With just one week left in the Arizona high school softball regular season, the playoff picture is taking shape. 5A and 4A both have clear favorites while 6A is anyone’s ball game.
Here are the top 10 Republic teams in the state:
1. Surprise Willow Canyon (24-2)
Again, the top of the Super 10 holds little intrigue. Why? Because Willow Canyon and Tucson Salpointe Catholic were almost impossible to beat. The Wildcats have won their two games this week by a combined 32-0 margin and are unlikely to be tested again until the 5A tournament begins.
2. Tucson Salpointe Catholic (23-2)
Salpointe Catholic, meanwhile, won all three of its games this week by a combined margin of 32-1. Thursday’s game against Canyon del Oro, however, will be a huge test before the tournament. If the Lancers can repeat their 14-3 blowout on April 6, it will be hard to see anyone beating them for the 4A title – although Phoenix Greenway, led by ace Kaitlyn Terry, is a team to watch.
3. Tucson Canyon del Oro (27-2-1)
For Canyon del Oro, Thursday’s game is the opposite of Salpointe Catholic’s. The Dorados desperately need to prove that their loss earlier this month isn’t indicative of what’s to come next month.
4. Phoenix Desert Vista (22-6)
Desert Vista followed up their impressive April 7 win over Queen Creek by losing to Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor 2-0 on Tuesday. The loss offered the plan to beat the Thunder: Scratch a run or two together against Jocelyn Briski and stop their offense. This, however, is easier said than done.
5. Queen Creek (19-4)
Regularly, Queen Creek has built a truly impressive resume. After losing to Desert Vista in extras last week, the Bulldogs rebounded with a 10-1 win over Gilbert Perry, a true 6A contender in his own right. After hitting a homer and driving in two runs in that game, sophomore Jade Berry is now up to 12 dingers this season, good for fifth in the state.
6. Tucson High School (21-3-1)
Tucson High has passed up two major chances this season, losing 3-2 to Salpointe Catholic and Mountain View. On Tuesday, however, they finally got the big win they were looking for, knocking out Phoenix Xavier Prep, 5-3.
7. Phoenix Xavier Preparation (15-5)
Every time Xavier Prep seems to be getting back to the form that had his preseason expectations on par with Willow Canyon and Salpointe Catholic, he’s dropping a game like Tuesday’s. The result is a 6A conference that has at least 10 teams with legitimate championship aspirations. To know: The difference in AIA ranking score between Salpointe Catholic and the second highest team in 4A is 7.75. This is the difference between the first and the 14th in 6A.
8. Waddell Canyon View (19-5)
Clearly, 5A’s Desert West division is no match for the Jaguars. In their last four games, they have scored 98 points. Yes, 98.
9. Phoenix Sunnyslope (25-1)
Another week, another easy win streak for Sunnyslope. Thursday’s trip to Phoenix Xavier Prep will be easily the toughest test for the Vikings since losing 1-0 in nine innings to Phoenix Greenway on March 8 — their only loss of the season so far.
10. Mesa Mountain View (22-5)
Mountain View has been in tears since their March 29 win over Mesa Red Mountain. This week, however, is a tough one for the Toros, who are on an eight-game winning streak. First, they travel to Red Mountain on Tuesday for a rematch of that 2-0 win. Then on Wednesday they play at Queen Creek – a team they lost to, 6-3, on March 25.
Theo Mackie covers Arizona high school sports and Phoenix Rising FC. He can be reached by email at [email protected] and on Twitter @theo_mackie.