The first rankings of the high school softball season give an early indication that the Big Nine Conference is filled with good teams. Five conference teams are ranked in the Class AAA top ten, with four in the top six. Several of those teams will go head-to-head this week.

Defending state champion Faribault is rated second behind Mankato West. Each team is 5-0 through April 20. West just demolished No. 6 rated Winona 14-1, while Faribault  hammered a good Mound-Westonka team 12-0. The Falcons beat West for the section 2AAA championship last spring. The teams have one regular season game scheduled on May 2 at Alexander Park in Faribault.

The Falcons host Winona Tueseday, April 23. Faribault beat the Winhawks in the state semifinals last year. Winona follows Tuesday's game with a home contest against No. 5 Northfield. Mankato East is rated ninth. The Cougars play at Faribault Tuesday, April 30.

Class AAA rankings from the Minnesota Softball Hub

  1. Mankato West
  2. Faribault
  3. Hill-Murray
  4. Chisago Lakes
  5. Northfield
  6. Winona
  7. Rocori
  8. Waconia
  9. Mankato East
  10. North Branch

Entering play Tuesday, April 23, West, Northfield and Austin are all 2-0 in Big Nine games. Faribault and John Marshall are each 1-0.

In Class 4A, the only Section 1 team ranked is No. 10 Farmington. Lakeville North won the section title in 2018. The Tigers won the 2017 title and went on to win the state championship.

Class AAAA

  1. Park (Cottage Grove)
  2. Forest Lake
  3. Chanhassen
  4. Maple Grove
  5. Shakopee
  6. Stillwater
  7. Elk River
  8. Centennial
  9. Eastview
  10. Farmington

Section 1AA looks to be quite competitive with four clubs ranked in the top ten.

Class AA

  1. Maple Lake
  2. Pipestone
  3. Lourdes
  4. Zumbrota-Mazeppa
  5. Chatfield
  6. Park Rapids
  7. Cotter (Winona)
  8. Esko
  9. Thief River Falls Area
  10. St. Peter

In Section 1A, only Hayfield made this first ranking from the softball hub.

Class A

  1. New York Mills
  2. Sleepy Eye-St. Mary's
  3. Randolph
  4. Norman Co. East
  5. New Ulm Cathedral
  6. Badger/Green Bush/Middle River
  7. Kimball Area
  8. Edgerton
  9. Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunberg
  10. Hayfield