While some of the best high school softball teams in the Midwest and East are still warming up and have only played a handful of games this spring, it's a different story in other parts of the country where state playoffs are already underway.
Pembroke Pines Charter of Florida, which continues this week as the top-ranked team in the nation in the Rivals.com FAB 50, won last week by 13-0 over Monsignor Pace of Miami in the Class 4A state regional quarterfinals.
This week, Pembroke Pines, which ended its regular season at 26-0 including championships at the Nike Faster to First Classic in California and at the Kissimmee Klassic back in its home state, takes on Archbishop McCarthy of Fort Lauderdale in the regional semifinals. A state title in Class 4A in Florida for Pembroke Pines also would mean a 31-0 record and a solid claim to the FAB 50 mythical national championship.
Should Pembroke Pines falter, the team it beat in the title game of the Faster to First Classic, Sheldon of Sacramento, or another top California team like Santiago of Corona could move up to the No. 1 position.
Since the last rankings two weeks ago, the highest-rising team would be Elyria of Elyria, Ohio, which went 4-0 at the prestigious Wendy's Classic in Ashland, Ohio. In that tourney, Elyria knocked off the top-ranked team from Ohio coming into the week, Hoover of North Canton, and also posted wins over two other teams that are No. 1 in their respective states - Lake Park of Roselle, Illinois, and Avon of Indiana. Last week, Elyria rolled on with a 10-0 win in five innings over Lakewood as Tess Sito (11-0) struck out 10 batters and hit two home runs.
The biggest headlines over the last two weeks involving a ranked team, however, came from Michigan where previous No. 25 Cabrini of Allen Park had its state-record win streak snapped at 80 games. Notre Dame Prep of Pontiac did the honors with a 2-0 victory in the first game of a doubleheader on a one-hitter with six strikeouts by Katie Kowaleski. She also drove in the game-winning run on a single, then scored the other run.
Cabrini, which also had the longest current win streak in the nation, came back to win the second game of that doubleheader against Notre Dame Prep, 11-0. And while the team also split a doubleheader last weekend with Devine Child of Dearborn, Cabrini was left in this week's FAB 50 because it also has a doubleheader sweep of defending largest class state champ Regina of Harper Woods plus it has a 1-0 win over another defending state champ, Unionville-Sebawaing Area.
Kudos to Cabrini for its long win streak and for the obvious strengthening of its schedule.
Read below for the new Rivals.com FAB 50 national rankings for softball:
(Listed with most currently reported win-loss record heading into week of April 21-25) (Previous FAB 50 ranking in parentheses)
1. Pembroke Pines Charter (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) 27-0 (1)
2. Sheldon (Sacramento, Calif.) 19-1 (2)
3. Santiago (Corona, Calif.) 21-1 (6)
4. Eau Gallie (Melbourne, Fla.) 28-1 (4)
5. Broad Run (Ashburn, Va.) 8-0 (5)
6. Klein Oak (Klein, Texas) 20-1 (3)
7. Shadle Park (Spokane, Wash.) 11-0 (7)
8. Escondido (Escondido, Calif.) 21-0-2 (9)
9. Aledo (Aledo, Texas) 28-1 (8)
10. Butler (Charlotte, N.C.) 17-0 (10)
11. Smithson Valley (Spring Branch, Texas) 24-2 (13)
12. Simi Valley (Simi Valley, Calif.) 21-0 (14)
13. Sunrise Mountain (Peoria, Ariz.) 27-2 (34)
14. Lincoln (Tallahassee, Fla.) 24-1 (15)
15. Kennedy (La Palma, Calif.) 20-3 (16)
16. Jesuit (Portland, Ore.) 17-0 (17)
17. Garland (Garland, Texas) 23-4-2 (50)
18. Canyon del Oro (Tucson, Ariz.) 25-4 (24)
19. Byrd (Shreveport, La.) 30-1-1 (20)
20. Elyria (Elyria, Ohio) 11-0 (nr)
21. Sparkman (Harvest, Ala.) 42-4 (22)
22. Central Davidson (Lexington, N.C.) 18-0 (23)
23. Basha (Chandler, Ariz.) 26-3 (11)
24. Norco (Norco, Calif.) 20-4 (31)
25. Coronado (Lubbock, Texas) 33-1 (35)
26. Mandarin (Jacksonville, Fla.) 23-2 (36)
27. Hoover (North Canton, Ohio) 12-1 (25)
28. Ooltewah (Chattanooga, Tenn.) 26-3-1 (21)
29. Brazoswood (Brazoswood, Texas) 19-3 (45)
30. Mt. Carmel (San Diego, Calif.) 19-3 (41)
31. Lake Park (Roselle, Ill.) 10-1 (38)
32. Brenham (Brenham, Texas) 29-1 (36)
33. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) 15-2-1 (46)
48. Tom's River East (Tom's River, N.J.) 13-0 (nr)
49. Naples (Naples, Fla.) 24-3 (nr)
50. Ryle (Union, Ky.) 14-2 (27)
Dropped Out: Previous No. 12 Regina (Harper Woods, Mich.); No. 19 Katy (Katy, Texas); No. 29 Wren (Piedmont, S.C.); No. 32 San Pedro (San Pedro, Calif.); No. 34 Castle (Newburgh, Ind.); No. 38 Chesapeake (Pasadena, Md.); No. 40 El Modena (Orange, Calif.); No. 44 Valencia (Valencia, Calif.); No. 47 Wheeling Central (Wheeling, W. Va.); No. 49 Notre Dame (Lawrenceville, N.J.).
About Student Sports We provide national high school content for SPARQ and Rivals.com and previously published Student Sports Magazine for 11 years. We produce the Nike Football Training Camps, EA SPORTS Elite 11 Quarterback Camp, the EA SPORTS All-American teams, the Area Code Games for baseball and numerous television projects. Student Sports also owns and operates 11 different high school-based web sites that can all be seen on the Rivals.com network.