What to watch for in WPIAL sports for May 13, 2024: Softball, lacrosse playoffs commence

Sunday, May 12, 2024 | 4:49 PM

Warm and sunny is a perfect way to start the 2024 WPIAL playoffs, with softball and lacrosse first-round contests getting the ball rolling Monday.

A year ago, the Shaler softball team was the No. 2 seed in the WPIAL Class 5A bracket.

The Titans defeated Bethel Park and Franklin Regional before being knocked off by eventual champion Trinity in the district semifinals.

Shaler regrouped thanks in part to the pitching of freshman Bria Bosiljevac and defeated Central Mountain, Trinity and Armstrong to reach the PIAA title game, where they lost to Northern York, 3-2.

After a 14-3 season, the Titans are hoping for another lengthy postseason run, but they will have to do so without Bosiljevac, who is sidelined for the rest of the season with a hand injury.

She last pitched in early April, so the team has adjusted to life without their sophomore sensation.

The Titans won five straight before losing to Seneca Valley in their regular-season finale.

Shaler is the No. 5 seed and will open the postseason against No. 12 Franklin Regional at 4 p.m. at Plum.

In the other seven first-round 5A games:

• Top seed and 2023 runner-up Armstrong (14-3) will play Western Beaver (6-6) at 5 p.m. at North Allegheny.

Connellsville (12-7) was the Section 4-5A co-champion, but they are the No. 8 and will battle the third-place team out of Section 1-5A, Plum (11-6), at 4 p.m. at Gateway on Trib HSSN.

• Two teams that lost in the opening round of the playoffs a year ago collide at West Mifflin when No. 4 Penn-Trafford (12-5) faces No. 13 Bethel Park (10-9) on Trib HSSN.

North Hills (13-4) won the Section 1-5A championship and is the No. 2 seed as they meet No. 15 Mars (6-12) at 3 p.m. at North Allegheny.

• Back in late March, No. 7 South Fayette (11-5) defeated No. 10 Thomas Jefferson (9-7), 7-5. Now they meet again at 2 p.m. at Peterswood Park in Peters Townshipfor a spot in the 5A quarterfinals.

• A year ago in the 5A first round, No. 3 West Allegheny (17-3) crushed No. 14 Fox Chapel (7-9), 18-3. The rematch is set for 7 p.m. at North Allegheny on Trib HSSN.

• Defending WPIAL 5A champion Trinity (11-5) is the No. 6 seed as they take on No. 11 Latrobe (9-10) at 5 p.m. at Montour.

No bye for you

The three section winners received first-round byes in the WPIAL Class 4A softball playoffs.

No. 4 Chartiers Valley (14-3) was deemed the best of the rest and would have received an opening round bye if not for a doubleheader sweep by their first-round opponent.

Highlands (3-13) entered their April 30 section doubleheader with Woodland Hills with only one win all season, but they swept the Wolverines to finish 3-7 in Section 1-4A, good enough for a tie with McKeesport.

The Golden Rams’ other win was against the Tigers, so they both qualified and the playoff field expanded from 12 to 13 teams.

The Colts and Golden Rams will meet at 3 p.m. at Montour.

In the other four first-round 4A contests Monday:

Uniontown (8-6) squares off against West Mifflin (10-8) in the 8-9 game at 2 p.m. at Gateway on Trib HSSN. The winner faces top-seeded Elizabeth Forward on Wednesday.

• 2023 was the year of the silver lining for Montour (9-6) as they were the WPIAL and PIAA softball runner-ups. Now as the No. 5 seed, the Spartans open the 2024 postseason against McKeesport (7-10) at 3 p.m. at West Mifflin on Trib HSSN.

• No. 7 Knoch (13-6) edged Uniontown in the first round a year ago, 7-6. This season, the Knights face No. 10 Greensburg Salem (8-12) at 6 p.m. at Plum. The winner faces No. 2 Hampton in the second round.

• Like Trinity in 5A, the 4A defending district champion, Belle Vernon, is the No. 6 seed with a 13-6 record after finishing second in Section 2-4A. The Leopards draw No. 11 Blackhawk (8-7) at 4 p.m. at Peterswood Park in Peters Township. The winner plays No. 3 Indiana in the quarterfinals Wednesday.

Lax brackets begin

Monday marks the start of the WPIAL lacrosse playoffs with first-round matches in the girls 3A and boys 2A brackets.

There are 13 teams in the 3A girls tournament as top-seeded Mt. Lebanon, defending champion Pine-Richland and Upper St. Clair receiving opening-round byes.

Here are the five first-round matches, which all begin at 7 p.m.:

• No. 9 Sewickley Academy (7-5) at No. 8 North Allegheny (7-8), with the winner facing top-seeded Mt. Lebanon in the quarterfinals.

• No. 13 Butler (7-7) visiting No. 4 Fox Chapel (12-4).

• No 5 Shady Side Academy (10-4) hosting No. 12 Norwin (9-8).

• No. 7 Canon-McMillan (10-4) welcomes No. 10 North Hills (9-7) to Big Mac Stadium in Canonsburg. The winner takes on defending champion and No. 2 seed Pine-Richland in the next round.

• No. 11 Seneca Valley (4-11) travels to No. 6 Peters Township (9-9), with the winner slated to play No. 3 Upper St. Clair in the quarters.

There are 12 teams in the boys 2A postseason, with four teams receiving opening-round byes. They are seven-time defending champion Mars, South Fayette, Penn-Trafford and Hampton.

Here are the four first-round matches:

• In a doubleheader at Bethel Park, No. 8 Seton LaSalle (10-4) battles No. 9 Latrobe (9-6) at 5:30 p.m. with the winner drawing No. 1 Mars in the quarterfinals, and No. 5 Bethel Park (11-6) hosts No. 12 Quaker Valley (7-6) at 7:30 p.m. with the winner moving on to play No. 4 Hampton.

• No. 7 Indiana (10-5) welcomes No. 10 Freeport (8-5), with the victor facing No. 2 South Fayette in Round 2.

• No. 11 Moon (7-9) visits No. 6 Shaler (11-5), with the winner moving on to the quarterfinals to play No. 3 Penn-Trafford on Wednesday.

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