The 2012 softball season winds down this week with potentially six teams still in contention for the final overall No. 1 ranking in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Softball Rankings.
Amador Valley (Pleasanton, Calif.) is the favorite as it is undefeated, already ranked No. 1 and is the top seed in the North Coast Section playoffs. A strong finish by the Dons would make them the most likely candidate to finish as the No. 1 overall team in the Xcellent 25.
However, Keystone (La Grange, Ohio) also has an excellent chance. An impressive win over No. 9 Poland Seminary in the semifinals and a win in the championship game might be enough to vault Keystone into the No. 1 position even if Amador Valley finishes unbeaten.
Then there is Norco (Calif.). Although not undefeated, Norco plays in the Southern Section Division I playoffs, arguably the toughest bracket in the country. A win there might put Norco on top despite the two losses this season, however Amador Valley and Keystone would likely both have to lose in order for Norco to move up.
Porter Ridge (Indian Trail, N.C.) also has a shot. Wins over Alexander Central and North Davidson have shown that Porter Ridge is the real deal. A victory over Holly Springs in the championship game would give the North Carolina squad a legitimate shot at the No. 1 spot.
Should all four of them falter, No. 5 Northern (Owings, Md.) might be the top team. Northern hasn't lost in two years, has 52 straight wins and has won five straight state championships.
MaxPreps national softball playoff brackets
Plano East (Texas) also can't be discounted. A win in this week's 5A state tournament, another contender for toughest playoff tournament in the country, would make Plano East a great candidate.
MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Softball Rankings1. (1) Amador Valley (Pleasanton, Calif.), 25-0
Defeated Livermore 10-0 in the second round of North Coast Section Division I playoffs.2. (2) Keystone (La Grange, Ohio), 30-0
Defeated Clear Fork (Bellville) 7-5 and Shawnee (Lima) 11-1 to advance to Ohio Division II state semifinals against Poland Seminary.3. (3) Norco (Calif.), 30-2
Defeated Foothill 15-0 to advance to Southern Section Division I semifinals. Defeated Vista Murrieta 4-0 in the semis to advance to the championship game against Santiago (Corona).4. (7) Porter Ridge (Indian Trail, N.C.), 30-0
Defeated North Davidson 2-1 in semifinals. Will face Holly Springs in the North Carolina 4A state championship game.5. (9) Northern (Owings, Md.), 25-0
Won its fifth-straight state championship and its 53rd game in a row with a 10-0 triumph over Linganore in the Maryland 3A state finals.6. (11) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.), 28-2
Defeated Leigh 7-1 in Central Coast Section Division II championship game. Also defeated Gilroy 5-0 in semifinals.7. (13) Plano East (Texas), 35-3
Advanced to the final four with a single-game 5-4 win over Hebron.8. (14) Red Mountain (Mesa, Ariz.), 35-3
Arizona Division I champion. Season over.9. (15) Poland Seminary (Ohio), 26-2
Defeated Woodridge (Peninsula) 3-2 and Archbishop Hoban (Akron) 8-0 to reach Ohio Division II state semifinals against Keystone.10. (42) Woodinville (Wash.), 26-0
Defeated Walla Walla 5-0 for Washington 4A state championship.
