Breaking down changes to the 2023-24 WPIAL softball alignment

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Monday, July 25, 2022 | 10:24 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 softball season:

2022 WPIAL championships

Class 6A: Seneca Valley

Class 5A: Armstrong

Class 4A: Beaver

Class 3A: Avonworth

Class 2A: Neshannock

Class A: Union

Notable changes

• Class 6A was the smallest of the WPIAL’s softball classifications the past two years and is getting even smaller.

Down from 11 to nine teams, Class 6A will have just one section for the next two-year cycle: Baldwin, Butler, Canon-McMillan, Hempfield, Mt. Lebanon, North Allegheny, Norwin, Pine-Richland and Seneca Valley. Bethel Park and Peters Township dropped to 5A.

• Speaking of 5A, there was lots of movement between sections to accommodate new teams.

In addition to Bethel Park and Peters Township dropping down, New Castle moved up to 5A. Indiana, Woodland Hills, Albert Gallatin, Chartiers Valley and Hampton dropped out of the class and down to 4A, leaving 24 teams across four sections.

Fox Chapel, North Hills, Oakland Catholic and Shaler will stay together, moving from Section 3 to 1 to join Penn Hills and Plum.

Armstrong, Kiski Area and Franklin Regional will move from Section 1 to 2. South Fayette, Moon, West Allegheny and Western Beaver will slide from Section 4 to 3. Connellsville and Thomas Jefferson will move from Section 2 to 4.

• Class 4A will still have 20 teams as North Catholic moves up to join Section 3 with newcomers Chartiers Valley and Hampton.

Greensburg Salem and West Mifflin switched sections, with the Golden Lions new in Section 2 and Titans in Section 1. Burrell, Freeport, Central Valley, Hopewell and Yough dropped to Class 3A.

• Also new to 3A are Mohawk, Ligonier Valley and Seton LaSalle, which moved up a class. Class 3A will have 24 teams, up from 18, and will have four sections instead of three.

The new Section 4 comprises Brownsville, McGuffey and Waynesburg Central from Section 3 and Section 2 transfers Keystone Oaks and South Park, along with Seton LaSalle.

Derry moved from Section 1 to 3, where it will match with Westmoreland County foes Ligonier Valley, Mt. Pleasant, Southmoreland and Yough, as well as South Allegheny.

Ellis School and Greensburg Central Catholic moved up to join Class 2A and will be in Section 2. Class 2A dropped from 28 teams to 20 as Carlynton, California, Carmichaels, Chartiers-Houston, Frazier and Jeannette dropped to Class A.

Teams from the defunct Section 4 moved into Section 1 with Aliquippa: Freedom, Laurel, Neshannock, New Brighton, Riverside and Shenango.

Former Section 1 rivals Burgettstown, Fort Cherry and OLSH slid into Section 3.

• The highlights of Class A’s changes involve the six teams that dropped down, along with some movement in Section 3 as Bishop Canevin moved over from Section 1 and Monessen from Section 2. WPIAL 2A runner-up Frazier and Jeannette will create additional competition.

Northgate moved from Section 3 to 1.

In and out

East Allegheny and Sto-Rox will not play a WPIAL schedule for the next two-year cycle.

Eden Christian Academy’s softball team will join the WPIAL and play in Section 1-A.

Past champions

Baldwin and Sto-Rox have won 10 WPIAL titles each, tops among district teams. Others with five or more championships include Chartiers-Houston (8), Hempfield (7), North Hills (6), Riverside (6) and West Greene (5).

The Pioneers had their run of five straight Class A championships halted by Union in the spring.

Key dates

March 6: First practice date

March 11: First scrimmage date

March 17: First play date

March 27-28: First section dates

May 11: Playoff pairings meeting

May 31-June 1: WPIAL championships

June 15-16: PIAA championships, Penn State

2023-24 alignment

Class 6A (9 teams)

Section 1: Baldwin, Butler, Canon-McMillan, Hempfield, Mt. Lebanon, North Allegheny, Norwin, Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley

Class 5A (24 teams)

Section 1: Fox Chapel, North Hills, Oakland Catholic, Penn Hills, Plum, Shaler

Section 2: Armstrong, Franklin Regional, Gateway, Kiski Area, Latrobe, Penn-Trafford

Section 3: Mars, Moon, New Castle, South Fayette, West Allegheny, Western Beaver

Section 4: Bethel Park, Connellsville, Peters Township, Thomas Jefferson, Trinity, Upper St. Clair

Class 4A (20 teams)

Section 1: Highlands, Indiana, Knoch, McKeesport, West Mifflin, Woodland Hills

Section 2: Albert Gallatin, Belle Vernon, Elizabeth Forward, Greensburg Salem, Laurel Highlands, Ringgold, Uniontown

Section 3: Ambridge, Beaver, Blackhawk, Chartiers Valley, Hampton, Montour, North Catholic

Class 3A (24 teams)

Section 1: Avonworth, Burrell, Deer Lakes, Freeport, Shady Side Academy, Valley

Section 2: Beaver Falls, Central Valley, Ellwood City, Hopewell, Mohawk, Quaker Valley

Section 3: Derry, Ligonier Valley, Mt. Pleasant, South Allegheny, Southmoreland, Yough

Section 4: Brownsville, Keystone Oaks, McGuffey, Seton LaSalle, South Park, Waynesburg Central

Class 2A (20 teams)

Section 1: Aliquippa, Freedom, Laurel, Neshannock, New Brighton, Riverside, Shenango

Section 2: Apollo-Ridge, Brentwood, Ellis School, Greensburg C.C., Serra Catholic, Steel Valley

Section 3: Bentworth, Beth-Center, Burgettstown, Charleroi, Fort Cherry, OLSH, Washington

Class A (23 teams)

Section 1: Carlynton, Cornell, Eden Christian Academy, Northgate, Rochester, Sewickley Academy, South Side, Union

Section 2: Avella, California, Carmichaels, Chartiers-Houston, Jefferson-Morgan, Mapletown, West Greene

Section 3: Bishop Canevin, Frazier, Jeannette, Leechburg, Monessen, Riverview, Springdale, St. Joseph

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@triblive.com or via Twitter @BHartlep_Trib.

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