The first regular season MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Softball Rankings show that there are some definite hotbeds for talented softball teams.
The first would be in the city of Elk Grove where the Thundering Herd take over the No. 1 spot from preseason Pearland, which dropped its season opener and is no longer among the top-ranked teams in the Texas 5A rankings. Elk Grove is 3-0 after winning a showdown with equally talented crosstown rival Pleasant Grove, which is ranked No. 14, on Tuesday.
Then there is the metroplex in North Texas that includes Plano East, Hebron and Keller. Those three teams all moved into the Xcellent 25 after strong starts that propelled them to the top of the Texas Girls Coaches Association state rankings.
South Florida also cannot be overlooked. Palm Beach Gardens moves to the No. 2 spot behind Elk Grove and is joined in the Xcellent 25 by undefeated Braddock, which was a state semifinalist last season.
A number of teams across the country have yet to start their seasons, but here's a look at the first regular season Xcellent 25 rankings.
MAXPREPS XCELLENT 25 NATIONAL SOFTBALL RANKINGS
1. Elk Grove (Calif.), 3-0
The Thundering Herd dropped Casa Roble 13-1 in their opener. Shelby Wisdom
went the distance and struck out 12 in a five-inning no-hitter. She walked two and hit three batters. The Herd also edged Lodi 3-2 last week and defeated nationally ranked crosstown rival Pleasant Grove 1-0 Tuesday.2. Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.), 8-0
The Gators are off to a strong start, winning their first eight games with five shutouts and six wins by 10 or more runs. The Gators have allowed just six runs all year.3. The Woodlands (Texas), 17-0
The Highlanders are off to a tremendous start with a 17-0 record and tournament wins at the Austin Westlake Tournament and the HSSL Tournament. Paige Mcduffee
is 10-0 on the season with 63 strikeouts in 57 innings pitched and five shutouts.4. Gulliver Prep (Miami), 6-0
The Raiders outscored their opponents 72-0 through their first four games this season. In a 10-0 win over St. Brendan over the weekend, Dominique Grossman
was 4-for-4 with two home runs, five RBIs and four runs scored. Ashley Leon
was 3-for-4 with three runs.5. Soddy Daisy (Tenn.), 0-0
The Trojans open their season March 15 at Cleveland (Tenn.).6. Sandburg (Orland Park, Ill.), 0-0
The Eagles open their season on March 19 at Moline (Ill.).7. Hudsonville (Mich.), 0-0
The Eagles do not begin their season until April.8. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), 2-0
The Monarchs won a pair of games at the Foothill Tournament, beating Beckman 9-1 and Aliso Niguel 6-4. Sharlene Godoy
struck out nine in the Beckman victory while Micaela Arizmendi
was 3-for-3 with a triple against Aliso Niguel. Amy Serven
also drove in three runs against the Wolverines.9. Santiago (Corona, Calif.), 0-0
The Sharks open their season March 14 vs. Redlands.10. Piedra Vista (Farmington, N.M.), 4-0
The Panthers won the Linda Crabtree Tournament this weekend, defeating Farmington 4-0 on a seven-inning no-hitter by Karysta Donisthorpe
. The All-American struck out the first nine batters she faced and finished with 15 strikeouts in the game.11. Alexander Central (Taylorsville, N.C.), 0-0
Opened season March 8 at Davie (Mocksville, N.C.).12. Valencia (Placentia, Calif.), 2-0
The Vikings opened the season with a pair of wins at the Stu Penter Tournament on Saturday, defeating Great Oak 6-2 and Canyon Springs 2-0.13. Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove, Calif.), 1-1
Defeated Davis 3-0 in season opener. Ally Carda
struck out eight and threw a seven-inning no-hitter for the Eagles. The Eagles had a big showdown with Elk Grove and played well in a 1-0 loss to the nation's top-ranked team.14. Plano East (Texas), 13-1
The Panthers won the Mansfield Tournament and suffered their only loss at the Allen Invitational, falling to Rider (Wichita Falls, Texas). District 8-5A figures to be very competitive this year with Hebron, Plano and Plano West all ranked among the top teams in the state in the Texas High School Girls Coaches Association rankings.15. East Lake (Tarpon Springs, Fla.), 12-0
The Eagles reached the Class 5A semifinals last year and are off to an outstanding start in 2011 with 12 straight wins including a first-place finish at the Lake Mary Early Bird Tournament.16. Hebron (Carrollton, Texas), 13-1-1
The Hawks captured first place at the Forney Tournament and also have a win over Keller. Only loss is to Haltom at the McKinney Tournament over the weekend.17. Keller (Texas), 14-1-1
The Indians have key wins over Bellaire, Plano West and Elgin, which is ranked No. 1 in the 4A division by the Texas High School Girls Coaches Association. Only loss is to Hebron.18. Braddock (Miami), 8-0
The Bulldogs reached the Class 6A semifinals last season and are 8-0 to start the season.19. Bishop O'Connell (Arlington, Va.), 0-0
The Knights open their season on March 11 at St. Mary's Ryken.20. Perry (Massillon, Ohio), 0-0
The Panthers begin their season March 28 at home against Cuyahoga Heights.21. Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), 0-0
The Warriors open their season in a tournament on March 14.22. Dunnellon (Fla.), 7-1
The Tigers have already equaled their loss total from last year with a 3-2 loss at the hands of Lake Weir. However, Sami Fagan
has been nearly unstoppable at the plate, batting. 708 with 17 hits in 24 at-bats.23. Poland Seminary (Poland, Ohio), 0-0
The Bulldogs open their season on March 29 vs. Struthers.24. Canyon (Anaheim, Calif.), 0-0
The Comanches open their season in Bullhead City this week at the Mohave Tournament.25. Gilbert (Ariz.), 9-1
The Tigers have wins over preseason Xcellent 25 members Buchanan and Deer valley and also defeated Basha, a team that figured to be one of the top 5A teams in the state. Won their first nine games before falling to Chandler 3-2 on Friday.