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Thursday, Aug 16, 2018
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HomeTeam 25: Baseball rankings for Tampa Bay

1. Calvary Christian (20-0)

This week: Today vs. Venice, Thursday at Berkeley Prep, Friday at Manatee

The buzz: The Warriors won their third extra inning game this season on Friday, 5-4 in eight innings over Carrollwood Day. They have won 50 straight games and are ranked second in nation by MaxPreps. It seems as if there is a potential loss every week, and this week it's Venice. Ace Nolan Hudi will likely start the district game against Berkeley Prep, and No. 2 starter Braden Halladay went five innings Friday night. Jonny Bunner and Josh Emerson have both started this season and pitched well.

2. Sickles (17-3)

This week: Today vs. Wharton, Thursday at Gaither

The buzz: Aside from Calvary Christian, there may not be a hotter team in the area than the Gryphons. They have now won none straight, including a 10-0 win over Alonso last week. The top seed in the three team Class 8A, District 5 was sewed up last week after a win over Plant. The final four games of the regular season is all about staying sharp.

3. Carrollwood Day (15-2)

This week: Today at Cambridge Christian, Friday vs. Seffner Christian

The buzz: A big game today follows an eight-inning loss to Calvary Christian last Friday. How will the Patriots bounce back in a Class 3A, District 4 game that could solidify the top seed in the district tournament? Frank Furey is having a nice senior year, with a .415 average and a 4-0 record and 0.81 ERA on the mound.

4. Leto (16-4)

This week: Today at Middleton, Thursday vs. Tampa Bay Tech

The buzz: This is a fun team that likes to run on offense and has played very well lately. They are on a nine-game win streak and have taken down King twice and a very good Robinson on Saturday. The Falcons will be the top seed in Class 7A, District 8.

5. Land O'Lakes (16-3)

This week: Today vs. Zephyrhills, Thursday at Mitchell, Friday at Weeki Wachee

The buzz: The Gators have won 14 straight. They have locked down the top spot in Class 6A, District 7. With a team average of .249, they don't hit the ball all over the field. But pitching and defense has been very good. The Gators have a team ERA of 1.27.

6. Plant (15-4)

This week: Today vs. Hillsborough, Thursday at Freedom

The buzz: There are usually lulls in a season, and the Panthers are going through one. They have lost two of three, including 4-1 to Steinbrenner last week. That was Steinbrenner's first district win and it knocked Plant to the No. 2 seed. Plant and Steinbrenner will play each other in a semifinal that will determine which team moves on to regionals.

7. Bishop McLaughlin (15-4)

This week: Today at Lakeland Christian, Thursday vs. Winter Haven All Saints

The buzz: Two Class 3A, District 4 games this week for the Hurricanes. If they win them both they will be the No. 2 seed behind Carrollwood Day in the district tournament. They picked up a nice district win last week over Cambridge Christian and appear to be playing well at the right time.

8. Newsome (12-5)

This week: Tuesday vs. East Bay, Thursday at Plant City, Saturday vs. Bloomingdale

The buzz: By beating Palm Harbor University last week, the Wolves ended district play 5-1 and will be the top seed in the Class 9A, District 8 tournament. A three-game week, then two more next week should get them ready for the postseason.

9. King (16-5)

This week: Today at Freedom, Thursday vs. Alonso

The buzz: Let's just assume that, like Plant, King is going through a rough patch. They have lost two straight and scored three runs total in those losses. They have two weeks to wake the bats back up. Justice Thompson is the top hitter right now with a .400 average and a team-high eight doubles.

10. Nature Coast (18-3)

This week: Today at Central, Thursday vs. Hernando

The buzz: The week started with an 11-4 win against Lecanto. The last two games this week are Class 5A, District 7 rivals. Despite the loss to Fivay, the Sharks can still be the top seed in the district tournament with wins this week.

11. Jefferson (13-5)

This week: Today at Gaither, Thursday at Bloomingdale, Saturday vs. Hillsborough

The buzz: The Dragons had a very good week, with district wins over Spoto and Jesuit and then a win over King on Saturday. That makes five straight wins. Mark Degusipe pitched very well against Jesuit and Robby Martin, an FSU commit, is not only dangerous offensively but is a deadly closer.

12. Cambridge Christian (14-3)

This week: Today vs. Carrollwood Day, Thursday vs. Sarasota Out-of-Door Academy, Friday vs. Clearwater

The buzz: This is a tough stretch for the Lancers. They have lost two straight and face a very good Carrollwood today. If the Lancers win they will either be the No. 3 or 4 seed in the Class 3A, District 4 tournament.

