Playoff seeds sit well with Norwin, Franklin Regional baseball teams

Friday, May 14, 2021 | 8:30 PM

Nothing seems to bother baseball coaches when it comes to pairings.

So it was no surprise to see North Allegheny (17-3) seeded No. 1 in Class 6A despite a nonsection loss to No. 2 Norwin (13-3). All three Tigers losses were by a run.

“Class 6A was pretty straightforward,” Hempfield coach Tim Buzzard said. “We tied Norwin for the section and North Allegheny won its outright. I’d say it was right.”

The Spartans (13-7) were seeded No. 3 and Mt. Lebanon (10-7) was fourth.

Norwin faces Seneca Valley (11-8) at noon May 22 at West Mifflin while Hempfield gets Central Catholic (10-8) following the first game.

Knights coach Mike Liebdzinski said a couple late-season losses cost his team the No. 1 seed.

“We just didn’t play our best ball in a couple games,” Liebdzinski said. “I didn’t think we’d get the top seed after that. This is the first time in 18 years we actually got the pairings right. We’re just focused on the first game.”

Franklin Regional was the only Westmoreland County team to receive a No. 1 seed in Class 5A, and that pleased coach Bob Saddler.

“I feel we are deserving of it because of our overall body of work during the season,” Saddler said. “We were good in all three phases of the game. We didn’t need to rely on one thing. If one thing failed, the others picked us up.”

Franklin Regional had a .970 fielding percentage, batted .360 as a team, and the team ERA was 2.00.

“We played well,” Saddler said. “Were we worthy of the No. 1 seed? Yes. But you’re never guaranteed anything. We were very consistent all season.”

Franklin Regional opens the playoffs against Thomas Jefferson (5-9) at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Hempfield. Latrobe (11-8) faces Plum (11-6) at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Norwin in the second game of a doubleheader, while Penn-Trafford (12-6) gets Connellsville (9-7) at 2 p.m.

The other No. 1 seeds were Eden Christian in Class A, Seton-La Salle in Class 2A, Hopewell in Class 3A and Montour in Class 4A.

Greensburg Central Catholic (12-4) was seeded No. 2 in Class A. The Centurions don’t play until May 24 against the winner of Riverview and Avella.

Centurions coach Tom Appleby said a couple of losses this week probably cost his team the No. 1 seed.

“We’re in a good position,” Appleby said. “At this time of the year, you have to worry about your next game. I have to figure out what we’re going to do before our first game in more than a week.”

Derry (11-3) came on late in the season to capture the Section 3-3A title and was seeded No. 5. It will face New Brighton (7-10) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Latrobe.

Yough (6-7) will meet Deer Lakes (9-5) in a Class 3A game at noon Thursday at Highlands, while Ligonier Valley (7-10) will play its first WPIAL playoff game at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at West Mifflin against No. 2 seed Avonworth (12-7).

Belle Vernon (5-8), which got a walk-off win Thursday night against Greensburg Salem to earn a playoff berth, faces Highlands 12-8) at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Plum in a Class 4A game.

The WPIAL championship games will be played June 1-2 at Wild Things Park in Washington.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at

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