It took nearly four months before The Woodlands lost its first game of the season last year. This season, it took only a few weeks.
Texas defending 4A state champion Santa Fe handed the Highlanders their first loss of the season at the HSSL Tournament and dropped The Woodlands from the No. 1 spot in the national rankings for the first time since the MaxPreps preseason rankings in February, 2011.
The new No. 1 is Alexander Central, which opened its season Tuesday against St. Stephens. The Cougars are led by two-time North Carolina state player of the year Chelsea Wilkinson
The Woodlands won't quite be the same team it was last year until Paige McDuffee
returns from injury. Until then, the likes of Plano East and Pearland, each of whom joined this week's Xcellent 25 Rankings along with Tomball and Plano, make for a wide open race in Texas.
The only teams to drop out of the rankings this week were Santiago (Corona) and Red Mountain (Mesa, Ariz.).
MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Softball Rankings presented by the Army National Guard
1. (2 last week) Alexander Central (Taylorsville, N.C.), 0-0
Season opened Tuesday vs. St. Stephens (Hickory, N.C.).2. (4) Lee-Davis (Mechanicsville, Va.), 0-0
Season opens Saturday vs. Dinwiddie (Va.).3. (5) North Davidson (Lexington, N.C.), 0-0
Season opens Wednesday at Glenn (Kernersville, N.C.).4. (6) Tomball (Texas), 11-0
The Cougars ran their record to 11-0 with a string of wins at the Cy Fair Tournament. Tomball defeated Willis 7-0, Jersey Village 6-1, Klein Forest 23-0, New Caney 6-5, Oak Ridge 7-2 and Klein Collins 6-0.
has run her season record to 10-0.5. (1) The Woodlands (Texas), 13-1
The Highlanders dropped their first game of the season and just their second in two years with a 4-3 loss to defending 4A state champion Santa Fe at the HSSL Tournament. The Woodlands managed to top Clear Brook 5-0, Katy 2-0 and Atascocita 4-0 during the tournament.6. (7) Newton County (Decatur, Miss.), 3-0
There have been three straight shutouts for the Cougars, who blanked Neshop Central 10-0 last week. Shelby Bishop
and Ashton Lampton
each had a home run in the win.7. (8) Niceville (Fla.), 10-1
The Eagles registered a pair of shutout wins over the weekend, beating Fort Walton Beach 7-0 and Port St. Joe 17-0. 8. (9) Gulliver Prep (Miami), 6-1
The Raiders won a pair of games last week, including a 10-0 one-hit shutout by Christina Gabriele
against Southwest. Dominique Grossman
also had a big game, going 3-for-3 with a home run and two doubles. Gabee Draney
was also 3-for-3 with a double.9. (10) American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.), 9-0
The Patriots defeated Mourning 15-0 last week in a game that lasted just three innings after American Heritage scored 11 in the third inning. Ashley Belans
and Shea Melton
each had three RBIs in the win. The Patriots meet defending 6A state champion Palm Beach Gardens this week.10. (11) Eau Gallie (Melbourne, Fla.), 9-0
Eau Gallie defeated Palm Bay 14-1 with Alex Powers
going 3-for-3 with three doubles. It will get tested next week in the Bartow Tournament and the following weekend in the Gulliver Prep Tournament.11. (NR) Plano East (Texas), 13-0
East handed Plano a loss last week and also defeated Forney, another team that beat Plano, in the finals of the Allen Tournament.12. (NR) Pearland (Texas), 14-1
Pearland lost its first game of the season to Tomball but has won 14 straight, including three tournament championships.
13. (3). Plano (Texas), 13-2
The Wildcats went 4-2 at the McKinney Tournament over the weekend, falling to Forney 3-2 and Plano East 8-1. Plano managed wins over McKinney North (6-5 and 21-0), Paris North Lamar (9-5) and Midland (8-2).14. (21) Basha (Chandler, Ariz.), 9-0
The Bears defeated Hamilton 23-8 and Salpointe Catholic 3-1. Kylie Shull
and Kailey Regester
are both off to strong starts with three home runs apiece.
15. (22) Estrella Foothills (Goodyear, Ariz.), 10-0
The Wolves captured the Wickenburg Classic in impressive fashion, averaging 13 runs a game in going 8-0. Estrella Foothills stopped Lake Havasu 13-0 in the championship game.16. (12) Walla Walla (Wash.), 0-0
Season opens March 20 vs. Southridge (Kennewick, Wash.).17. (13) Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), 0-0
Season opens Monday with the Commando Classic in Hendersonville.18. (14) Keystone (La Grange, Ohio), 0-0
Season opens April 3 vs. Edison (Milan, Ohio).19. (15) Soddy Daisy (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.), 0-0
Season opens Tuesday vs. McMinn.
20. (16) Beech (Hendersonville, Tenn.), 0-0
Season opens at Nike Gulf Coast Classic, March 12-14.21. (17) Robbinsville (N.J.), 0-0
Season opens March 15 vs. Monroe Township (N.J.)22. (19) Los Alamitos (Calif.), 2-0
The Griffins defeated Rosary 5-3 and San Clemente 6-2 at the Foothill Tournament.23. (20) Bonita Vista (Chula Vista, Calif.), 0-0
Season opens March 21 at Poway (Calif.).24. (24) Poland Seminary (Ohio), 0-0
Season opens April 9 at American Heritage (Delray Beach, Fla.).25. (25) Carson (Calif.), 2-0
Defeated Garden Grove 6-0 and Santa Monica 11-1.Dropped out:
No. 18 Santiago, No. 23 Red Mountain.