Ellwood City, Riverside softball to battle in Saturday’s 3 things to watch in high school sports

Friday, April 13, 2018 | 11:06 PM

In the last 10 years, two neighbors near the border of Beaver and Lawrence counties have become golden softball rivals.

Ellwood City has captured two straight WPIAL titles, winning in Class AA in 2016 and in Class 3A in ‘17.

Riverside won Class AA district crowns in 2009 and ‘13. Ten years ago, both the Wolverines and Panthers won WPIAL championships, with Ellwood City edging Belle Vernon, 5-4, in the Class AA finals, and Riverside rolled past South Park, 10-2, in the 2008 Class AAA title game.

But 2018 has been tough out of the gates for both teams, as they are falling behind both Steel Valley and Avonworth in the chase for the top spot in Section 2-3A.

Riverside hosts Ellwood City in the first of two meetings at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Recent history between these teams has been lopsided. Since the two became section rivals in 2015, Ellwood City has won six straight against Riverside, including four straight mercy-rule victories.

The last time the Panthers knocked off the Wolverines was in May of 2013.

Diamond elites in action

There are nine WPIAL baseball and softball games involving Trib HSSN ranked teams Saturday.

In baseball, Class 6A No. 2 North Allegheny hosts Hempfield, Class 5A No. 2 West Allegheny is home to Ellwood City, Class 4A No. 3 Knoch hosts Derry, Class 3A No. 2 Steel Valley visits Chartiers-Houston, and a pair of top-ranked teams hit the field when Class 4A No. 1 Blackhawk visits Highlands and Class 2A No. 1 Serra Catholic entertains Our Lady of the Sacred Heart for the second time this season.

In softball, Class 6A No. 5 North Allegheny hosts Shaler on the TribLive High School Sports Network while Class 4A No. 4 Belle Vernon travels to South Fayette.

The only game pitting Top 5 teams is the Class 3-5A softball game between No. 1 West Allegheny and No. 5 Montour. The Spartans were swept by the district champion Indians in three games a year ago, but all were close. In the regular season, West Allegheny won 6-5 and 5-2. Then the two teams met again in the WPIAL semifinals, with Montour falling in a wild shootout 10-9.

Let's meet at West Mifflin

In a spring where it has been tough sledding (pun intended) for all outdoor scholastic sports, one of the top meets will be greeted with warm weather Saturday at West Mifflin.

The 2018 Tri-State Track Coaches Association championships will take place Saturday, starting at 11 a.m.

Between 30 and 40 schools from Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio and Northern West Virginia will be represented at the event.

Don Rebel is a TribLive High School Sports Network broadcaster and staff writer. Reach him at drebel@tribweb.com.

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