A-K Valley H.S. lookahead: Week of April 29-May 4
Sunday, April 28, 2019 | 4:19 PM
• Burrell and Deer Lakes already played one thriller, and the Section 1-3A rivals will see if the rematch can live up to it as they meet with first place on the line. Sara Clark’s three-run walk-off homer gave Burrell (8-2, 6-1) a 10-9 win in the first meeting. Deer Lakes (7-6, 7-1) has won four straight since that game to claim first place.
• Highlands beat Greensburg Salem once this season, and another win over the Golden Lions will secure a playoff berth in Section 1-4A. Jaycee Haidze allowed no earned runs in the first game, leading Highlands to a 4-1 win.
• Will Springdale finally play a game? The Dynamos have been out of action since a 19-11 loss to Leechburg on April 10 as weather forced several postponements. Springdale (6-1, 3-1) will try again with a Section 3-A game against Greensburg Central Catholic, which it beat 18-2 earlier this season.
• Freeport (8-5, 5-2) can lock up a WPIAL playoff berth with a win at Section 1-3A rival Valley (3-7, 2-5). The Yellowjackets blanked the Vikings, 4-0, earlier this season behind a complete-game, 11-strikeout effort from Jarrett Heilman.
• Kiski Area begins the week tied for fourth place in Section 1-5A, and the Cavaliers (6-7, 3-4) have a crucial game against first-place Franklin Regional (10-1, 7-0). Palmer Jackson blanked Kiski Area, 4-0, earlier this season, tossing a two-hitter.
• The WPIAL doubles tournaments begin. Valley’s Michael Saliba and Aiden Johnson, fresh off their Section 3-AA title, will compete in Class AA along with teammates Sam Barca and Joseph Guzzo and Riverview’s Chase Conroy and Richie Lyons. Fox Chapel’s teams of Jay Kashyap and Brandon Wei and Jason Nord and Milo Baron will play in Class AAA.
Track and field
• Seven Alle-Kiski Valley teams — the Apollo-Ridge, Deer Lakes and Riverview boys (Class AA), the Kiski Area boys (Class AAA), the Burrell and Deer Lakes girls (Class AA) and the Kiski Area girls (Class AAA) — will compete in the WPIAL team semifinals. Apollo-Ridge and Riverview head to Shenango, both Deer Lakes teams to South Park, both Kiski Area teams to North Allegheny and the Burrell girls to Riverside. The top team from each semifinal pod — 16 total — advance to the WPIAL finals May 6.
• In a rematch of one of the wildest games of the early season, No. 2 Leechburg (10-0, 8-0) hosts Springdale. The Blue Devils won the first game on the road, rallying from two deficits to prevail 19-11.
• Freeport and Steel Valley are locked in a second-place tie in Section 1-3A, and the winner of a game at Freeport Community Park will break that tie. Steel Valley (6-6, 5-2) won the first game, 10-4.
• Knoch slipped into third place in Section 1-4A with a precarious playoff position after a loss to Derry, and the Knights (9-3, 4-3) face a challenge against first-place Yough (8-4, 6-1). Led by ace Jarrett Bach, a Pitt recruit, Yough beat Knoch earlier this season.
• Fox Chapel fell to Franklin Regional in extra innings earlier this season. Now, sitting in third place in Section 1-5A ahead of hard-charging Armstrong and Kiski Area, the Foxes (6-4, 4-3) could use a win over the Panthers in the rematch.
• The WPIAL doubles championships will conclude with championship and consolation matches.
• Makayla Blair was a hero the first time Deer Lakes and Freeport met, launching a three-run walk-off homer to give the Lancers a 7-4 win. Freeport will look for revenge at home, as the Yellowjackets (7-2, 5-2), the defending Section 1-3A champ, will look to knock Deer Lakes out of first place.
• Plum looks to avenge its lone Section 2-5A loss of the season as the Mustangs (9-2, 8-1) visit unbeaten Hampton. The first game was tied going to the seventh inning before Hampton (12-0, 11-0) scored five runs in the top of the seventh for a 6-2 win.
• Highlands and Indiana, tied for third place in Section 1-4A, meet for the second time. Indiana (8-5, 3-4) won the first meeting, 7-4.
• The Section 1-4A race is coming down to the wire, and Highlands is hoping to secure a playoff trip for the first time since 2005. The Golden Rams (8-7, 4-4), tied for fourth place in the section, will face sixth-place Derry (4-6, 3-5).
• Deer Lakes (8-3, 7-0) wrapped up a playoff berth last week, and now the Lancers face Burrell, which is trying to lock one down as well. The Bucs (8-3, 4-3) saw a late lead slip away in their first game against Deer Lakes but will try to avenge that loss and deal the Lancers their first section defeat.
• Apollo-Ridge (5-3, 5-3) and Riverview (4-4, 3-4) are battling each other and Shady Side Academy for a playoff spot in Section 2-2A, and they’ll face off for the first time this season. Apollo-Ridge began the week in third place, with Riverview in third. A strong pitching matchup features A-R’s Mollie Charlton and Riverview’s Alyssa Cappa.
• It’s a nonsection game but a good one, as Section 3-4A leader Knoch (11-1) hosts Freeport. The teams feature two of the top offenses in the Alle-Kiski Valley, and both already clinched playoff berths.
• It’s another key game for Knoch as Mt. Pleasant (6-6, 4-4) visits Pullman Park. The Knights led the Vikings by a half-game in the standings as the week began.
• Deer Lakes scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Steel Valley, 3-2, earlier this season. The Lancers will see if they can win in a less dramatic fashion this time around as they visit the Ironmen.
• Leechburg is in third place in Section 3-A as it vies for a second straight playoff trip, and the Blue Devils (4-7, 3-3) can attempt to secure their spot as they visit Clairton (1-5, 1-3).
• Highlands upset Yough in their first matchup, and the Golden Rams will try to do it again as they visit the first-place Cougars.
• Plum is in an unusual spot: last place in the Section 2-6A standings. A perennial playoff qualifier under coach Carl Vollmer, the Mustangs (6-9, 2-4) will try to make up ground as they visit Norwin (8-4, 2-3). The Mustangs beat the Knights, 1-0, earlier this season as Gino Marra threw a no-hitter.
Track and field
• Two major invitationals are on tap as the WPIAL championships approach. Fox Chapel and Kiski Area will compete in the Baldwin Invitational, and Fox Chapel, Highlands, Knoch, Plum, Riverview, Springdale and Valley are among the teams scheduled to compete in the Pine-Richland Invitational.
— Doug Gulasy
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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