Last week’s Super 7 never made it onto the blog, mainly because by the time I got around to it, results had rendered it obsolete. Unsurprisingly, the super 7 with this week’s notebook bears little resemblance to last week’s, thanks to a few major shakeups, not least of which in the Central League. So here goes the rationale (strong word, I know) behind Wednesday’s rankings. (Records through April 22.)
1. Bonner-Prendergast (11-2) Last Week: No. 1
The Friars keep on rolling, having won their first nine Catholic League games. In the debate between them and Strath Haven, the edge goes to Bonner thanks to Frank Saviski, the No. 3 pitching option and kind of late-game specialist that the Panthers are still seeking.
2. Strath Haven (10-0) Last Week: No. 2
The Panthers have the inside line on the Central League title after beating Conestoga last week, and they got some breathing room thanks to the team behind them.
3. Marple Newtown (7-3) Last Week: No. 6
The Tigers vault up the rankings because of their win over Conestoga Monday. They’re a perplexing team: While Ciaran Cahalane shut down the Pioneers pretty effectively, they don’t have an out-and-out staff ace. The lineup also doesn’t have that one big hitter. But they’re just a balanced team that has put together results.
4. Garnet Valley (6-5) Last Week: No. 4
One-run losses to Radnor and Marple and a three-run loss to Strath Haven have impacted the Jags record. If they can just get over that hump consistently, they’re a dangerous team.
5. Cardinal O’Hara (7-5) Last Week: No. 7
The Lions are taking their lumps in the Catholic League, but you have to consider the competition. They’ve got two wins against Father Judge, one against La Salle and a one-run loss to St. Joseph’s Prep. The five losses have come to those three teams plus Neumann-Goretti. That’s solid competition, plus they get clean-up hitter and closer Bobby Ieradi back for the stretch drive.
6. Radnor (6-5) Last Week: NR
An 11-0 win over Penncrest is hard to ignore. It looks like the staff has finally sorted itself out, with Adam Erkis (last year’s closer) emerging as the ace, including the shutout of Penncrest. Billy Greenfield seems to have found a role in the bullpen with a couple of saves.
7. Penncrest (7-4) Last Week: No. 3
I think it’s officially time to rethink my preseason valuation of the Lions. They’ve got a good record, but consider that the four losses have come to Conestoga, Garnet Valley, Strath Haven and Radnor. Those head-to-head setbacks put them in this spot.
Dropped out: Haverford School (8-9)
Also under consideration: Haverford School (8-9; the Fords have some pitching issues; giving up 26 (!) runs to Archbishop Carroll is hard to ignore); Ridley (6-4; the Green Raiders have four pitchers they can turn to, making them a sleeper in the District One playoff race); Haverford (4-7; the Fords are better than their record indicates, and a hot-hitting lineup may allow them make up for early struggles); Interboro (7-1; setback to Chichester aside, I still think the Bucs are the class of the Del Val); Archbishop Carroll (9-4; an eight-game winning streak, including five straight games in double-digits, means the Patriots are dangerous to play each game); Chichester (5-4; the win over Interboro gets the Eagles in here, but …) Academy Park (7-2; I have to get the Knights in the conversation, too, since they beat Chi); Christian Academy (6-0; the second remaining undefeated in the county deserves a little ink, don’t you think?).