SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Each week the O-Zone team will rank the Top 15 teams in all five classes based on dominance by class. Factors include overall and recent success along with momentum and strength of schedule. We encourage coaches to offer their input by emailing email@example.com. Tune in to the O-Zone Show each week for the new list.
(Class, current record and previous week’s ranking in parenthesis)
(Records as of April 25th)
1. Catholic (C3, 15, 1) – The top ranked Irish put an exclamation point on their ranking by blasting Forsyth 19-3 Monday night as the 2nd ranked Panthers opened their brand new state of the art turf field. Pitching has been good, but the Irish offense has been unbelievable; double digit runs in 7 of the last 8 games, including a 13-4 win over Mt Vernon Friday. 2. Nixa (C5, 14-1, 2) – The Eagles continue to play like the best Class 5 team in the Ozarks and are beginning to make noise around the state. After dominating rival Ozark 12-5 on Tuesday they went up to Lawrence, Kansas to beat Shawnee Mission West 4-1 in the River City Festival. One other note: junior Jacob Ruder verbally committed to pitch for Kansas State on Thursday. 3. Rogersville (C4, 15-4, 3) – Coach Ledl’s Wildcats are building quite the little baseball factory out there. A flawless 3-0 week gave Log-Rog its 40th win over the past two seasons. Conner Pomering homered in a 5-1 win over Parkview. Brett Denny had the game winning home run in a 6-4 win over Mountain Home. And Jacob Schlesener fired a 3-hit complete game in a 2-1 squeaker over Marshfield. This weekend is a major test as they face Class 5 powers Kickapoo and Willard at Willard. 4. Ava (C3, 10-0, 4) – And all of the sudden the Bears are the lone remaining unbeaten team in the Ozarks. Ace Ben Loge wasn’t at his best, but it was a total team effort in Ava’s 9-8 walk-off win against previously unbeaten Mountain Grove Wednesday. Less than 24 hours later the Bears picked up win number 10 by beating the rain in a 15-0 4 inning win over Willow Springs. Ava has been one of the area’s best surprises and that’s just fine with them. 5. Mtn Grove (C3, 11-1, 6) – The Panthers dropped their first game 9-8 to Ava Wednesday night, but for anyone who saw that game it was a tossup until the final pitch. The loss could prove as solid motivation for Coach McGownd’s team moving forward. They bounced back two days later to handle Seymour 11-3. 6. Kickapoo (C5, 16-2, 8) – Jake Smith went the distance for the second straight game in one of two wins over Carthage this week. The Chiefs did however see their 14-game winning streak snapped by rival Glendale 3-2 Tuesday on an 8th inning walk off single. As mentioned above, Kickapoo faces a major test Saturday with games against Rogersville and Willard. 7. Hartville (C2, 7-3, 9) – Good start to the week, not as good of a finish, but we’ll give the Class 2 Eagles a pass on their identical 6-1 losses to Class 5 Lebanon and Timberland Friday night. Earlier in the week Coach Garrison’s gang blasted Fordland 17-1 behind William Jemes’ 2-hitter. The other impressive part of that game was that they didn’t strikeout once. The next week or two will be very interesting for the state champs as they face Forsyth Monday. 8. Conway (C3, 15-4, 7) – The Bears were on a roll with six wins in a row and 10 out of 11, including wins over Fair Grove and Pleasant Hope. Then came Friday. The Bears made the short trip down I-44 only to be no-hit in a 1-0 nail biting loss to Strafford in their wood bat tournament. With that being said they were very competitive and were playing up a class on the road without the luxury of metal bats. 9. Crane (C2, 14-4, NR) – The Pirates have really come on strong with eight straight wins, scoring nearly 10 runs per game during that stretch. And the best part is they weren’t just rolling cupcakes. They knocked off state ranked Forsyth, Bakersfield and Dadeville. Senior Colton Vaught also broke the school record for stolen bases. The team is hitting .330 overall while Zach Cook and Caleb Shockley have dominated on the mound. 10. Spokane (C2, 11-4, 10) – The theme this week seems to be good wins and one head scratching loss. For the Owls it was a 10-0 setback at Strafford in their wood bat tournament. On the flip side, they did handily beat Pierce City and Greenfield outscoring the duo 23-2 with Jimmy Cooper and Sal Haro tossing back-to-back no hitters. I’m thinking that’s the only time an area team has accomplished that feat this season. 11. Forsyth (C3, 11-4, 5) – Good wins (Fordland 2-0, Blue Eye 8-3), bad loss (19-3 to Catholic). Yep, that’s the theme this week. The Panthers didn’t exactly Christen their new turf field with a win, but you can bet it will serve as motivation as the Class 3 playoffs approach. Remember, it was the Panthers who were number one in the state last season before falling to upstart Fair Grove 1-0 in the district championship. 12. Strafford (C3, 12-5, NR) – The Indians continue to be one of the area’s biggest enigmas. After three straight losses last week the Tribe bounced back with four straight wins over Greenfield, Pierce City, Spokane, Conway. The latter two were a 10-0 spanking and a 1-0 no-hitter fashioned by senior three-sport star Jacob Wade. Strafford goes for the championship of its own wood bat tournament Saturday. 13. Dora (C2, 10-2, 11) – The Falcons played Bakersfield in their only action Friday night, but we did not have a score reported at the time of this story. 14. Bakersfield (C1, 11-5, 12) – Staying with the good wins/one bad loss theme the Lions knocked off Viola, Arkansas 4-2 and Norwood 6-5, but got crushed 13-0 in 5 innings by Gainesville. Injuries could be partially to blame. The small school club needs to get healthy before playoff time is here. 15. Warsaw (C3, 14-4, 13) – The Wildcats beat Blair Oaks 2-1 in their only game of the week. No other info was reported. We hope to have more in next week’s rankings.
Knocking on the Door: Willard (12-4), Blue Eye (7-2), Lebanon (10-5), Dadeville (11-4), Skyline (13-5), Billings (11-6), Neosho (10-3), Nevada (10-2), Thayer (7-3)
In terms of talent, there is no conference better than the COC-Large; the Class of 2014 will have no less than a half dozen D-1 players alone. While the conference isn't as deep as some others, there will be no shortage of storylines in 2014, starting...
Here are 14 of the top storylines we'll be watching for the 2014 fall sports season.
What are you looking forward to?
14 for '14: Breakout football players - CLICK HERE
14 for '14: Defensive players to watch - CLICK HERE
14 for '14:...
Four of the conference's seven teams were ranked at some point in 2013. The Mid-Lakes will again be top loaded in 2014, with Strafford, Skyline, and Marionville all in the conversation to compete for state championships. But, the biggest question in MLC...