Thanks to upsets in the Georgia Class AAAAAAA state tournament, there was no tough decision required for the No. 1 position in the final Extra Elite 25 national rankings for fall softball.
Last year’s consensus national No. 1 for fall states softball, East Coweta of Sharpsburg, Ga., entered this year’s final weeks with a chance to win its state title again and finish unbeaten again. But East Coweta lost twice, clearing the path for upstart Mountain View (Lawrenceville, Ga.) to win the state’s highest class state title.
East Coweta’s losses also makes it a much easier pick of Papillion-La Vista of Papillion, Neb., to be No. 1 in the nation for fall softball this season. That team had already finished its season at 36-0 behind University of Oklahoma-bound pitcher Jordyn Bahl when the previous Extra Elite 25 rankings were compiled.
There were two Colorado schools sitting in the No. 3 and No. 4 positions in the previous rankings and one of those two — Columbine of Littleton — captured the Class 5A state title two weekends ago. The Rebels topped Fossil Ridge of Fort Collins in the championship game 7-1 and have moved up to No. 2 for the final fall national rankings.
Despite giving up a leadoff homer, Columbine pitcher Korbe Otis gave up little else, struck out 13 and was backed up by catcher Ally Distler. She hit two home runs, including a three-run shot in the third inning that put the Rebels in control.
Columbine won its first state title and hadn’t even reached the final since 1995. The team had other top teams in the 1990s when one of the assistant coaches was the late Dave Sanders, who was a victim of the horrendous school shooting at Columbine in 1999.
“I truly believe Dave Sanders was with us,” head coach Jim Santaniello told CHSAANow.com. “His head coach, Rick Bath, has been a mentor to me. He really taught me the tradition of this sport, and without those guys, this wouldn’t be possible.”
With East Coweta, previous No. 5 North Forsythe, No. 8 Wesleyan and many others not winning state title in Georgia, the one Georgia school that did get it done was Locust Grove in Class AAAAA. Combined with its 33-2 final record, Locust Grove moved from No. 14 to No. 3 for the final rankings.
Mountain View won the Class AAAAAAA by getting past Grayson of Loganville 3-1 in a game that started on Saturday, Oct. 26 and ended on Monday, Oct. 28. The Bears were leading 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth when a downpour caused the field to be unplayable.
The teams returned two days later and despite some anxious moments pitcher Sarah Currie got the job done. Mountain View won its first state title. Currie also had an RBI single on Saturday. Teammate Kaylee George went 3-for-3.
The fall season for high school softball ended last weekend in Missouri. For the second straight year it was Blue Springs South earning the Class 4 state title. The Jaguars didn’t have much trouble winning it, either, as they mercy ruled Raymore-Peculiar 10-0 in five innings.
Addie Lightner pitched the shutout and gave up five hits. The offense rolled behind Victoria Bailey (2-for-4, HR, five RBI); Reagan Hecker (three hits); and Bailey Brumley (three hits).
As a reminder, we have included two of the state champions crowned in Iowa from that state’s summer season in the fall season rankings.
Later this school year, in June, when all of the spring softball states are done with their seasons, check back to the ExtraInningSoftball.com site for a special combined final national ranking list including every state from both seasons.
--- By Mark Tennis
(Through reported results of Saturday, Nov. 2)
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
- (1) Papillion-La Vista (Papillion, Neb.) 36-0
- (4) Columbine (Littleton, Colo.) 27-2
- (14) Locust Grove (Locust Grove, Ga.) 27-3
- (21) Rocky Mountain (Fort Collins, Colo.) 24-4
- (NR) Mountain View (Lawrenceville, Ga.) 23-9
*** Scroll down to see the rest of the Extra Elite Fall Rankings including the teams on the bubble!