JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The News4Jax.com Super 6 high school softball weekly rankings will be published each Wednesday during the season. Records are through April 17 games.
No., Team, Record, Class, Previous
1. Oakleaf (17-2), Class 8A, 1
Notable wins: Atlantic Coast, Clay, Cooper City, Fleming Island, Fletcher (twice), Gainesville (twice), Lake Region, Mandarin, Middleburg, Ridgeview, St. Thomas Aquinas, Trinity Christian, West Nassau.
Glance: The Knights came up short against MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national No. 1 Lakewood Ranch in a 5-4 loss last Saturday. It’s a testament to how strong Lakewood Ranch is. The Mustangs had just played in a 14-inning, 2-0 game against Gainesville and struck out a whopping 26 times against ace Alissa Humphrey. They had one strong inning against Oakleaf, a four-run fifth, and that was enough to stop the Knights. Since the Region 1 (potentially Oakleaf) and Region 3 champs face off in the state semis, and Lakewood Ranch is in Region 2, we may see an Oakleaf-Lakewood Ranch matchup in the state championship game, should both teams get there. Oakleaf will try and claim its third straight Kissimmee Klassic on Wednesday night against 19-2 Bartow. It’s the completion of a weather-delayed Klassic final from 10 days ago.
2. Mandarin (19-1), Class 9A, 2
Notable wins: Atlantic Coast, Baldwin, Bartram Trail, Episcopal, First Coast, Fletcher, Marshall County, Paxon, Ridgeview, Sandalwood (twice).
Glance: The Mustangs are sailing along. They blanked previous No. 4 Bartram Trail (5-0) in a Super 6 showdown last week, and have coasted thus far in the Gateway Conference tournament. Should the Mustangs make it past Fletcher in Wednesday’s semifinal, they will face First Coast or Paxon for the championship Thursday at 6. Mandarin has won five Gateway titles since 2010 (2010-’12, ’14 and ’16).
3. Creekside (13-3), Class 7A, 5
Notable wins: George Jenkins, LaBelle, Marshall County, Nease, Ponte Vedra, Trinity Christian, Westminster Christian.
Glance: The Knights make the big jump of the week after they pushed their winning streak to 10 games. They edged Trinity 3-2 on Tuesday night in a walk-off victory, pushing two across in the bottom of the seventh. The Knights close with some challenging games, Providence (Thursday), at a quality Middleburg team (April 23), at No. 2 Mandarin (April 25) and home against rival Ponte Vedra (April 26).
4. Baker County (17-5), Class 6A, 3
Notable wins: Atlantic Coast, Bradford, Clay, Fleming Island, Hilliard (twice), Marshall County (Ken.), Montverde, Paxon, Trinity Christian, West Nassau.
Glance: The Wildcats have won five of their last six, although dropped an 8-6 game to a 10-11 West Orange on Tuesday night. Not much reason to move Baker County down much further than this. They close against Oakleaf (April 23) and Baldwin (April 25).
5. Bartram Trail (17-5), Class 7A, 4
Notable wins: Creekside, Episcopal, First Coast, Middleburg (twice), Nease, Providence, Sandalwood.
Glance: The Bears hang on in the poll after ending a three-game losing streak (Middleburg, Mandarin, Yulee) with wins in the conference tournament (Menendez, 17-0 and Middleburg 6-1). On top of a game against a very good throwing Fleming Island team on Wednesday night, the Bears have games at Yulee (Monday) and Clay (April 24) as challenges before the end of the season. While they’ve beaten Creekside for seeding purposes in district, Bartram will likely enter a potential district title game against the Knights as slight underdogs.
6. Trinity Christian (11-6), Class 4A, 6
Notable wins: Baldwin, Clay, Ponte Vedra, Providence, Suwannee (twice), West Nassau.
Glance: The Conquerors dropped a 3-2 game to No. 3 Creekside on Wednesday night, giving up two runs in the bottom of the seventh. No denying that Trinity has struggled in the second half of the season, but I think the Conquerors are still in good position for a district title. Columbia is the team that is pushing for either the No. 5 or 6 spot this week.
Others: Atlantic Coast (10-7, Class 8A), Baldwin (9-9, Class 4A), Clay (12-9, Class 6A), Columbia (14-6, Class 7A), Episcopal (7-5, Class 4A), Fleming Island (9-5, Class 8A), Hilliard (10-7, Class 1A), Keystone Heights (15-6, Class 5A), Middleburg (9-8, Class 7A), Ponte Vedra (10-10, Class 6A), Providence (12-6, Class 4A), Ridgeview (15-7, Class 6A), St. Johns Country Day (10-4, Class 3A), University Christian (13-2, Class 3A), West Nassau (13-9, Class 5A), Yulee (11-9, Class 5A).