Alle-Kiski Valley lookahead for Week of April 8., 2019
By: Doug Gulasy
Sunday, April 7, 2019 | 6:04 PM
Baseball — After back-to-back WPIAL playoff appearances, Valley is off to a slow start this season. But the Vikings (0-5, 0-1) have time to make up for it in Section 1-3A play, starting with a game at Freeport (4-3, 1-1), which is looking to bounce back from a section defeat against Steel Valley.
A busy schedule continues for Kiski Area, which visits Franklin Regional for a Section 1-5A game. The Cavaliers (2-3, 0-1) played on four consecutive days last week, and they will have three more games this week. Fanklin Regional (2-1, 2-0) found itself on opposite ends of two rallies last week, dropping a heartbreaker to Plum before beating Fox Chapel in extra innings.
St. Joseph and Springdale are seeking better fates than last season, when both missed out on the WPIAL playoffs, so their Section 3-A opener at Springdale can provide a good start. St. Joseph (2-2) swept last season’s games and is seeking its first playoff appearance since 2000. Springdale (0-3) had a difficult start, but the Dynamos can make up for it as section play begins.
Softball — After a difficult start to the season, Deer Lakes got back on track last week with a pair of Section 1-3A wins. The Lancers (2-5, 2-0) will look to keep it going as they visit rival Valley (0-4, 0-2), which is looking to gain a foothold of its own.
Highlands had a near-miss at an upset when it dropped a 1-0 decision to No. 2 Yough, but the Golden Rams (2-2, 1-1) will get another shot as they travel to face No. 1 Mt. Pleasant (4-0, 2-0) for a Section 1-4A game. The Vikings won the PIAA championship in 2017 and made it to the state semifinals last year.
A narrow loss to Vincentian dropped Riverview below .500 in the Section 2-2A standings. The Raiders (2-2, 1-2) can work their way back up as they visit Shady Side Academy (0-1, 0-1).
Boys tennis — The WPIAL’s section singles tournaments will take place, with the top four finishers in each section advancing to the WPIAL tournament. Fox Chapel senior Robby Shymansky, the defending WPIAL Class AAA champion, is going for his fourth Section 3-AAA title.
Track and field — Deer Lakes and Burrell will square off in Section 7-AA action. Top athletes to watch include Deer Lakes’ Kiera Cutright and Josh Yourish and Burrell’s Kaylen Sharrow and Hannah Pastor.
Softball — In an intriguing game, upstart Springdale (5-0, 2-0) hosts playoff standby Leechburg (4-0, 3-0) for first place in Section 3-A. Springdale is looking for its first WPIAL playoff appearance since 2000. Leechburg is at 32 consecutive postseason appearances and counting.
Apollo-Ridge had a thrilling comeback win last week over Shady Side Academy, rallying from eight runs down for a 15-11 victory. The Vikings (3-1, 3-1) are looking to continue their strong start as they visit Serra Catholic (2-2, 2-1) for a Section 2-2A game.
Deer Lakes and Burrell renew their Section 1-3A rivalry in a game that could loom large for the postseason. Burrell (2-2, 1-1) swept Deer Lakes last season.
Baseball — Realignment dropped Deer Lakes from Class 4A to 3A, putting the Lancers in with Alle-Kiski rival Burrell. The two will meet up for a Section 1-3A matchup at Burrell (3-1, 1-1). Deer Lakes (4-4, 2-0) began section play with back-to-back shutouts of South Allegheny, and the pitching should be strong for both teams in this game. Tanner Spohn, one of a handful of talented Burrell arms, tossed a no-hitter last week.
WPIAL realignment dropped Freeport to Class 3A, and Knoch remained in 4A. But the Butler County neighbors will renew acquaintances in a nonsection game. Knoch (4-1) beat out Freeport for section championships the past two seasons, so expect the Yellowjackets to be motivated.
Boys volleyball — Deer Lakes picked up a pair of victories last week over Plum and Fox Chapel after a difficult start to the season. The Lancers will try to continue the rebound as they visit North Catholic for a Section 2-AA match.
Softball — Another day and another rivalry game in Section 1-3A as Deer Lakes hosts Freeport. The Yellowjackets (3-0, 2-0) ended Deer Lakes’ run of section titles last season by going undefeated during the regular season and are off to a strong start again this year.
Riverview and Apollo-Ridge meet up for the first time as Section 2-2A rivals. Look out for a strong pitching matchup in this game between Mollie Charlton of host Apollo-Ridge and Alyssa Cappa of Riverview.
It’s always a big game when Burrell and Valley meet. The Vikings will look to play spoiler as Burrell visits for a Section 1-3A contest.
Baseball — Deer Lakes will face off with another new section opponent as it hosts Steel Valley. The Ironmen (3-4, 2-0) started slowly by dropping four of their first five games but righted themselves last week with wins over Valley and Freeport.
Leechburg earned a playoff spot last season by beating out Springdale and St. Joseph for fourth place in Section 3-A. The Blue Devils (1-3) will try to do the same again, and Friday’s game at Springdale will provide a test. The Dynamos are hoping for a postseason return after a one-year absence.
Boys tennis — Fox Chapel hosts Shady Side Academy for a Section 3-AAA match, which also is a rematch of last season’s WPIAL championship. The Foxes won that one, 5-0, to claim their third consecutive title.
Girls lacrosse — Fox Chapel at Mars, 7:15 p.m.
Track and field — The annual Lady Spartan/Latrobe Wildcat Invitational, co-hosted by Hempfield and Latrobe, will take place at Latrobe’s Memorial Stadium. Highlands, Kiski Area and Valley are scheduled to attend.
Track and field — The Tri-State Track and Field Coaches Association will host its annual outdoor championships at West Mifflin, with Plum one of the local teams scheduled to attend.
Baseball — Highlands (3-3) gets a showcase game as the Golden Rams will play Class 6A team Seneca Valley (5-1) in a nonsection contest at PNC Park.
Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, [email protected] or via Twitter .