News4Jax Super 6 softball: Teams trade spaces in this week’s rankings

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – High school softball season is in full swing and so are our News4Jax Super 6 rankings. They will be published every Wednesday during the regular season. Records are through March 23 games.

Softball Super 6 rankings

Rank, (previous) school, record, classification

1. (2) Oakleaf (9-1, Class 7A)

Notable wins: Clay, Creekside, East Ridge, Episcopal, Gainesville, Providence, Ridgeview.

Glance: Excellent week of work for the Knights, who won their own tournament by plowing through three high quality teams in East Ridge (8-7), Episcopal (8-4) and Gainesville (14-3). Those three teams are a combined 24-10. Ciara Gibson had three hits in the close win over East Ridge. A Clay County showdown against Keystone Heights is on deck Thursday. The Knights remain the measuring stick for area programs but the gap isn’t as wide as it has been, a testament to the quality softball being played by area programs. Khloe Banks (.457) and Gibson (.447) lead the offense among the regulars.

1. (2) Ridgeview (11-2, Class 4A)

Notable wins: Bartram Trail, Clay, Fletcher, Keystone Heights, Oakleaf, Paxon, West Nassau (twice).

Glance: After a week at the top, the Panthers slip a spot after a 2-1 week. Ridgeview had wins over Clay (7-2) and West Nassau (3-2) after dropping a game 7-0 to a 2-11 Atlantic Coast. Quality Ws for the Panthers to bounce back from that loss. Brittany Michael struck out eight in the close win over West Nassau. She continues to be one of the area’s top two-way players. She’s got a team-high 20 hits, has been over .400 all season long, and has a 10-2 record with 111 Ks and an 0.76 ERA in 74 IP. Freshman Haylee McCrea has maintained her solid season, too. She’s at .413. I’ll also take this space to give some credit to Atlantic Coast, which is normally a playoff contender pretty regularly. The Stingrays have had a tough season but have knocked off both Ridgeview and Fleming Island in the past week.

3. (4) Creekside (9-2, Class 6A)

Notable wins: Baker County, Fletcher, Middleburg, Providence, University Christian.

Glance: The Knights remained the area’s hottest team with a 2-0 victory over Middleburg on Tuesday night. They’re in a stretch of four games in four consecutive days, with all four of those against better than average teams. Mandarin is up next on Wednesday night, followed by First Coast and Matanzas, all squads over .500. Freshman Kaylee Martineau fired a complete game against the Broncos. It’s been mentioned in this space before, but Creekside has a fascinating blend of seniors and underclassmen. Madison Bratek (.541, 12 RBI), one of just five seniors on the Knights, leads the offense. This team is set up to be very good now, but even stronger in the coming years.

4. (3) Trinity Christian (8-2, Class 2A)

Notable wins: Bartram Trail, Providence, West Nassau.

Glance: Trinity has been off since our last Super 6, so a slight drop due to inactivity and the surge of Creekside. But the Conquerors get back into action Thursday and Friday with games against Ponte Vedra and then a Fletcher squad that has won five of its last six. MacKenzie Marell (.562), Breezy Burnett (.545), Morgan McMillan (.484) and Amaya Ross (.467) lead the big bats of the Conquerors.

5. (NR) Episcopal (5-3, Class 3A)

Notable wins: Middleburg, West Nassau.

Glance: The Eagles return to the Super 6 this week in what has been the most challenging week of rankings to date. Episcopal has lost just once to a local team (Oakleaf). Its other two defeats are to Apopka and Lake Brantley, teams that are a combined 19-4. Episcopal just hasn’t played a lot at this point of the season. But the challenges are on the way, starting with a Wednesday game against Fletcher that touches off a very difficult seven-game stretch that includes the likes of Ridgeview, Paxon, Clay, Mandarin, Bartram Trail and University Christian. Kami Eppley (.480), Grace Jones (.440) and Peyton Namyslowski (.435) are above the .400 mark. Jones and Maddie Latta have combined for an 0.54 EA and 88 Ks in 52 IP.

6. (6) West Nassau (7-4, Class 3A)

Notable wins: East Ridge, Keystone Heights, Middleburg.

Glance: Somewhat of an odd week for No. 5-6 slots. The Warriors went 1-2 since our last Super 6, a 3-0 loss to Episcopal and a 3-2 loss to Ridgeview. They also had a 7-6 win over a high quality East Ridge team. The other contenders for this spot were Baldwin, Bartram Trail, Fletcher and Baker County. The Indians lost to Paxon after a 10-0 start. The Senators dropped a game to Bartram. Baker lost to East Ridge and Montverde. Bartram is the strongest contender to break back in to the Super 6, winners of three straight after a loss to Nease. So, the Warriors hold on to the 6 spot this week over Bartram.

Dropped out: Baker County (7-4, Class 4A).

Others: Baker County (7-4, Class 4A); Baldwin (10-1, Class 3A); Bartram Trail (7-3, Class 7A); Clay (7-5, Class 4A); First Coast (5-1, Class 6A); Fletcher (7-3, Class 6A); Keystone Heights (6-4, Class 3A); Mandarin (4-3, Class 7A); Paxon (4-3, Class 4A); Providence (4-3, Class 3A); Union County (7-4, Class 1A); University Christian (2-1, Class 2A).

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