No. 1-ranked Palm Beach Gardens fended off one of the best teams in the country last week to maintain its spot on top of the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Softball Rankings.
The Gators took on Poland Seminary, last year's Division II champion in Ohio, and captured a 2-0 win. Poland Seminary has one of the top pitchers in the country in Erin Gabriel, who played on Team USA over the summer. However Gabriel only pitched in the latter innings against Palm Beach Gardens.
The day before, Gabriel had pitched a marathon outing against American Heritage (Delray Beach, Fla.), going 16 innings and striking out 34 batters in a 2-1 victory. Poland Seminary also bounced back from its loss to Palm Beach Gardens to beat American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.) and finish 2-1 on its spring break tour of the Sunshine State.
There are very few changes in this week's rankings due to spring break, which resulted in a number of teams being idle.
Only two new members jump on to this week's list and both have win streaks of longer than 30 games. Beech (Hendersonville, Tenn.) returns to the rankings after winning its third tournament of the season and collecting its 32nd-straight win.
Meanwhile, Northern (Owings, Md.) has not lost a game in two years and has a 37-game win streak. The Patriots debut at No. 17 while Beech enters at No. 12.
Dropping out this week are No. 24 Orange Lutheran and No. 25 Torrey Pines.MaxPreps Xcellent 25 National Softball Rankings1. (1 last week) Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.), 25-1
The Gators defeated Suncoast 2-1 and also knocked off Xcellent 25 member Poland Seminary 2-0. Palm Beach Gardens did not face Poland Seminary's Erin Gabriel until the sixth inning. She had pitched 16 innings in her team's previous game against American Heritage (Delray Beach).2. (2) Estrella Foothills (Goodyear, Ariz.), 27-0
The Wolves remained undefeated with a 4-1 win over Verrado and a 14-2 win over Gila Bend.
3. (3) Alexander Central (Taylorsville, N.C.), 16-1Chelsea Wilkinson
won her 100th career game (100-5) with an 8-1 win over defending South Carolina 4A state champion J.L. Mann. Wilkinson also picked up her 72nd career shutout and allowed an infield single for the only hit of the game.
4. (4) Norco (Calif.), 18-1
Norco won its only game of the week, 6-0 over Poly (Riverside), with Emily Lockman
throwing a three-hitter with eight strikeouts.5. (5) Pacifica (Garden Grove, Calif.), 20-1
The Mariners defeated Western (Anaheim) 11-1 in their only game of the week. Faith Canfield
and Libby Pederson
each hit a home run in the win.6. (7) Niceville (Fla.), 22-2
The Eagles defeated a pair of Kentucky teams, topping Male (Louisville) 3-2 and Mercy (Louisville) 13-4. 7. (8) Topsail (Hampstead, N.C.), 18-0
That's two more shutouts for Topsail, which has 14 on the year. Topsail defeated West Brunswick 21-0 and Richmond 12-0. Summer Darnell
had a home run in the win over West Brunswick. Blair Lawrence
was 3-for-3 with a triple and four runs scored in the championship game of the Beach Diamond Tournament against Richmond.8. (9) Walla Walla (Wash.), 8-0Alyson Ambler
was 4-for-9 with two doubles and two home runs in a doubleheader sweep of Chiawana, 9-0 and 21-1. She also picked up both pitching victories. 9. (10) Amador Valley (Pleasanton, Calif.), 13-0
The Dons were off this week for spring break. They resume play this week against San Ramon Valley.10. (11) Keystone (La Grange, Ohio), 10-0
The Wildcat offense has been unstoppable. Last week Keystone defeated Brooklyn 29-2, Firelands 7-0, Amherst Steele 13-1 and Howland 12-0.
11. (12) Poland Seminary (Ohio), 7-1Erin Gabriel
struck out 34 batters in a 16-inning 2-1 win over American Heritage (Delray Beach, Fla.) during Poland Seminary's tour of Florida. The Bulldogs lost to No. 1 ranked Palm Beach Gardens 2-0 (with Gabriel not starting the game in the circle) and then defeated American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.) 2-1.
12. (NR) Beech (Hendersonville, Tenn.), 38-1
The winner of 32 straight games, Beech won its third-straight tournament, capturing the Franklin/Sonic Tournament with an 8-0 win over Wilson Central. Alex Banks
raised her season record to 36-1 with the win.13. (13) Tomball (Texas), 17-2
The Cougars avenged an earlier loss to Klein Collins with a 12-6 victory that included seven runs in the top of the 11th inning. Lexie Comeaux
had two home runs in the win and Kiana Workman
had one.14. (14) Alvin (Texas), 29-3
Alvin won twice in district play last week, beating Clear Springs 9-1 and Clear Lake 9-1.15. (15) The Woodlands (Texas), 21-3
The Highlanders remained undefeated in district play with a 16-3 win over Oak Ridge and a 4-2 win over Kingwood. Jessica Snyder
belted her seventh home run of the season against Oak Ridge.16. (16) Porter Ridge (Indian Trail, N.C.), 18-0
Porter Ridge did not have any games scheduled for last week.
17. (NR) Northern (Owings, Md.), 10-0
The Patriots won their 37th-straight game and defeated Bishop O'Connell (Arlington, Va.), which had been ranked No. 2 in the Washington D.C. metro area, 2-1.18. (6) Eau Gallie (Melbourne, Fla.), 23-2
Eau Gallie lost to Okeechobee 9-2 at the Greyhound Classic in Lincoln Park and finished in fifth place after an 11-5 win over Vero Beach.
19. (17) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.), 16-2
The Monarchs' only game last week, a nonleague matchup with Gilroy, was postponed due to rain.
20. (18) Xavier College Prep (Phoenix), 23-1
Xavier College Prep did not play last week.21. (19) El Diamante (Visalia, Calif.), 21-1
El Diamante won its only game of the week, defeating Lemoore 12-2 with Rylee Pierce
hitting a home run.22. (20) Woodcreek (Roseville, Calif.), 14-1
Woodcreek defeated Granite Bay 2-0 in its only game of the week as Amanda Horbasch
struck out seven and allowed three hits.23. (22) Winter Springs (Fla.), 23-2
Winter Springs goes into the final week of the regular season with two more impressive wins, defeating Seminole (Sanford) 17-2 and Lyman (Longwood) 15-2.
24. (23) Sunrise Mountain (Peoria, Ariz.), 25-1
Sunrise Mountain won three times, defeating Goldwater (Phoenix) twice, 11-0 and 7-2, and Saguaro (Scottsdale) 10-0.25. (21) Plano East (Texas), 26-3
Plano East defeated Hebron 11-1 but fell to Flower Mound 9-2. Two of Plano East's three losses this year are to Flower Mound.Dropped Out:
No. 24 Orange Lutheran, No. 25 Torrey Pines.