As many of you saw in the previous post, due to a scheduling snafu, these rankings you see before you are not in today’s edition of The Journal News. Next week’s Lohud rankings, however, will be. Below, I’ve listed what I believe to be the top 10 teams through the first two weeks of the season, as well as some teams that are on my radar.
I’d like to remind you that these rankings are obviously likely to change dramatically throughout the rest of the month. I have a list of teams on my “to-see” list, plus a lot of teams haven’t gotten into the thick of their seasons yet. If you’re not in the top 10, or on the radar, you probably just have to wait a little bit.
Please don’t take anything as a sign of disrespect. If you feel you should be in the top 10 or at least on the radar, please comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org explaining why. Improper comments will be edited or deleted; emails will not receive a response.
Player of the week posts will begin this Sunday, Apr. 19. Submit nominations with stats via comments, Twitter or email.
1. Clarkstown South (1-0): Even though the Vikings have only played one game so far, their preceded reputation and a 16-2 drubbing of rivals Clarkstown North is good enough to grab the top spot. I considered putting Ketcham at the top, so we’ll see if that changes next week. Both teams have tough matchups against (spoiler alert) top-10 teams on Thursday – Clarkstown South vs. North Rockland, Ketcham vs. John Jay-East Fishkill – so next week’s rankings will almost certainly feature some changes.
2. Ketcham (3-0): I have two or three separate people bring up Ketcham to me this year, and their remarks have been nearly identical: “That Bombace girl is a beast.” Andrea Bombace, the Indians’ Syracuse-committed slugger, has already homered three times in three games.
3. Brewster (4-0): Maybe this is too overvalued of a ranking, maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s because I saw Brewster put on a hitting clinic Wednesday, maybe it’s not. Here’s what I know: Tuesday’s win against John Jay-East Fishkill earned Brewster some love, and, more importantly, respect. The Bears (pictured) have a solid lineup from top to bottom, they can hit for average and power, they can field, they have great softball IQ, solid pitching and an enormous chip on their shoulder; and that is a recipe for disaster for area teams. #FactsOnly
4. North Rockland (4-1): Another pick I might get killed for, the Red Raiders are the highest-ranked team that has actually been beaten this year, and it wasn’t to any of the previous three teams (Ursuline). Here are the facts: North Rockland beat Pearl River, Tappan Zee and Suffern; all quality teams throughout the county. Yes, it lost to Ursuline, but a pop fly cost it the game; not a diving “if-she-would’ve-caught-that-the-game-would’ve-been-over” attempt, but a routine, infield pop-up that is probably caught 98 out of 100 times. I think it’s also important to note that the game was North Rockland’s season opener. Since then, the Red Raiders have been rolling.
5. John Jay-East Fishkill (2-1): Our preseason No. 1 team, the Patriots suffered a 2-1 loss to Brewster to knock them off the throne, but are hardly looked down upon by opposing teams. John Jay-East Fishkill travels to Ketcham on Thursday, where a road win will provide a nice boost in confidence and rank.
6. Arlington (3-1): Like most, rather all Dutchess schools, we don’t get to see Arlington, so I’m going off word of mouth and matchups. The Admirals have quality wins against Fox Lane, Suffern and Ursuline, which was won with an extra-innings grand slam, and a quality loss in Ketcham.
7. Ursuline (2-1): It’s been an unusual start to the season for the Koalas – first they win with the help of a massive fielding blunder by North Rockland; then they lose on an extra-innings grand slam; then they throw a combined no-hitter. I would like a larger sample size before I can make a definitive statement on Ursuline, but I liked what I saw when it played North Rockland. The Koalas are absolutely in the mix, but finding out where they belong remains to be seen.
8. Valhalla (2-0): I was really bummed that my planned coverage of Valhalla-Rye Neck got rained out. I should be at Monday’s matchup, which should give me a decent feel on both teams. While this is my first year on the softball beat, experience has taught me that the majority of the overall talent in the section (team-wise) is in Class AA, with some in Class A. However, experience has also taught me that there are lower-class teams (Haldane volleyball) that are right in the mix. Valhalla could be a top-five team, or a bottom-five team; but it definitely belongs.
The Vikings have a massive test on Saturday at North Rockland, which will tell me much more than the Rye Neck game. I’m off Saturday for my birthday (oops), but since the game is in Thiells, if I can swing by before my plans at night, best believe that I will be there.
9. Rye Neck (4-0): Just to reiterate the point, Monday’s game should be a terrific indicator of where Valhalla and Rye Neck should be. The Panthers haven’t been scoring a truckload of runs, but when Diana King is striking out 14 a game and allowing only one or two hits, you don’t need much run support. I may be new to softball, but I know that it’s tough to win in any sport when you can’t score against the other team.
10. Pearl River (2-1): Another team off to a wacky start, the Pirates went from grinding out three hits against North Rockland to tossing a perfecto against Eastchester. Pearl River’s lineup is more balanced than I think many expected, with Colleen McCoy (right) and Emily Turilli swinging hot sticks, and its defense looks solid. The Pirates hit a nice stretch of games at the end of the month (Apr. 23 vs. Suffern, Apr. 28 at Tappan Zee), so we’ll how the rest of their April goes.
On the radar: Suffern (4-2), Ardsley (3-0), Hen Hud (5-0, plans to see it next week), Harrison (2-1, seeing later today), Haldane (1-0).
All photos used in this post were taken by staff members of The Journal News