Posted: 9:51 am Monday, February 24th, 2014

Softball: Inside the Top 10, plus this week’s top matchups 

By Jodie Wagner

Just one team in our poll remains unbeaten this week, following losses by Dwyer, Wellington and Jupiter. Top-ranked Palm Beach Gardens moved to 7-0 after earning impressive wins over Jupiter and Palm Beach Central. Pitcher Bailey Whalen tossed a one-hitter with 12 strikeouts against the Warriors and pitched a three-hitter with 13 strikeouts against the Broncos.

Boca Raton moved up three spots this week following two wins against ranked teams. The Bobcats shut out No. 6 Dwyer on Tuesday and handed No. 5 Wellington its first loss on Thursday. Park Vista and Spanish River continue to play well, while King’s Academy and American Heritage have rebounded nicely from early-season losses. West Boca Raton re-enters our poll this week at No. 10.

Here is a look at our top 10 this week:

  1. Palm Beach Gardens (7-0): Impressive start for Gators
  2. Jupiter (6-1): Warriors fall to top-ranked Gardens
  3. Park Vista (6-1): Cobras continue to roll
  4. Boca Raton (6-1): Two wins against ranked teams
  5. Wellington (3-1): First loss to No. 4 Boca
  6. Dwyer (5-1): Offense, pitching key for Panthers
  7. Spanish River (5-1): Sharks move up a spot
  8. American Heritage (3-2): Stallions rebound from 0-2 start
  9. King’s Academy (3-1): Lions have won three straight
  10. West Boca Raton (5-1): Bulls move back into top 10

 

Games to watch this week:

No. 5 Wellington at No. 1 Palm Beach Gardens, Tuesday, 7 p.m.: The Gators are in mid-season form, winning with pitching and clutch hitting. Bailey Whalen has been nearly unhittable for Gardens. The Wolverines dropped their first game to No. 4 Boca last week, but have good hitters and could test the Gators’ pitchers.

Palm Beach Central at No. 6 Dwyer, Wednesday, 7 p.m.: The Broncos dropped out of the poll this week after losses to two ranked teams, but are dangerous on the mound and at the plate. The Panthers lost their first game to No. 4 Boca Raton, but rebounded with two shutout wins.

No. 7 Spanish River at No. 4 Boca Raton, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.: An intriguing matchup between the cross-town Sharks and Bobcats. Boca knocked off two ranked teams last week, and the Sharks had a nice win against John I. Leonard on Thursday to improve to 5-1.