13. Plant City (12-5)

This week: Today at Tampa Bay Tech, Thursday vs. Newsome

The buzz: The Raiders dropped a 2-1 game to Bloomingdale last week but bounced back with a 10-2 win over East Bay. Newsome is certainly the big game this week. The Raiders will be the No. 2 seed behind Bloomingdale in the Class 8A, District 6 tournament.

14. Fivay (14-6)

This week: Tuesday vs. Gulf, Thursday at River Ridge

The buzz: The Falcons got one of those much needed confidence boosters on Tuesday when they defeated district rival Nature Coast 5-2. It should continue this week. There are only three regular-season games left before the district tournament starts on April 30.

15. Hernando (15-5)

This week: Today vs. Cypress Creek, Thursday at Nature Coast

The buzz: The Leopards gave coach Tim Sims his 400th career win on Tuesday against Hudson. It's now up to 403 wins after victories over Weeki Wachee and Ridgewood. On Monday, the Leopards kept it going with a 10-6 win over Lecanto. Nature Coast is the last district game of the regular season.

16. Bloomingdale (13-5)

This week: Today vs. Strawberry Crest, Thursday vs. Jefferson, Saturday at Robinson

The buzz: The Bulls ended Class 8A, District 6 play with wins over Plant City and Riverview. They will be the top seed when the tournament begins. Dominic Gonnella is hitting .439 and has three triples.

17. East Lake (15-6)

This week: Wednesday at Countryside, Friday vs. Countryside

The buzz: The Eagles were shut out by St. Petersburg's Kyle Kramer to end last week. That was a Class 8A, District 7 game that dropped them into a tie for the top spot with Countryside. Barring a split, that should work itself out this week. East Lake has lost two of its last three.

18. Sunlake (12-6)

This week: Thursday at Springstead, Friday vs. Pasco

The buzz: The Seahawks didn't play last week but will be busy in the final two weeks of the regular season. They have two games this week and four next week prior to the Class 7A, District 10 tournament. They are the top seed.

19. Mitchell (14-5)

This week: Today vs. Springstead, Thursday vs. Land O'Lakes, Saturday at Zephyrhills

The buzz: A light week last week is followed by three games this week. The Mustangs have won two after losing two the week before. They finished second behind Sunlake in Class 7A, District 10.

20. Wharton (13-5)

This week: Today at Sickles, Thursday vs. Armwood

The buzz: The Wildcats have been a little inconsistent during the past two weeks. Last week, a loss to Strawberry Crest was followed by a win over Alonso. It's not going to get any easier against Sickles.

21. Strawberry Crest (11-6)

This week: Today at Bloomingdale, Thursday at Riverview, Saturday vs. Lennard

The buzz: The Chargers are on a good run. They have won six straight and have three shutouts in that streak. They have four good arms, led by Damien Torres (4-1, 1.59 ERA, 37 strikeouts, 26 ⅓ innings).

22. Springstead (14-6)

This week: Today at Mitchell, Thursday vs. Sunlake

The buzz: A lopsided loss to South Sumter was followed by a lopsided win over Citrus last week. The Eagles are hoping to end the regular season on a high note, but the game this week are difficult. Nature Coast and Hernando await the week after.

23. Jesuit (13-7)

This week: Today at Blake, Thursday at Spoto, Saturday at IMG

The buzz: The Tigers are a bit banged up right now. Shortstop McGuire Weaver is out with a back injury but should be back soon. Outfielder Joel Brewer is also expected back soon from injury. If Jesuit wins against Blake and Spoto, as expected, then there will be a three-way tie in Class 6A, District 8. It will be broken by picking numbers out of a hat.

24. Dunedin (13-7)

This week: Today vs. Osceola (Dunedin spring tournament)

The buzz: The Falcons will try to defend their spring tournament title this week against a less than dominant field. They did go 6-0 in Class 6A, District 9 so they could make another run in the postseason.

25. Robinson (11-7)

This week: Tuesday at Steinbrenner, Thursday vs. Chamberlain

The buzz: The Knights beat Jesuit 5-2 in 10 innings last week, which vaulted them into a tie for the top spot in Class 6A, District 8. Despite their record, they are a pesky team that appears to be getting better with each game.

On the bubble: Northeast (13-7), Berkeley Prep (13-7), Northside Christian (11-6), Clearwater Central Catholic (11-7), Lakewood (14-8), Gaither (11-7).

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