Video: Candidate for softball play of the year
Zoe Nolte of Carlsbad goes back and takes one away.
Canyon (New Braunsfels, Texas) has been No. 1 for five weeks now and it is the only one of four ranked Texas teams to survive last weekend's fifth round of the playoffs.
As a result, pitching strong Canyon remains atop this week's MaxPreps Xcellent Top 25 national high school softball rankings.
Just how pitching strong is Canyon?
and Aliyah Pritchett
combined for a no-hitter Friday as the Cougars blanked Warren 2-0 in the Region IV-6A final to advance to the state Final Four. Vestal, who has signed with Oklahoma, also homered.
Vestal and Pritchett have combined for 25 wins against just a 1-0 loss and get much of the publicity, but freshman Hunter Vestal
The Cougars are more than just pitching strong. A dozen players are hitting over .300 and six are batting above .400. Thirteen of their wins are by run-rule margins. Pritchett leads the team with a .500 average and the Vestal sisters are each hitting .450. As a team, Canyon averages nine runs per game.
Canyon faces 26-11 Oak Ridge (Conroe) in Thursday's semifinal game with the winner meeting either 26-4 Plano or 33-7 Atascocita (Humble) in Friday's finale.
Six new teams join the Top 25 this week as five of the six who fell from the Xcellent 25 were ranked in the Top 10. One of those was defending MaxPreps defending National Champion Los Alamitos (Calif.). Last week's No. 2 Katy (Texas) also saw its season end with a loss.
East Carter (Grayson, Ky.) moves to No. 2 this week as senior Montana Fouts
(Alabama signee) continues to make her argument for National Player of the Year. Fouts is hitting .589 with 57 RBIs, 18 doubles and eight home runs. In the circle, she is 30-0 with 11 no-hitters and 383 strikeouts in 178 innings. She has allowed just one earned run this season with a paltry 0.04 ERA.
Lincoln Way East (Frankfort, Ill.) jumped to No. 3 this week and finds itself very deep into the national title conversation. Neshoba Central (Philadelphia, Miss.) sits at No. 4 this week. Central, which won the Mississippi 5A title two weeks ago, concluded its season unbeaten. No. 5 belongs to San Marcos (CA). Both figure in the title talk as Central didn't lose and San Marcos beat its share of Top 25 teams in 2018.
Don't count out No. 9 Herbert Hoover (Clendenin, W. Va.), the 2018 feel good story of the year. Two years ago, they lost everything to the 1,000-year flood that ravaged portions of West Virginia killing 23 people. This year, they won all 33 games to repeat as state 2A champions.
Jackson (Mill Creek, Wash.) returned to the Top 25 this week after winning the Washington state 4A title. New to the Top 25 this week are South Caldwell (Hudson, N.C.), Champion (Warren, Ohio), Maple Lake (Minn.), Stevens Point (Wis.) and Chino Hills (Calif.).
MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national high school softball rankings
The Cougars defeated 27-6 Warren 2-0 and advanced to the Texas 6A semifinals. It was their third straight playoff shutout and 12th of the season.2. (3) East Carter (Grayson, Ky.), 34-0
The Raiders take on 16-16 Ashland Blazer (Ashland) in regional play on Monday.3. (9) Lincoln-Way East (Frankfort, Ill.), 25-1
East ended the regular season with 22 wins in a row. Season over.4. (4) Neshoba Central (Philadelphia, Miss.), 34-0
The Rockets won their sixth straight state 5A title. Season over.
