A-K Valley high school softball playoff preview capsules for May 13, 2024

Sunday, May 12, 2024 | 4:14 PM

WPIAL softball playoffs

Class 5A

First round

8-Connellsville (12-7) vs. 9-Plum (11-6)

4 p.m. Monday at Gateway

Winner plays: Winner of 1-Armstrong (14-3)/16-Western Beaver (6-6) on Wednesday in quarterfinals (site, time TBA)

Players to watch: Dani Pici, Plum; Iris Burd, Connellsville

Extra bases: Plum finished third in Section 1 behind No. 2 North Hills and No. 5 Shaler. Sophomore Riley Stephans pitched three no-hitters in the regular season. The Mustangs averaged 7.4 runs over 17 games. Plum is in the playoffs for the fifth straight season. Last year, it fell to Thomas Jefferson , 8-6, in the No. 8/No. 9 matchup at Gateway. … Connellsville finished tied for the Section 4 title with No. 6 Trinity at 7-3. The Falcons rebounded this season after winning two games in 2023. Burd, a senior, paces the Falcons from the pitching circle. She was all-section last season. Senior infielder Kirra Davis is a Cal (Pa.) recruit.

3-West Allegheny (17-3) vs. 14-Fox Chapel (7-9)

7 p.m. Monday at North Allegheny

Winner plays: Winner of 6-Trinity (11-5)/11-Latrobe (9-10) on Wednesday in quarterfinals (site, time TBD)

Players to watch: Aubrey Police, West Allegheny; Mia Dunleavy, Fox Chapel

Extra bases: West Allegheny won the Section 3 title. The Indians’ lone section loss came at the hands of No. 16 Western Beaver. West Allegheny leads 5A in runs scored (189). Police, a junior second baseman and Villanova commit, leads the Indians in runs scored and RBIs. West Allegheny hopes for a deeper postseason run after falling in the quarterfinals last year, as the No. 4 seed, to No. 12 South Fayette. … Fox Chapel qualified for the playoffs for the fourth season in a row. The Foxes, the fourth-place team from Section 1, feature a young lineup with just two seniors, Dunleavy and Caitie Troutman, and three freshmen including pitcher/shortstop Jillian Haigh. Fox Chapel won two of three games against teams that also qualified for the playoffs to end the regular season. The Foxes beat Mars, 4-2, and Deer Lakes, 11-0, but lost to Franklin Regional, 9-7.

Class 4A

First round

10-Greensburg Salem (8-12) vs. 7-Knoch (13-6)

6 p.m. Monday at Plum

Winner plays: 2-Hampton on Wednesday in quarterfinals (time, site TBD)

Players to watch: Alle Scarpa, Greensburg Salem; Marlee Fraser, Knoch

Extra bases: Greensburg Salem won its last three section games to lock up a playoff spot. Scarpa is a talented sophomore with some power in her deliveries. Slugger Gionnah Ruffner is a Seton Hall commit who can clear the bases. … Knoch, a quarterfinalist last season, finished second in Section 1 behind Indiana. Four of the Knights losses are via shutout. Fraser is a strikeout pitcher who has fanned more than 100, and Knoch does not walk a lot of hitters. The Knights returned six starters.

13-Highlands (3-13) vs. 4-Chartiers Valley (14-3)

3 p.m. Monday at Montour

Winner plays: Winner of 5-Montour (9-6)/12-McKeesport (7-10) on Wednesday in quarterfinals (time, site TBD)

Players to watch: Lily Duffill, Chartiers Valley; Carrah Scardina, Highlands

Extra bases: Chartiers Valley finished runner-up to No. 2 Hampton in Section 3. The Colts won their final five games of the regular season and handed Hampton its only section loss 9-7 on April 15. Chartiers Valley, a WPIAL semifinalist last year, averaged 9.8 runs in 17 regular-season games. Duffill leads the WPIAL with nine home runs. … Highlands tied McKeesport for fourth in Section 1. The teams split their season series, so both qualified. Scardina, a shortstop, is the Golden Rams’ cleanup hitter, and Madison Gorney is experienced in the pitching circle. Highlands made the WPIAL championship game in 2021 and advanced to the PIAA semifinals.

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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