Westmoreland County baseball notebook: Playoff picture coming into focus

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Thursday, May 4, 2023 | 11:01 AM


With a week to play in the regular season, the Westmoreland County baseball playoff field is just about set.

The WPIAL will announce seedings and opening-round pairings next Friday, and games could start the following Monday.

All games will be played at neutral sites.

The championships will be May 30-31 at Wild Things Park in Washington.

The top four teams in each section qualify for the postseason.

County teams already in the playoffs are Latrobe and Kiski Area in Class 4A, Yough and Greensburg Salem in 3A and Greensburg Central Catholic in 2A.

Hempfield and Norwin remain in contention in 6A as they began a three-game series against each other this week.

Franklin Regional and Penn-Trafford were in the thick of the Section 1-5A race as they tried to secure a berth.

Franklin Regional, Fox Chapel and Plum were all 6-2, with Penn-Trafford at 5-3 and Armstrong at 6-4.

Belle Vernon was tied for third in Section 2-4A, and Derry was in a three-way jam for third in Section 3-3A.

Yough and Greensburg Salem were set to meet in a season-ending series in 3-3A that will decide the section champion.

Mt. Pleasant, though, was hanging around in fifth place in that section, a game behind Waynesburg. Those teams still had to play each other twice.

Ligonier Valley was two games up on Apollo-Ridge for fourth in Section 3-2A.

Weather woes

Rain and frigid temperatures wiped out several local section series this week, including Norwin-Hempfield, which will now be Thursday, Friday and Monday. Games 1 and 3 are at Norwin.

Yough was set to play McGuffey in an important two-game series in 3A. Those games were bumped to Thursday at Wild Things Park and Friday at Yough.

Next week

Some key games to watch next week could be thick with section title and playoff implications.

On Monday, keep an eye on Hempfield at Norwin, Penn-Trafford at Franklin Regional, Shady Side Academy at Derry, Southmoreland at Mt. Pleasant and Yough at Greensburg Salem.

On Tuesday, watch Franklin Regional at Penn-Trafford, Greensburg Salem at Yough, Mt. Pleasant at Southmoreland and Jeannette at Ligonier Valley.

Rankings check

Franklin Regional jumped one spot to No. 4 in the Trib Class 5A rankings, while Latrobe joined the top five in 4A, at No. 5.

Greensburg Salem remained No. 5 in 3A.

Double-dip

Belle Vernon senior Jake Wessel signed to play baseball at Penn State Behrend, but he won’t be in the hitting cage or on the field year round.

That is because Wessel, who has a 4.9 grade-point average, also plans to swim for the Lions.

“It means a lot to me just to continue doing what I love,” Wessel told the Mon Valley Independent. “(The sports) are both so different in their own way and I feel as though they’re two different parts of myself. I love that I don’t have to pick who I want to be in the sense of only fitting into one group.”

Wessel was hitting .366 with a team-high 15 hits, and nine runs scored for the Leopards. His swimming events are the 50- and 100-yard breaststrokes, and the 50 and 100 freestyles.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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