5. (7) San Marcos (Calif.), 28-2
The Knights knocked Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) from the Xcellent 25 rankings with a 4-0 win in the San Diego Section Open Division. Senior Payton Tidd
won her 18th straight game and pitched her seventh shutout in eight games in out dueling All-American Megan Faraimo
(UCLA signee). It was the Knights' 21st win in a row.6. (12) Norco (Calif.), 27-3
The Cougars, winners of eight straight, take on 28-2 Los Altos (Hacienda Heights) in the California Southern Section large schools semifinals.7. (13) Madison (Vienna, Va.), 23-0
The Redhawks, who've allowed 15 runs this season, take on 21-3 Battlefield (Haymarket) on Tuesday in the 6D regional semifinals. Alex Echazarreta
is 18-0 and has hit nine home runs; teammate Kristin Giery
has 35 RBIs and 10 homers.8. (14) Tualatin (Ore.), 28-0
The Timberwolves are two games away from running the table on the 2018 season. They face 24-5 Oregon City on Tuesday in the state 6A semifinals. Tualatin won the first game between the two teams, 7-2.9. (16) Hoover (Clendenin, W. Va.), 33-0
The Huskies routed Chapmanville Regional 11-1 to repeat as state AA champions. Delani Buckner
did what she did nearly the whole tournament — hang zeroes. In 19 innings in the state tournament, the sophomore hurler gave up just two runs, struck out 29 and walked one. Season over.10. (19) Freedom (Oakley, Calif.), 21-1Vanessa Strong
has pitched three-straight shutouts, including a 2-0 no-hitter with a dozen strikeouts over College Park (Pleasant Hill) in her last outing.11. (18) New Palestine (Ind.), 26-1
The Dragons have won 16 in a row and in their last five games have outscored their opponents 64-1. They play 22-6 Edgewood (Ellettsville) in the opening round of the state 3A tournament on Tuesday. Ashley Prange
has 16 homers and 64 RBIs to lead the Dragons.12. (20) Center Grove (Greenwood, Ind.), 28-1
Since losing, Center Grove has won five straight. Senior Jordyn Rudd
and junior Abby Herbst
have combined for 90 RBIs.13. (17) Donovan Catholic (Toms River, N.J.), 25-0
The Griffins advance to Tuesday's sectional semifinal. Karina Gaskins
has 13 home runs and 50 RBIs.14. (15) Keystone (La Grange, Ohio), 32-0
Keystone defeated Oak Harbor 4-1 and Defiance 8-2 to advance to Thursday's state D2 semifinal against 15-10 Fairfield Union (Lancaster). Senior Madi Nunez
has 11 homers and 65 RBIs and a .567 batting average. Junior Autumn Acord
leads with a .648 average. Junior pitcher Sydney Campbell
is 27-0 with a 0.23 ERA.15. (23) Los Altos (Hacienda Heights, Calif.), 28-
Led by senior pitcher Savannah Diederich
(Mississippi signee), the Conquerors play No. 6 Norco on Tuesday. Diederich is 25-2 and Los Altos has won 19 in a row.16. (NR) Jackson (Mill Creek, Wash.), 25-1
The Timberwolves defeated Monroe 6-3 to win the state 4A title. They also blanked three other teams in going 4-0 at state and closing out the season with nine wins in a row. Six of the final wins were shutouts thrown by junior Iyanla "Ice" Pennington
, who finished the season with 22 wins, an 0.35 ERA and 282 strikeouts in 139 innings. Season over.17. (24) Clovis (Calif.), 31-2
Clovis defeated crosstown rival Buchanan 6-3 in the finals of the California Central Section D1 tournament to conclude the season with 15 wins in a row. Season over.18. (NR) South Caldwell (Hudson, N.C.), 28-2
The Spartans carry a 25-game win streak into Friday's state 4A championship series with 23-5 Jack Britt (Fayetteville).19. (21) White Knoll (Lexington, S.C.), 32-2
The Timberwolves won the state 5A championship. Season over.20. (25) Coral Springs Charter (Coral Springs, Fla.), 30-2
The Panthers closed the season with 15 straight wins and the state 6A title. Season over.21. (22) Bentonville (Ark.), 31-3
Bentonville captured the state 7A championship. Season over.22. (NR) Champion (Warren, Ohio), 29-0
The Golden Flashes have won 37 in a row over two seasons and in 29 games this season have allowed 16 runs. They face 25-2 North Union (Richwood) in Friday's state 3A semifinals.23. (NR) Maple Lake (Minn.), 22-0
Batting .410, Maple Lake ended the regular season unbeaten and averaging 11 runs per game.24. (NR) Stevens Point (Wis.), 19-0
The Panthers, who have a .400 team batting average, opened the state large school playoffs with a 14-0 win over Eau Claire. Up next: 19-6 Superior.25. (NR) Chino Hills (Calif.), 30-4
Known for their hitting, the Huskies have won five of their last season by shutout. Freshman pitcher Kendall Mangel
is 26-2 with a 1.27 ERA. She beat Pacifica (Garden Grove) with a three-hitter Thursday for her third-straight shutout.Dropped out:
Katy (Texas), Los Alamitos (Calif.), Fort Myers (Fla.), Oakleaf (Orange Park, Fla.), Keller (Texas) and Cathedral Catholic (San Diego).