High school softball, along with many other springtime activities across the country and the world, has taken a back seat in the last week to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Still, it was scheduled for this week to do an updated version of the Extra Inning Softball Extra Elite 80 national rankings and there were plenty of changes to ponder following the annual Dave Kops Tournament of Champions in Bullhead City, Ariz. (which did get done on March 7 before school shutdowns began happening) plus other significant results from Florida and Texas.
Whether the entire rest of the spring sports high school season around the country will be cancelled remains to be seen.
On Tuesday of this week, the California Interscholastic Federation said it would wait until April 3 to make any further recommendations about section and state playoffs. There are no state or regional playoffs in softball in California, but there are various section championships and all of those could still be cancelled at a later date. Governor Gavin Newsom has said, however, that it “isn’t likely” that any California school districts will re-open for the current school year.
Click HERE to see the previous 2020 Extra Elite Eighty High School Rankings
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis ordered all schools in that state to be closed until April 15. The Florida High School Athletic Association added that it would go along with that decree by saying there would be no scheduled contests in any sport until at least that time. The current No. 1 softball team in the nation, Lakewood Ranch of Bradenton, is from Florida.
The nation’s largest high school athletic association, the University Interscholastic League of Texas, has officially cancelled all athletic and non-athletic events that it oversees through March 29.
Illinois and Arizona have similar plans in motion. Both the Illinois High School Association and the Arizona Interscholastic Association have stated that the earliest possible resumption of games would be March 30.
Some school districts in California also have already issued guidelines that there will be no spring sports for the rest of the school year. Two on that list for sure are the William S. Hart High School District (home of notable softball programs Valencia, Saugus and others) and the ABC Unified School District (home of notable softball program Gahr of Cerritos).
Many other states had not even had the chance to start its spring sports seasons for high schools. Some of those still listed at 0-0 in this week’s rankings were scheduled to begin last week, but never got going.
With so much unknown, it’s hard to say if there will be a mythical national champion named or final season rankings compiled for this season. If it does turn out that there are no more games played this season, there clearly would not be a big enough sample size for some honors to be determined. And then there would be the problem of ranking teams that perhaps never even played once.
However, there would be more of a deep dive into compiling at least one more national ranking. The seniors from the Class of 2020 deserve it. They’re the ones who are going to get hammered the most by the pandemic with some not having proms, no senior trips, not even having a graduation ceremony.
--- Mark Tennis
Extra Elite Eighty High School Softball Rankings
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
(After games of Saturday, March 14)
1. (1) Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton, Fla.) 8-0
2. (7) Los Alamitos (Los Alamitos, Calif.) 10-0
3. (2) Norco (Norco, Calif.) 11-1
4. (6) Foothill (Pleasanton, Calif.) 4-0
5. (16) Park Vista (Lake Worth, Fla.) 11-0
6. (11) Trenton (Trenton, Fla.) 10-0
7. (NR) Crescenta Valley (La Crescenta, Calif.) 10-1
8. (3) Winter Springs (Winter Springs, Fla.) 8-1
9. (9) Male (Louisville, Ky.) 0-0
10. (13) Alvin (Alvin, Texas) 20-1
*** Scroll down to see the rest of the Top 50, the 30 Teams on the Bubble and those who dropped out...