A-K Valley lookahead for May 14-17, 2018
By: Doug Gulasy
Sunday, May 13, 2018 | 10:33 PM
• St. Joseph made history for its softball program last season, qualifying for the WPIAL playoffs for the first time and winning a first-round game.
The Spartans will see if they have some more bridges to cross this season as they open the Class A playoffs against Western Beaver at Fox Chapel. The Spartans tied for second in Section 3-A.
• Riverview closed the softball regular season on a strong note, winning eight of its final nine games, and the Raiders will attempt to keep their hot streak going as they take on Quigley Catholic in a WPIAL Class A first-round game at Plum.
• Kiski Area and Apollo-Ridge's softball teams ended long playoff droughts in 2017, with the Cavaliers' dating to 2011 and Apollo-Ridge's to 2003. Both teams are back in the postseason and will play first-round games at Hampton. Kiski Area faces Mars in the Class 5A first round, and Apollo-Ridge matches up with Mohawk in Class 2A.
• The WPIAL will release boys volleyball playoff brackets, with matches beginning Tuesday.
• Burrell bowed out of the WPIAL softball playoffs in walk-off fashion each of the past two seasons, but the Bucs will look for better luck as they face McGuffey in a Class 3A first-round game at Latrobe. This is a rematch of a 2017 first-round game that Burrell won, 5-4.
• Deer Lakes played in the WPIAL softball championship games in five of the last six seasons, but the Lancers face an uphill challenge if they want to get back.
The No. 11 seed in Class 3A, Deer Lakes will begin the WPIAL playoffs against Steel Valley at Hampton.
• Highlands and Fox Chapel also will begin the WPIAL softball playoffs. The Golden Rams face Beaver in the Class 4A first round at Baldwin, and Fox Chapel will play Canon-McMillan in the Class 6A first round at Peters Township.
• Freeport, Plum and Valley earned No. 5 seeds in the WPIAL baseball playoffs, which begin Tuesday.
Valley, which split the Section 1-3A championship with Burrell, opens against Beaver Falls at Shaler. Freeport, the second-place team from Section 1-4A, will travel to Seneca Valley for a first-round game against New Castle. Plum, the Section 2-6A runner-up, will take on Mt. Lebanon at North Allegheny.
• Three other Alle-Kiski Valley baseball teams will begin their own postseason journeys Tuesday.
Fox Chapel, the No. 13 seed in Class 5A, faces Laurel Highlands at Hempfield. Deer Lakes, No. 11 in Class 4A, takes on West Mifflin at Gateway. And Leechburg, the 12th seed in Class A and making its first playoff appearance since 2011, will play defending WPIAL champion Jeannette at Fox Chapel.
• Freeport seeks its first boys lacrosse postseason victory as it hosts Seton LaSalle in the WPIAL Class AA first round. The Yellowjackets bowed out with a one-goal loss to Chartiers Valley in the 2017 first round.
• Leechburg made it to the Class A softball semifinals last season before ending its postseason one win shy of a PIAA tournament appearance. Making their WPIAL-record 32nd consecutive postseason appearance, the Blue Devils will play Sewickley Academy or Mapletown in a Class A quarterfinal at a site and time to be determined.
• Burrell is competing in the WPIAL baseball playoffs for the 20th time in coach Mark Spohn's 21 seasons, and the No. 6 Bucs will take on No. 11 Mt. Pleasant at Latrobe in the Class 3A first round. Burrell advanced to the quarterfinals last season.
• It's the day of reckoning for the top track and field athletes from Western Pennsylvania as they converge on Baldwin for the WPIAL individual championships. At stake are medals and qualifying for the PIAA championships later this month in Shippensburg.
• Freeport rolled through the WPIAL softball season unbeaten. Can that extend to the postseason? The Yellowjackets, fresh off a first-round bye, will play Waynesburg or Freedom in a Class 3A quarterfinal at a site and time to be determined.