Week 8: FAB 50 High School Rankings
By Mark Tennis
Two teams on the rise in this week’s FAB 50 High School National softball rankings for different reasons are new No. 9 Cape Fear of Fayetteville, N.C., and new No. 10 Sheldon of Sacramento, Calif.
Cape Fear has been one of the top programs in North Carolina for several years and continued to roll with an unbeaten season by beating Whiteville (N.C.) 7-2 last week. One of the Colts’ leading players is senior Haley Cashwell, who recently scored the 200th run of her career and has set a new state association record.
While Cape Fear’s rise is due to continued success and other teams’ losing, Sheldon was given a boost by a rival school. The week began for the Huskies when they scored four times in the bottom of the seventh to beat Elk Grove 5-4. That was a team that handed Sheldon its only loss earlier in the season. Elk Grove, which is one of this week’s FAB 50 newcomers, then made that win look even better by winning the platinum division title at the NorCal Classic. Previous FAB 50 No. 27 Clovis (Calif.) was one of five state Top 20 teams in that tourney.
Other than previous No. 7 Oakleaf of Florida hopping idle Gahr (Cerritos, Calif.) to No. 5, the rest of the top 10 in this week’s rankings remained the same.
Two other teams making strong bids are new No. 23 Lady Bird Johnson (San Antonio, Texas) and new No. 29 Cibola (Yuma, Ariz.).
Lady Bird took on previous No. 13 Carroll (Corpus Christi, Texas) in a major matchup in Texas and pulled out a 2-1 win in nine innings. The Jaguars, who’ve been in the top 25 themselves this season, were led by pitcher Caitlyn C olquhoun, who hurled a four-hitter and had 11 strikeouts.
Cibola, meanwhile, has been a team from a smaller school division in Arizona that has been held back somewhat in the FAB 50 due to strength of schedule issues. Last week, though, the girls stepped up to play Perry (Gilbert, Ariz.) and won 4-1. Junior Jannay Jones pitched a five-hitter while freshman Christina Robles knocked out a pair of doubles in the win. If teams like Cibola around the country don’t play a game like that against Perry, it’s almost impossible to get ranked high, especially when there are so many top teams loaded with D1 talent playing each other in California, Florida and Texas. A few weeks ago, Perry won two games against a Hamilton of Chandler team from Arizona that has also been in the FAB 50 this season.