Video: Pitcher hugs hitter after striking him out
See the story of two friends, one game and a great display of sportsmanship.
With last week's No. 1 team falling, all but two teams moved up a notch in this week's MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National High School Softball Rankings. One that didn't was last week's No. 2 Neshoba Central (Philadelphia, Miss.), the state's unbeaten 5A state champion.
That means Madison (Vienna, Va.) jumps to No. 1 — the third straight week with a new top team and only one ranking left in the 2018 season.
Does that mean Madison is the MaxPreps National Champion? Or will there be a new No. 1 for the fourth straight week? Perhaps, but it's safe to say it's a two-team race between Madison and Neshoba.
Madison wrapped up its 28-0 season Saturday winning the Virginia 6A title (the state's largest classification), riding the hitting and pitching of senior Alex Echazarreta (Purdue signee).
Neshoba, led by MaxPreps All-American Aspen Wesley (Mississippi State pledge), won the Mississippi 5A (the state's second largest classification) title four weeks ago. Neshoba finished 34-0.
Madison scored 283 runs, averaging 10 runs per game, while allowing 26. Neshoba scored 274 for a 8.1 average and allowed just 31. Madison won 16 games by 10 or more runs and played a single one-run game. Neshoba took 10 games by 10 or more runs and had a pair of one-run wins.
Each defeated two teams which also won state titles in other classifications. Neshoba finished the season ranked 33 in MaxPreps Computer Rankings. Madison is ranked No. 9 in the computer poll.
The difference might fall to the fact that Madison, which has en enrollment of 2,000 students, defeated teams from four states. Neshoba, with just under 1,000 enrollment, played in-state games only.
But for this week — and perhaps only this week — Madison is No. 1.
East Carter (Grayson, Ky.), last week's No. 1, went 4-2 at the Kentucky state Championships to finish the season 41-2, but fell from the Top 25.
Next week's rankings will include the 2018 Top 50, including the National Champion. MaxPreps will also unveil later in June its National Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and a variety of All-American teams.
Let the debate continue.
MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National High School Softball Rankings
1. (Last week 3) Madison (Vienna, Va.), 27-0
The Warhawks got a no-hitter from senior Alex Echazarreta
(Purdue signee) to defeat Manchester and win the state 6A championship and finish the season unbeaten.2. (2) Neshoba Central (Philadelphia, Miss.), 34-0
The Rockets won their sixth straight state 5A title. Season over.3. (4) San Marcos (Calif.), 28-2
The Knights won the San Diego Section Open Division title. Season over.4. (5) Norco (Calif.), 29-3
The Cougars finished the season with 10 straight, including 8-2 over Gahr to win the California Southern Section Open Division title. Paige Smith
hit a grand slam. Season over.5. (7) Hoover (Clendenin, W. Va.), 33-0
The Huskies repeated as state AA champions. Season over.
6. (6) Tualatin (Ore.), 30-0
The Timberwolves won the state 6A title. Season over.
7. (12) Scott County (Georgetown, Ky.), 33-2
The Cards closed the season with 15 wins in a row and the Kentucky state championship. In a 2-1 win over Warren East, senior Kennedy Sullivan
pitched a one-hit, 19-strikeout, 13-inning win.8. (9) New Palestine (Ind.), 30-1
The Dragons finished the season with 20 wins in a row and on Saturday won the state 3A title. Season over.9. (10) Keystone (La Grange, Ohio), 34-0
Keystone won the state D2 championship game. Season over. 10. (13) Coral Springs Charter (Coral Springs, Fla.), 30-2
The Panthers won the state 6A title. Season over.11. (12) Jackson (Mill Creek, Wash.), 25-1
The Timberwolves won the state 4A title. Season over.12. (14) Champion (Warren, Ohio), 31-0
The Golden Flashes won the state D3 championship and have won 39 straight. Season over.13. (15) Clovis (Calif.), 31-2
Clovis won the California Central Section D1 title. Season over.14. (16) Shawnee Heights (Tecumseh, Kan.), 25-0
The T-Birds won the state 5A title and have won 50 in a row. Season over.15. (NR) Sun Prairie (Wis.), 29-0Maddie Gardner
scattered seven hits and drove in two runs to lead the Cardinals to a 7-1 win over Burlington on Saturday for the state large school championship. Gardner, who came into the state tournament with a 0.41 ERA, allowed one earned run in six postseason games. Season over. 16. (18) White Knoll (Lexington, S.C.), 32-2
The Timberwolves won the state 5A championship. Season over.17. (NR) Prince George (Va.), 23-1
Behind the pitching of Laura Thompson
, Prince George captured the state 5A title. Season over.18. (20) Hurricane (W. Va.), 25-3
Won its fourth-straight state 3A title. Season over.19. (21) Bentonville (Ark.), 31-3
Bentonville captured the state 7A championship. Season over.20. (22) Ouachita Parish (Monroe, La.), 33-4
The Lions won the state 5A title. Season over. 21. (23) Severna Park (Md.), 27-2
The Falcons won the state 4A title. Season over.22. (24) Atascocita (Humble, Texas), 35-7
The Eagles won the state 6A title. Season over.23. (NR) Masuk (Monroe, Conn.), 27-0
Junior Sam Schiebe
pitched a two-hit shutout while striking out 14, in leading Masuk to the state L title. She walked one and allowed just two balls to be hit past the infield. Season over.24. (NR) Pinnacle (Phoenix), 31-6
Won state 6A title and 18 of its last 20 games. Season over.
25. (25) Canyon (New Braunfels, Texas), 29-2
The Cougars finished second in the state 6A tournament. Season over.
Stevens Point (Wis.), Barrington (Ill.), St. John Vianney (Holmdel, N.J.), East Carter (Grayson, Ky.).