Breaking down changes to the 2023-24 WPIAL baseball alignment
Monday, July 25, 2022 | 10:23 AM
The WPIAL released new section alignments for the next two-year cycle in all sports, and changes will be implemented starting this fall.
This summer, the Tribune-Review will break down changes for each of the WPIAL sports.
Here’s a look at the upcoming WPIAL baseball season:
2022 WPIAL championships
Class 6A: Mt. Lebanon
Class 5A: West Allegheny
Class 4A: West Mifflin
Class 3A: South Park
Class 2A: Serra Catholic
Class A: Union
• As with a number of other WPIAL sports, baseball realignment features several changes, both between classifications and within the various sections.
There will still be 124 teams competing in WPIAL baseball over the next two-year cycle.
• In Class 6A, WPIAL runner-up Upper St. Clair dropped down to 5A, leaving just 11 teams spread over two sections. Central Catholic moved into Section 2, so there are only five teams in Section 1 — Allderdice, Butler, North Allegheny, Pine-Richland and Seneca Valley.
• Class 5A decreased from 25 to 19 teams as Albert Gallatin, Latrobe, Chartiers Valley, McKeesport, Thomas Jefferson, Woodland Hills, Hampton and Kiski Area all dropped to 4A.
New Castle moved up from 4A and will join Section 3.
Armstrong, Fox Chapel, Penn Hills and Plum moved from Section 2 to 1 and will form an East Suburbs section with Franklin Regional, Gateway and Penn-Trafford.
Bethel Park, Connellsville, Peters Township and Trinity left the defunct Section 4 to join South Fayette and USC in Section 2.
• Class 4A moved from 20 to 24 teams and from three sections to four. In addition to the teams that dropped from 5A, Hopewell — the No. 1 seed in the WPIAL 3A playoffs last season — bumped up to the Beaver County-heavy Section 1-4A with Ambridge, Beaver, Blackhawk, Central Valley and Montour.
Former Section 1 rivals Highlands, Indiana, Knoch and North Catholic form the new Section 4 with Hampton and Kiski Area.
Section 2 will feature former Section 3 foes Belle Vernon, Laurel Highlands, Ringgold, Uniontown and newcomers Albert Gallatin and Latrobe.
• The Class 3A field grew from 23 to 27 teams, including WPIAL runner-up Neshannock, semifinalist Riverside, Shenango, Sto-Rox and Shady Side Academy, which all moved up a class.
In addition, Quaker Valley, Burrell, Freeport and Greensburg Salem all dropped from 4A. The Bucs and Yellowjackets will join A-K Valley rivals Deer Lakes, Valley and Shady Side Academy in Section 3 with Derry and East Allegheny.
Mt. Pleasant moves from Section 3 to 4 with Westmoreland County foes Greensburg Salem, Southmoreland and Yough, as well as Brownsville, McGuffey and Waynesburg Central.
• In Class 2A, Charleroi, Freedom, New Brighton and Ligonier Valley all dropped down from 3A and OLSH, Greensburg Central Catholic and Riverview moved up from Class A to compile a 22-team field, down from 26 in the past cycle. There also will be just three sections instead of four.
Burgettstown and Chartiers-Houston moved into Section 1 from the defunct Section 4 to form a Washington County/Mon Valley heavy group with Bentworth, Beth-Center, Charleroi, Frazier and Washington.
• Class A grew from 18 teams to 21 with the addition of six teams that dropped from 2A — California, Carmichaels and Fort Cherry to Section 1; Summit Academy to Section 2; and Carlynton and Clairton to Section 3.
There was lots of movement to accommodate the new teams geographically, as Jefferson-Morgan, Mapletown and West Greene moved to Section 1 with Avella.
Section 2 will feature familiar A-K Valley rivals Leechburg, Springdale and St. Joseph with Rochester, Union, Western Beaver and Summit.
Avella (1) and Eden Christian (3) and Sewickley Academy (3) were the only Class A teams to stay in their respective sections.
Section series continue
• WPIAL officials plan to continue scheduling section series on back-to-back days for baseball season. Each week, teams will play a two-game series against the same opponent (home-away) on back-to-back days, weather permitting.
• North Allegheny, which won the 2021 Class 6A district title, holds the most WPIAL baseball championships with eight.
Other schools with five or more titles include Allegheny (7), McKeesport (7), California (6), Neshannock (6), Pine-Richland (6), Ellwood City (5), Mt. Lebanon (5), Riverside (5), Shaler (5) and West Allegheny (5).
March 6: First practice date
March 11: First scrimmage date
March 17: First play date
March 27: First section date
May 12: Playoff pairings meeting
May 30-31: WPIAL championships, Wild Things Park
June 15-16: PIAA championships, Penn State
Class 6A (11 teams)
Section 1: Allderdice, Butler, North Allegheny, Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley
Section 2: Baldwin, Canon-McMillan, Central Catholic, Hempfield, Mt. Lebanon, Norwin
Class 5A (19 teams)
Section 1: Armstrong, Fox Chapel, Franklin Regional, Gateway, Penn Hills, Penn-Trafford, Plum
Section 2: Bethel Park, Connellsville, Peters Township, South Fayette, Trinity, Upper St. Clair
Section 3: Mars, Moon, New Castle, North Hills, Shaler, West Allegheny
Class 4A (24 teams)
Section 1: Ambridge, Beaver, Blackhawk, Central Valley, Hopewell, Montour
Section 2: Albert Gallatin, Belle Vernon, Latrobe, Laurel Highlands, Ringgold, Uniontown
Section 3: Chartiers Valley, Elizabeth Forward, McKeesport, Thomas Jefferson, West Mifflin, Woodland Hills
Section 4: Hampton, Highlands, Indiana, Kiski Area, Knoch, North Catholic
Class 3A (27 teams)
Section 1: Beaver Falls, Ellwood City, Mohawk, Neshannock, Quaker Valley, Riverside, Shenango
Section 2: Avonworth, Keystone Oaks, South Allegheny, South Park, Steel Valley, Sto-Rox
Section 3: Burrell, Deer Lakes, Derry, East Allegheny, Freeport, Shady Side Academy, Valley
Section 4: Brownsville, Greensburg Salem, McGuffey, Mt. Pleasant, Southmoreland, Waynesburg Central, Yough
Class 2A (22 teams)
Section 1: Bentworth, Beth-Center, Burgettstown, Chartiers-Houston, Charleroi, Frazier, Washington
Section 2: Aliquippa, Freedom, Laurel, New Brighton, Northgate, OLSH, South Side, Seton LaSalle
Section 3: Apollo-Ridge, Brentwood, Greensburg C.C., Jeannette, Ligonier Valley, Riverview, Serra Catholic
Class A (21 teams)
Section 1: Avella, California, Carmichaels, Fort Cherry, Jefferson-Morgan, Mapletown, West Greene
Section 2: Leechburg, Rochester, Springdale, St. Joseph, Summit Academy, Union, Western Beaver
Section 3: Bishop Canevin, Carlynton, Clairton, Cornell, Eden Christian, Monessen, Sewickley Academy
Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at email@example.com or via Twitter @BHartlep_Trib.
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