in the next two weeks.8. (17) Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.), 4-0
tossed a no-hitter for the Wolverines in a 1-0 win over Valencia at the Easton Tournament. Arden Pabst
went 3-for-3 and knocked in the only run. In other tournament games, the Wolverines defeated Rio Mesa (Oxnard) 4-2 on Tuesday and Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 5-1 on Thursday. 9. (9) Lexington (S.C.), 0-0
The Wildcats are 5-0 in exhibition games but don't begin regular season play until March 4 vs. Irmo (Columbia).10. (10) Lake Braddock (Burke, Va.), 0-0
Season opens March 9 at Oakton (Vienna).11. (11) Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), 0-0
Season opens March 14 at Bonanza (Las Vegas).12. (13) Farragut (Knoxville, Tenn.), 0-0
Season begins March 11 at Lenoir City.13. (14) Woodford County (Versailles, Ky.), 0-0
Season begins March 12 at Collins (Shelbyville).14. (16) Gloucester Catholic (Gloucester City, N.J.), 0-0
Season begins April 1 vs. Deptford.15. (20) Roberson (Asheville, N.C.), 1-0
The Rams shut out East Rutherford 3-0 in their opener last week.16. (21) Loganville (Ga.), 4-0
After beating Walnut Grove 14-2 earlier in the week, Loganville came from behind to defeat last year's AAAAA runner-up, Brookwood, 10-7 on Friday. Clint Frazier
had a home run in the latter game, giving him three on the season.17. (22) Jenks (Okla.), 2-0
The Trojans led Grant 20-0 by the second inning en route to a 21-0 win in the season opener. Matthias Johnson
had a home run for the winners. Thomas Hatch
pitched in Saturday's 6-2 victory over Westmoore (Oklahoma City). The Trojans overcame an early 2-0 deficit in the sixth to give Hatch the complete-game victory.18. (NR) Tomball (Texas), 8-0
Ranked Class 4A team in Texas, Tomball is off to an 8-0 start with four straight wins at the Ferrell Classic, including a 5-0 win over Cy-Woods that included a combined no-hitter by
and Robert Dugger
. Tomball also defeated Cinco Ranch 13-1, Conroe 14-2 and College Park 14-2.19. (NR) St. Francis (Mountain View, Calif.), 5-0
The Lancers have racked up some impressive wins, including a 6-3 victory over defending North Coast Section Division II champion Campolindo (Moraga) and a 6-4 win over NCS Division I champion De La Salle (Concord).20. (23) Venice (Fla.), 5-1
The Indians notched their third straight shutout by blanking Manatee (Bradenton) and Port Charlotte by identical 9-0 scores last week. Tyson Albert
had a big night for Venice with a no-hitter against Manatee that included nine strikeouts. Tyler Shambora
and Cooper Hammond
combined for the shutout against Port Charlotte.21. (24) American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.), 5-1
The Patriots picked up two more wins last week, beating Hallandale 13-0 and Pompano Beach 2-1 in district play.22. (NR) Archbishop McCarthy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), 7-0
The defending 6A state champions were thought to be in a rebuilding mode this year. That's not the case so far as the Mavericks have won seven straight, including a 13-3 victory over last year's 8A finalist Columbus (Miami).23. (NR) Calallen (Corpus Christi, Texas), 10-1
The Wildcats opened the season with a loss to Sinton, but have won 10 in a row since, including a 9-0 victory over Ellison (Killeen) on Saturday to finish undefeated at the Comal ISD Tournament.24. (2) Grayson (Loganville, Ga.), 3-1
Grayson dropped its first game of the season with a 9-7 loss to Eagle's View (Jacksonville, Fla.) in the La Grange Tournament. The Rams began the tourney by edging Cullman (Ala.) 6-4 behind the play of Austin Meadows
, who had three this and two RBI. Grayson also knocked off Calloway (Ga.) on Friday, 4-2. Earlier in the week, Grayson topped Collins Hill 4-2 in its first regular-season game of the year. The Winder-Barrow contest reported last week was actually a scrimmage.25. (8) Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), 1-1
The Monarchs split their season-opening doubleheader with the visiting St. Mary's Rams on Friday, falling 1-0 in the first game before romping 13-2 in the nightcap. Ryan McMahon
had two doubles and a home run in the second game.Dropped out:
No. 4 Vista (Calif.), No. 18 Campolindo (Moraga, Calif.), Parkview (Lilburn, Ga.), No. 25 Barbe (Lake Charles, La.).