In addition to winning their sixth-straight Maryland 3A state title and running their win streak to 79, the Northern High School Patriots can add MaxPreps National Champions to their list of accomplishments.
Opening the season ranked No. 2, Northern (Owings, Md.) moved atop MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Softball Rankings on April 8 and never looked back. As a result, No. 1 is where Northern will finish the season.
Since last losing in 2010, Northern has put together back-to-back-to-back unbeaten seasons. The Patriots went 21-0 in 2011, and after winning all 25 games in 2012, the Patriots were 23-0 this year. During that three-year span and 69 consecutive victories, Northern has outscored its opponents 680 to 27. And in 55 of those 69 wins, the opponents failed to score.
In 2013, the Patriots allowed just one run, while scoring 201. The lone run — allowed in a 7-1 win over La Plata on May 3 — was unearned. And that lone run came in the seventh inning ... with two outs.
The key to coach Robert Earl Radford's 2013 squad was junior pitcher Jess Cummings
. She pitched all but six innings and was 22-0 with 21 shutouts in 22 games. In 135 innings, she struck out 298 and walked 28. She allowed only 18 base hits while pitching nine no-hitters, eight one-hitters and five two-hitters. The most hits she allowed in any game was two.
Opponents batted .041 against Cummings, who has committed to Penn State. She struck out 10 or more 21 times and had a season high 20 strikeouts in a no-hitter against Patuxent.
As a team, the Patriots batted .347 and committed only 14 errors on the season.
Freshman Kassidy Cross
led Northern in hitting with a .519 batting average. Five seniors batted over .300 — Erin Adams
(,424), Carleigh Ruleman
(.412), Kristina Lozupone
(.379), Julie Keleti
(.304) and Kierstie Schaefer
(.365) and sophomore Sarah Bennett
Northern finished No. 4 in 2012.
Lake City (Couer d'Alene, Idaho) finished No. 2 after winning all 28 of its games and captured its second state 5A title in three seasons.
Unbeatens Greenwood (Bowling Green, Ky.) and Hoover (North Canton, Ohio) finished 2013 at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively. In winning 44 games, Greenwood set a Kentucky record for most wins in a season and most consecutive wins.
New to the Xcellent 25 Poll was Canon-McMillan (Canonsburg, Pa.) at No. 30. Canon nipped Neshaminy (Langhorne) 4-3 in 12 innings to win the Class AAAA Pennsylvania softball championship. It was the longest Class AAAA state-title softball game in Pennsylvania history.
And let's not forget 25-2 West Fargo (N.D.), which won its 16th-straight state title two weeks ago. It checks in at No. 87.MaxPreps Final 2013 Top 100 Softball Rankings1. Northern (Owings, Md.), 23-0
Northern won its sixth straight 3A state title and will enter 2014 season with a 79-game winning streak.2. Lake City (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho), 28-0
The Timberwolves captured their second 5A state title in three years. The T'Wolves have won 77 of their last 79 games and two state titles (2011 and 2013).
3. Greenwood (Bowling Green, Ky.), 44-0
Greenwood won a state title and set a Kentucky softball record with 44 wins and became Kentucky's first team to complete an unbeaten season.4. Hoover (North Canton, Ohio), 34-0
The Vikings won their third straight state title and seventh in school history in finishing without a loss.5. Curtis (River Ridge, La.), 32-1
Curtis won the Louisiana 2A state title and 64 of its last 65 games.6. Sunrise Mountain (Peoria, Ariz.), 36-1
The Mustangs won the 2013 Arizona D-2 title, its fourth state title in seven years.7. Bishop O'Connell (Arlington, Va.), 30-1
The Knights won the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division I title.8. Alexander Central (Taylorsville, N.C.), 33-1
Central won the 4A state title.9. Logan (Union City, Calif.), 26-1
Won the CIF North Coast Section Division I title for the second year in a row.10. Olathe East (Olathe, Kan.), 24-1
The Hawks repeated as Kansas 6A state champions.11. Chino (Calif.), 26-2
The Cowgirls finished the season with 22 straight wins and a CIF Southern Section D-II title.
12. Milford (Mass.), 25-1
Milford won its second consecutive D1 state championship. 13. Connell (Wash.), 27-0
Won its third straight Washington 1A title.14. Las Cruces (N.M.), 30-1
The Bulldawgs won the Class 5A state title and finished the season with 26 straight wins.15. Boiling Springs (Spartanburg, S.C.), 33-1
The Bulldogs won the State 4A championship and finished the season with 30 straight wins.
16. Coral Reef (Miami), 26-2
The Barracudas won the Florida 8A title.17. North Medford (Medford, Ore.), 29-2
Won second straight State 6A title and has won 60 of last 62 games.18. Estrella Foothills (Goodyear, Ariz.), 33-2
Estrella won the Arizona D-3 title.19. Santiago (Corona, Calif.), 30-5
Santiago defeated Norco 8-2 to win the CIF Southern Section D-I title.20. Vintage (Napa, Calif.), 34-1
The Crushers won their first CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I softball championship. 21. Centennial (Las Vegas), 36-6
The Bulldogs won their final 13 games and 24 of their last 25 in defending their State D-1 title.
22. Sparkman (Harvest, Ala.), 52-8
The Senators captured their second straight 6A state title and fourth overall. Sparkman also won titles in 2006, 2009 and 2012.
23. Kingwood (Texas), 35-4
The Mustangs finished the season as Texas 5A runners-up.24. St. John-Vianney (Holmdel, N.J.), 29-2
Won its third state title in four years by ending Immaculate Heart's 19-game win streak in state title game.25. Valley View (Archbald, Pa.), 25-0
The Cougars won the PIAA Class AAA softball championship.Click 'Next' to see the rest of the Top 100