Posted: 3:49 pm Monday, April 16th, 2012
By Jeff Greer
With district tournaments starting Monday and the regional quarterfinals next week, let’s take a quick look at the final rankings of the 2012 softball season.
It comes as no surprise to anyone that Palm Beach Gardens, which is considered the best high school team in the country, has maintained the top spot in our area rankings all season. A few area teams have come close to surprising the Gators (24-1) — Jupiter, Park Vista and Suncoast each came within a run of Gardens — but their only loss came against Jacksonville-Bishop Snyder without ace Shelby Turnier on the mound.
Everything after Gardens is a bit blurry. Park Vista and American Heritage emerged as the season heated up, but Vista’s lost two of its starting pitchers to hand injuries over the past week. Heritage has gone 2-5 over its final seven games, though the Stallions did that against difficult competition. There’s no doubt they’re still the favorite to win the Class 3A title.
Here’s the full top 10, and make sure you check out the district tournament primer for this week’s tournaments.
1. Palm Beach Gardens (24-1)
2. Park Vista (19-6)
3. American Heritage (18-6)
4. West Boca Raton (20-3)
5. Palm Beach Central (17-8)
6. Jupiter (16-6)
7. Seminole Ridge (14-8)
8. King’s Academy (18-5)
9. Boca Raton (16-8)
10. Suncoast (15-8)
Of the remaining teams on the list, West Boca and King’s Academy have the best shots at a state-tournament trip.
In 7A, West Boca would have to travel south eventually to get to Clermont, and teams like St. Thomas Aquinas and Cooper City are down there. But the Bulls are ranked higher in the Miracle Sports statewide 7A poll, for what it’s worth.
In 3A, King’s is the favorite in the Region 3, and the Lions have a great shot at meeting American Heritage (if both teams take care of business) in the state tournament.
Palm Beach Central has enough talent to push Gardens, but it’ll be tough for the Broncos to beat the Gators on their home turf in the district semifinals. Jupiter will go as far as Kylee Hanson’s pitching takes the Warriors. Same goes for Seminole Ridge and ace Alana Tabel. Suncoast would have its hands full if it met Plantation-American Heritage in the 5A regionals next week, and District 15-5A rival Jensen Beach is heating up. Boca has come of late, so the Bobcats are also a team to watch.