What to watch for in WPIAL sports for June 5, 2023: PIAA baseball, softball playoffs commence

By:
Sunday, June 4, 2023 | 10:20 PM


The WPIAL and the other 11 district baseball and softball playoffs are in the books.

All of the winners, along with some of the runners-up and consolation survivors will now turn their full attention to the PIAA diamond postseason over the next two weeks, starting Monday.

Baseball

Two WPIAL baseball teams won state gold a year ago and neither team was a district champ, giving hope to the 13 District 7 baseball teams that are participating in the 2023 PIAA baseball playoffs without recently draping district gold medals around their necks.

Bethel Park (17-5) will open up defense of its back-to-back Class 5A championships with a trip to Central Pennsylvania and Memorial Park to face District 3 champion Mechanicsburg (18-6) at 4 p.m.

The other defending PIAA champion from the WPIAL is Montour (20-4). The Spartans are the No. 3 seed out of District 7 in Class 4A and will head north to Mercyhurst University in Erie to take on District 10 champion Cathedral Prep (21-1) at 4:30 p.m.

In the last five PIAA postseasons, eight WPIAL teams have won state baseball gold: Bethel Park in 2021 and 2022, Montour in 2022, New Castle in 2021, Canon-McMillan, Ringgold and Vincentian Academy in 2018 and Latrobe in 2017.

Baseball champs enjoy roads less traveled

The six WPIAL champions will either be playing at home or close to home Monday in their PIAA openers.

• Class 6A champion Mt. Lebanon (13-10) heads down the road to Boyce-Mayview Park in Upper St. Clair to face Manheim Township (14-10) from District 3 at 2 p.m.

• 5A champ Shaler (19-4) will play Muhlenberg (15-8) from District 3 at North Allegheny at 2 p.m.

• 4A surprise winner Hopewell (12-11) goes up against Northern Lebanon (17-7) from District 3 at Ross Memorial Field in Washington at 3 p.m.

• 3A champion Riverside (21-0) will host District 6 runner-up Tyrone (12-11) at 3 p.m.

• 2A champ Seton LaSalle (17-4) takes on District 9 runner-up Karns City (15-7) at North Allegheny at 5 p.m.

• Class A winner Bishop Canevin (15-3) is challenged by District 10 runner-up Saegertown (18-3) at Boyce-Mayview in Upper St. Clair at 5 p.m.

Other openers

There are 11 other PIAA first-round games involving WPIAL teams.

These Nos. 2, 3 or 4 seeds out of the WPIAL will hit the road to other districts to battle for a spot in the state quarterfinals Thursday.

• North Allegheny (16-7) heads to Erie to take on District 10 champion McDowell (15-6) at Mercyhurst University at 11:30 a.m. in Class 6A. (HSSN)

Penn-Trafford (15-6) plays District 6 champion Central Mountain (20-1) at Lock Haven University at 4 p.m. in 5A.

Latrobe (17-7) goes up against District 6 champion Bellefonte (16-5) at Governor’s Park in Bellefonte at 2 p.m. in 4A.

Indiana (15-10) visits District 3 champion East Pennsboro (15-7) at 4 p.m. in 4A. (HSSN)

Neshannock (18-5) battles District 9 champion Punxsutawney (18-2) at Showers Field in DuBois at 6 p.m. in 3A.

Avonworth (18-6) plays at District 6 champion Philipsburg-Osceola (16-5) at 4 p.m. in 3A.

East Allegheny (14-7) goes north to Erie to play District 10 champion Fairview (17-2) at Mercyhurst University at 2 p.m. in 3A.

Serra Catholic (19-3) will take on District 10 champion Sharpsville (14-7) at Slippery Rock University at 4:30 p.m. in 2A.

Burgettstown (15-4) will battle District 9 champion Redbank Valley (18-4) at Showers Field in DuBois at 1 p.m. (HSSN)

California (14-8) visits Southern Fulton (22-1) at 4:30 p.m. in A.