11. (43) O'Connor (Helotes, Texas), 31-2
Defeated Holmes in a single-game playoff 9-2 to advance to the Texas 5A Final Four.12. (8) Alexander Central (Taylorsville, N.C.), 29-2
Season over.13. (47) Deer Park (Texas), 29-8
Defeated Pearland 1-0 and 2-0 to advance to Texas 5A Final Four.14. (23) Soddy Daisy (Tenn.), 46-5
Won three straight games before falling to Daniel Boone 2-1 in the Tennessee 3A state tournament. Won the second game with Boone, 7-0, to claim state title.15. (6) The Woodlands (Texas), 30-5
Defending champions were eliminated from the postseason by Klein Collins in a single-game 8-1 loss in the Texas 5A regional finals.16. (16) Bishop O'Connell (Arlington, Va.), 27-1
Season over.17. (17) Tomball (Texas), 25-4
Season over. 18. (NR) Klein Collins (Spring, Texas), 27-3
Defeated The Woodlands 8-1 in the Texas 5A regional finals.19. (18) Pembroke Pines Charter (Fla.), 22-4
Florida 6A state champion. Season over.20. (19) Niceville (Fla.), 29-3
Season over.21. (20) Chamberlain (Tampa, Fla.), 27-4
Florida 7A state champion. Season over.22. (21) Durant (Plant City, Fla.), 24-4
Florida 8A state champion. Season over.23. (22) Eau Gallie (Melbourne, Fla.), 28-3
Season over.24. (45) Vista Murrieta (Murrieta, Calif.), 23-5-1
Defeated Esperanza 3-0 in the third round of the Southern Section
Division I playoffs. Lost to Norco 4-0 in the semifinals to end the
25. (NR) Santiago (Corona, Calif.), 28-9
Defeated Pacifica 4-3 in the third round of the Southern Section
Division I playoffs and topped Edison (Huntington Beach) 6-4 to return
to the section championship game.
The Other 25
26. (24) North Davidson (Lexington, N.C.), 27-4
Lost to Porter Ridge 2-1 in the North Carolina 4A semifinals.27. (26) Allen County (Scottsville, Ky.), 35-4
Lost to Glasgow 1-0 in 15th District championship game. Opened 4th region play with a 12-0 win over Metcalfe County and a 1-0 win over Bowling Green.28. (27) Bryant (Ark.), 34-0
Arkansas 7A state champion. Season over.29. (28) Sparkman (Harvest, Ala.), 38-6
Alabama 6A state champions. Season over.30. (29) Palmetto (Fla.), 23-7
Season over.31. (30) Jupiter (Fla.), 23-7
Season over.32. (31) Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.), 27-3
Season over.33. (32) American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.), 27-4
Florida 5A state champion. Season over.34. (NR) Chino Hills (Calif.), 30-3
Advanced to the Southern Section Division III semifinals.35. (4) Pacifica (Garden Grove, Calif.), 28-3
Lost to Santiago 4-3 in third round of Southern Section Division I playoffs. Season over.36. (33) Basha (Chandler, Ariz.), 33-6
Season over.37. (35) Sam Houston (Lake Charles, La.), 23-4
Louisiana 5A state champion. Season over.38. (36) Canyon del Oro (Tucson, Ariz.), 33-5
Arizona Division II state champion. Season over.39. (5) Walla Walla (Wash.), 26-2
Lost to Woodinville 5-0 in Washington 4A state championship game.40. (37) Sunrise Mountain (Peoria, Ariz.), 33-2
Season over.41. (38) Vestavia Hills (Ala.), 54-9
Season over.42. (39) Gulliver Prep (Miami), 27-5
Florida 4A state champion. Season over.43. (40) Volcano Vista (Albuquerque, N.M.), 29-1
New Mexico 5A state champion. Season over.44. (41) North Medford (Medford, Ore.), 25-1
Defeated Roseburg 3-2, and Forest Grove 2-1 to advance to the Oregon 6A state semifinals against Clackamas on Tuesday.45. (49) Conant (Hoffman Estates, Ill.), 33-3
Defeated Larkin (Elgin) 4-0, Hoffman Estates 5-0 and Hersey (Arlington Heights) 8-1 to advance to the Illinois Division I sectional semifinals Wednesday against Barrington.46. (50) Immaculate Heart Academy (Washington Township, N.J.), 28-0
Won three times last week, beating DePaul 3-0, Passaic 10-0 and Ramapo 2-1.47. (46) Hoover (North Canton, Ohio), 27-3
Defeated Grove City 3-1 and Central Crossing (Grove City) 12-0 to advance to the Ohio Division I state semifinals against Medina.48. (NR) Holly Springs (N.C.), 23-2
Advanced to the North Carolina 4A state championship game where it will take on Porter Ridge.49. (25) Pearland (Texas), 37-7
Lost to Deer Park in two games, 1-0 and 2-0, and was eliminated from the postseason. Season over.50. (48) Katy (Texas), 30-2
Season over.Dropped Out
: No. 10 Beech, No. 12 El Diamante, No. 34 Orange Lutheran, No. 44 Hahnville.