Alle-Kiski Valley lookahead for Week of April 15, 2019

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Sunday, April 14, 2019 | 4:44 PM


Monday

Baseball: The Section 1-3A race is getting interesting, with five teams — Deer Lakes, Steel Valley, Freeport, Burrell and Valley — competing for four playoff berths. Two games loom large as section leader Deer Lakes (5-4, 4-0) visits Valley (2-6, 2-2), which posted two section wins to get back into the race, and Burrell (4-2, 2-1) visits second-place Steel Valley (5-5, 4-1).

Leechburg (2-5, 1-2) is coming off its first Section 3-A win of the season, and the Blue Devils will try to make it two in a row as they host Clairton. The Bears (1-3, 1-1) and St. Joseph (3-3, 1-1) are tied for third place in the section.

Winners of four of its past five games, including two straight victories in Section 1-5A, Kiski Area (5-4, 2-2) will host first-place Gateway. The Cavaliers’ bats broke out with double-digit scoring performances against Woodland Hills and Penn Hills, but Gateway is coming off a 1-0 victory over Fox Chapel.

With a signature win in the books against previously unbeaten Penn-Trafford, Plum (4-6, 1-2) will attempt to continue the forward movement as it hosts Norwin (5-2, 1-1), a perennial playoff team that beat the Mustangs in the 2016 WPIAL final.

Softball: An intriguing nonsection matchup sees Deer Lakes hosting Knoch, which came into the week unbeaten and ranked in Class 4A. Deer Lakes had a pair of double-digit scoring performances last week against Valley and Burrell, but the Lancers are seeking consistency. Knoch’s offense also is potent, reaching double digits four times in its first six games.

Riverview looks to avenge an early-season loss as the Raiders visit Serra Catholic. The Eagles beat the Raiders, 15-9, in the section opener. Riverview pitcher Alyssa Cappa has 73 strikeouts in the Raiders’ first six games.

Girls lacrosse: Two local teams match up in Section 2-AAA as Freeport hosts Fox Chapel. The Foxes began the season with four consecutive wins, racking up more than 10 goals in each game. Freeport will try to hold down the Fox Chapel firepower.

Boys tennis: In Class AAA, Fox Chapel senior Robby Shymansky enters the WPIAL singles tournament as the defending champion and is fresh off his fourth straight section title. In Class AA, Valley teammates Michael Odrey and Michael Saliba placed second and third, respectively, at the Section 3-AA tournament. Knoch’s Eli Keller placed fourth in the section.

Tuesday

Boys lacrosse: Freeport hosts rival Knoch in a Section 1-AA game. Both teams have plenty of offensive firepower, with Chase Mullen, Cam Ruk and Matt Goodlin leading the way for Knoch and Sean Fennell, Garret Schaffhauser and Carter Dougherty pacing Freeport.

Boys tennis: The WPIAL singles championships will wrap up.

Wednesday

Softball: Freeport and Burrell might boast the top two offenses in the Alle-Kiski Valley. The rivals will face off for a second time at Burrell’s Bon Air Elementary, as the host Bucs (4-2, 3-1) look to avenge a 7-4 loss earlier this season against defending section champion Freeport (5-0, 4-0).

It’s always a big game when Springdale and Riverview (4-2) meet in any sport. The Raiders, in Class 2A, host the Dynamos (6-1) in a nonsection game at Riverside Park. The game features the top two strikeout pitchers in the A-K Valley in Riverview’s Cappa and Springdale’s Alexis Hrivnak.

Apollo-Ridge visits Section 2-2A leader Vincentian (5-0, 4-0) for a big game. The Vikings (3-2, 3-2) lost, 7-4, earlier this season to the Royals.

Highlands came close to knocking off No. 2 Yough earlier this season, losing 1-0. The Golden Rams (3-3, 2-2) will get another shot as they host the Cougars (6-4, 4-1) in Section 1-4A. Yough leads Highlands by 1 1/2 games for second place in the standings.

Baseball: Valley and Burrell split the Section 1-3A championship last season. With a ramped-up section, both are trying to keep pace early on heading into one of their rivalry meetings. Host Burrell (4-2, 2-1) began the week in third place in the section, a half-game up on Valley.

Freeport and Deer Lakes will square off for the first time in 2019 with section positioning at stake.

Highlands picked up its first Section 1-4A win last week, and it was a big one: an 8-6 triumph over first-place Yough. Now, the Golden Rams will welcome Knoch (7-1, 2-1) in a game that could loom large in the playoff chase.

The final Section 3-A playoff spot last season came down to St. Joseph and Leechburg. Could the same thing happen this season? If so, the winner of Wednesday’s game at Leechburg will get a head start in the race.

Thursday

Track and field: It’s one of the biggest track and field meets every year in the WPIAL: the Butler Invitational. The competition draws some of the top teams around the WPIAL. Burrell, Fox Chapel, Freeport, Highlands, Kiski Area and Knoch are among the local teams scheduled to attend.

Softball: The two teams that began the week atop Section 3-4A meet up as Knoch visits New Castle. Knoch (6-0, 3-0) is riding a three-game shutout streak. New Castle (3-2, 3-0) scored mercy-rule victories last week over Blackhawk and Quaker Valley.

Baseball: A pair of local nonsection rivalry games are on the schedule as Highlands hosts Freeport and Plum visits Gateway.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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