High-SchoolSoftball: Kissimmee Klassic

Palm Beach Gardens returns to the top

April, 11, 2012
Posting an unbeaten record is second to none in softball, but it's not far behind when a team hasn't lost with its ace pitcher in the circle.

Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) is a great example of that and this week has returned to the No. 1 ranking in the POWERADE FAB 50. Counting a 2-0 win on Tuesday night in a showdown against FAB 50 No. 10 Poland Seminary (Ohio), the Gators are 23-1 with their only loss coming when ace pitcher Shelby Turnier wasn't in the circle.

With previous No. 1 Norco (Calif.) suffering its first loss of the season at the Michelle Carew Classic in Anaheim Hills, Calif., Palm Beach Gardens was an easy choice to move up from No. 2.

The Gators not only got the win over Poland Seminary -- although Poland's ace, Erin Gabriel, didn't pitch -- but they also are coming off a 4-0 showing at the prestigious Kissimmee Klassic. They routed Gulliver Prep (Pinecrest, Fla.) 16-0 in the championship game.

Norco dropped to No. 6 this week and fell to No. 3 in California. One team to watch from California is unbeaten Amador Valley (Pleasanton, Calif.), which won the Livermore Stampede tournament and beat previous No. 6 Archbishop Mitty en route to the title game.

Click here for the complete Week 6 rankings.

Stars shine on Florida, California diamonds

April, 10, 2012
A slew of high-profile tournaments graced softball diamonds nationwide last weekend, providing teams an opportunity to make a move in Wednesday’s POWERADE FAB 50 national rankings and separate themselves as strong contenders for deep runs in their state tournaments.

Amador Valley softball
Harold Abend/ESPNHSAmador Valley's Johanna Grauer was the MVP of the 2012 Livermore Stampede.
In sun-drenched Kissimmee, Fla., senior pitcher Shelby Turnier of Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) caught fire and uncorked easily the best individual performance of the Kissimmee Klassic, hurling four consecutive shutouts, including one no-hitter, en route to tournament MVP as she led the Lady Gators to the Klassic championship. Joining her on the Blue Bracket's All-Tournament Team was junior teammate Ta'Coia Williams, who garnered the Defense Award in addition to hitting .643 on the weekend. Junior Megin Eskew of Sickles (Tampa, Fla.) won the Hitting Award after going 9 for 13 at the plate (.692 BA). In the Gold Bracket, senior pitcher Cristina Sacramento of Pembroke Pines (Fla.) didn't give up an earned run all tournament, either, and pitched Pembroke Pines to a 4-1 win over Clay (Green Cove Springs, Fla.) in that bracket's championship game.

On the other side of the country, Pacifica (Garden Grove, Calif.) enjoyed a plethora of offensive output as it steamrolled through the Michelle Carew Classic in Anaheim Hills, one of the more competitive high school tournaments in California, defeating Canyon (Anaheim, Calif.) 7-2 in the semifinals before a 13-4 win over Los Alamitos (Calif.) in the championship game. Cinderella also made an appearance in Southern California over the weekend, as Orange Lutheran (Calif.) scored a massive 2-1 second-round upset over Norco (Calif.), which entered the Carew Classic as the undefeated No. 1 ranked team in the POWERADE FAB 50 national rankings.

Farther north in California, Amador Valley (Pleasanton, Calif.) made a huge statement at the Livermore Stampede. Amador ace Johanna Grauer and company handled both Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) in a colossal semifinal tilt before disposing of host Livermore in an 11-0 run-rule victory for the championship. Grauer was named MVP of the tournament.

Florida's best head to Kissimmee Klassic

April, 2, 2012
READ MORE: Back-to-back perfect games at Winter Springs

Florida high school softball's Kissimmee Klassic has turned into a colossal collision course between two budding softball powerhouses. Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) and Winter Springs (Fla.) will both grace the 32-team field, which brings together many of Florida's top high school softball teams and will run from April 5-7.

Winter Springs, the tournament's No. 2 seed this year, has defeated top-seeded Palm Beach Gardens in each of the last two seasons in the Kissimmee Klassic, but both years Palm Beach Gardens has responded with victories over Winter Springs in the state tournament.

"I think it's so much fun to play Palm Beach Gardens at the Kissimmee Klassic," said Winter Springs' junior pitcher Elizabeth Birle. "You just want that revenge after losing to them in the state tournament. You want to be like, 'Hey! We can still beat you!’ "

Chamberlain (Tampa, Fla.) and Gulliver Prep (Miami), two more teams in ESPNHS's Fab50, will also compete at this year's Klassic. Chamberlain won the tournament in 2000 while Gulliver Prep finished 3rd in both 2009 and 2011.

Click here for more information about the tournament.