• Class A Union (14-5) opens up the state playoffs by facing District 10 champion West Middlesex (14-9) at Slippery Rock University at 2 p.m.

Softball

The ‘Lopes and Lancers hoisted state softball gold last season.

Now, Avonworth in 3A and Neshannock in 2A will begin the process of trying to defend their PIAA championships.

In the opening round Monday, Avonworth (21-1) will face a tough task in District 10 runner-up Fort LeBoeuf (20-1) at North Allegheny at 2 p.m. The Bison were undefeated, but lost to Jamestown in the D-10 title game.

Neshannock (20-0) looks to break a tie for what is believed to be the longest winning streak in WPIAL softball history when it hosts Penns Valley (16-5) at 4:30 p.m. on Trib HSSN. The Lancers have won 46 in a row, which is tied with Hempfield for what could be the most consecutive wins in district history.

Home cooking

Besides Avonworth and Neshannock, four other District 7 softball champions will stay close to open as they begin their quest for more gold.

• 6A champion Hempfield (18-3) will host District 6 winner Mifflin County (12-9) at 11 a.m. The Spartans are the only WPIAL team in the 6A bracket.

• 5A champ Trinity (19-2) will play Solanco (21-3) from District 3 at North Allegheny at 4 p.m. (HSSN)

• 4A winner Belle Vernon (18-4) will battle Camp Hill Trinity (17-6) from District 3 at Hempfield at 2 p.m.

• Class A champion Union (17-3) will take on District 5 runner-up Berlin-Brothersvalley (13-8) at Neshannock at 2 p.m. (HSSN)

Other state softball lid lifters

There are a dozen other PIAA first-round softball playoff games involving WPIAL teams.

These Nos. 2, 3 or 4 seeds out of the WPIAL will head on the bus and prepare for a lengthy trek to other districts to battle for a spot in the state second round Thursday.

Armstrong (19-2) will visit District 3 runner-up Mechanicsburg (22-3) at 4 p.m. in 5A.

Shaler (19-1) will travel to District 6 champion Central Mountain (16-3) at 3 p.m. in 5A.

• Montour (15-4) is at District 6 champion Bellefonte (14-5) at 4:30 p.m. in 4A.

Elizabeth Forward (18-1) heads north to play District 10 champion Cathedral Prep (20-2) at Penn State-Behrend at 2 p.m. in 4A.

Southmoreland (16-3) visits District 5 champ Chestnut Ridge (16-3) at 4:30 p.m. in 3A.

Burrell (14-6) at District 6 champion Juniata (22-3) at 4 p.m. in 3A.

Waynesburg Central (16-5) battles District 10 champion Jamestown (20-2) at Allegheny College at 3 p.m. in 3A. (HSSN)

• Laurel (16-3) travels to District 5 champion Everett (22-0) at 4:30 p.m. in 2A.

Greensburg Central Catholic (14-3) visits Cranberry (13-7) at 4 p.m. in 2A.

Carmichaels (18-1) begins its trek on the eastern side of the bracket with a game against District 9 winner DuBois Central Catholic (18-3) at Heindl Field in DuBois at 4 p.m. in A. (HSSN)

Chartiers-Houston (14-6) will face District 10 winner Cambridge Springs (14-4) at Penn State-Behrend at 4 p.m. in A.

Frazier (14-3) will take on District 6 champion Claysburg-Kimmel (20-3) at Central Cambria at 4 p.m.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

More Baseball

Pinch hitter comes through in extra innings to send North Allegheny past Pine-Richland in WPIAL semifinals
High school roundup for May 21, 2024: Bethel Park, West Allegheny advance in 5A bracket
Avonworth sophomore delivers walk-off hit against Burrell in Class 3A semifinals
Mt. Lebanon digs out of hole, beats Seneca Valley in WPIAL Class 6A semifinals
Big inning carries Penn-Trafford past Franklin Regional to WPIAL championship game