A-K Valley H.S. lookahead: Week of April 22-27
Sunday, April 21, 2019 | 3:47 PM
It has been nearly two weeks since Riverview played, but the Raiders will give it another try as they visit Serra Catholic in Section 2-2A. The Raiders (4-2, 3-2) trail the second-place Eagles (6-2, 6-1) by two games. Serra won the first matchup 15-9.
St. Joseph began the week tied for fourth place in Section 3-A with Clairton as the Spartans (3-4, 1-2) seek their first WPIAL playoff bid since 2000. They’ll face a challenge in their first game of the week, facing top-ranked Vincentian (5-0, 4-0), the defending state champion.
First-place Fox Chapel will look to continue its strong season as it travels for a nonsection game at Upper St. Clair. The Foxes swept a pair of games against North Hills and Freeport last week, winning by a combined score of 35-3.
The first game between Freeport and Burrell this season was tight — and at times controversial — with host Freeport emerging with a 4-3 victory. Now the Yellowjackets (7-5, 4-2) will visit the Bucs (7-2, 4-2) for a rematch. The teams are tied with Steel Valley for second place in Section 1-3A, two games behind Deer Lakes.
• Kiski Area is hunting for a playoff spot in Section 1-5A and was a game out as the week began. The Cavaliers (5-6, 2-4) can upend one of the teams above them in the standings as they visit third-place Fox Chapel (6-3, 4-2), which beat them 9-1 earlier this season.
• Valley (2-8, 2-4) needs to stack wins in the second half of the season to reach the postseason for a third straight year. A good place to start would be with a victory over Steel Valley (5-6, 4-2) in a Section 1-3A game. A loss could make Valley’s path difficult.
It was one of the more exciting games earlier this season when Apollo-Ridge rallied from a 9-1 deficit on the road to beat Shady Side Academy in Section 2-2A. The teams will square off for a second time with A-R hosting. The Vikings (4-3, 4-3) hold the edge over Shady Side (2-4, 2-4) for fourth place.
• Red-hot Knoch outscored its past five Section 3-4A opponents by a combined 53-1, and the Knights (8-0, 6-0) will welcome Blackhawk for a second meeting. Knoch won the first meeting 12-0.
• Fox Chapel provided one of the biggest eyebrow-raising results of the season last week by toppling No. 1 North Allegheny. Now the Foxes (3-7, 2-7) will try to beat another big name as defending PIAA champion Hempfield (6-5, 6-3) visits for a Section 2-6A contest.
The second half of the season begins with a key match for Deer Lakes (4-5, 3-3), which is seeking a 14th consecutive WPIAL playoff berth. The Lancers will visit Section 2-AA rival Derry; the first-place Trojans won the first time matchup 3-0.
Track and field
One of the most notable meets of the area will take place as Freeport hosts the Section 7-AA championships, with athletes from Alle-Kiski Valley schools Apollo-Ridge, Burrell, Deer Lakes, Leechburg and Valley among the competitors.
Freeport (6-2) lost two games last week on walk-off home runs, but the Yellowjackets still appear poised for another WPIAL playoff run. It’s more of an unclear situation at St. Joseph, which plays host to Freeport for a nonsection game. The Spartans (1-3) hope to make a second-half run as they seek a third straight playoff trip.
Section doubles tournaments begin around the WPIAL, with Valley (Section 3-AA) and Fox Chapel (Section 3-AAA) set to host. The top four teams advance to the WPIAL championships.
Fox Chapel lost a tough game to Franklin Regional earlier this season in extra innings, but the Foxes will get another shot at the first-place team, hitting the road to face the Panthers (9-1, 6-0) in Section 1-5A.
• Knoch lost a game earlier this season to Yough and its Pitt-bound pitcher, Jarrett Bach, and the Knights (9-2, 4-2) trail the Cougars (7-4, 5-1) by a game in Section 1-4A. They’ll meet for a second time this year at Pullman Park, with Knoch trying to even things up.
• Highlands has won three consecutive Section 1-4A games to move into a tie for fourth place and the last potential postseason bid, and the Golden Rams (7-6, 3-3) will visit Greensburg Salem (8-2, 4-2) to try to climb even higher in the standings.
• Leechburg won three consecutive Section 3-A games to move into a second-place tie with Greensburg Central Catholic (3-7, 2-1). The Blue Devils (4-6, 3-2) saw a late lead slip away in their first game against the Centurions but will try to get a better result at home.
Deer Lakes got its biggest win of the season last week with a walk-off victory over Freeport, and the Lancers (5-6, 5-1) opened the week atop the Section 1-3A standings. They’ll welcome rival Valley (2-6, 1-4), which is trying to stay alive in the postseason race and won two of its last three games.
• It’s a big week for Highlands, which visits Uniontown on Tuesday and also hosts top-ranked Mt. Pleasant (10-0, 6-0) in a pair of key Section 1-4A games. The Golden Rams (3-5, 2-4) trail Indiana and Greensburg Salem by a half-game for the final two playoff spots out of the section.
Section doubles tournaments wrap up with consolation and championship matches.
Unbeaten Leechburg hosts Class 2A opponent Serra Catholic in a nonsection game. The second-ranked Blue Devils (8-0) had their biggest challenge last week when they edged Karns City, 2-1, in a nonsection game. Leechburg beat its other seven opponents by at least eight runs.
• Plum (9-2) is having a strong season in Class 5A and began the week on a three-game winning streak. Fox Chapel will visit for a nonsection game between local rivals.
St. Joseph began the week against Vincentian and will close it by welcoming Springdale (1-7, 0-4) for a Section 1-3A game. The Spartans beat their local rivals by a 14-4 score earlier this season and will need another win to stay in the playoff chase, while the Dynamos are trying to rebound after a difficult first half.
Track and field
The Mars Invitational will bring in some of the top teams from around the WPIAL, and athletes from Highlands, Knoch and Plum will look to post their best times and distances with the WPIAL championships coming up.
Track and field
It’s the annual Westmoreland County Coaches Association championships at Latrobe’s Memorial Stadium, with athletes from around the county converging for a key meet. Burrell, Kiski Area and Valley athletes will compete.
Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, email@example.com or via Twitter .
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