What to watch for in WPIAL sports for May 15, 2023: WPIAL softball playoffs begin

Sunday, May 14, 2023 | 10:04 PM

The curtain goes up Monday on the WPIAL softball playoffs with first-round action in Class 5A and 4A.

All 16 teams that qualified for the 5A playoffs this spring are in action Monday. Fourteen of them are back in the postseason after making the WPIAL playoffs.

The newcomers are enjoying huge turnarounds: Moon (6-9) and Western Beaver (8-7) combined to go 5-25 last year.

This year, the Section 3-5A foes tied with South Fayette for second place with section records of 5-5.

In the opening round, the Tigers square off with Franklin Regional (11-6) at 4 p.m. at Peterswood Park, and the Golden Beavers battle Latrobe (14-3) at 5 p.m. at Gateway, both on Trib HSSN.

The other six first-round games are:

• Top seed and defending champion Armstrong (16-1) takes on Upper St. Clair (8-8) at 5 p.m. at Norwin (HSSN)

• Undefeated and No. 2 Shaler (16-0) plays Bethel Park (7-10) at 3 p.m. at Fox Chapel

• Third-seed Trinity (15-2) takes on 2022 runner-up Penn-Trafford (6-11) at 2 p.m. at Peterswood Park (HSSN)

• No. 4 West Allegheny (18-1) is challenged by Fox Chapel (8-11) at 5 p.m. at Montour (HSSN)

• 2021 5A champion North Hills (14-3) goes up against South Fayette (10-9) at 3 p.m. at Montour (HSSN)

Thomas Jefferson (13-5) faces Plum (10-8) at 3 p.m. at Gateway in the 8 vs. 9 game. (HSSN)

Four frays in 4A

Elizabeth Forward, Montour, Chartiers Valley and Belle Vernon have earned Class 4A softball byes and are spectators Monday when the other eight teams fight for a quarterfinals spot.

One of the opening-round games pits a pair of section foes together with West Mifflin (12-5) facing McKeesport (9-8) at Norwin at 3 p.m. on Trib HSSN.

The Titans tied Knoch for the Section 1-4A crown and defeated the Tigers twice by combined scores of 20-1.

West Mifflin has won eight of its last 10, and McKeesport picked up victories in four of its last five games.

The other three games are:

• Section 1 co-champ Knoch (10-8) against Uniontown (5-9) at 4 p.m. at West Mifflin

• Two third-place teams collide when Greensburg Salem (10-7) goes up against Hampton (12-5) at 5 p.m. at Fox Chapel

• Two-time defending champion Beaver (7-9) puts its title streak on the line when it meets Indiana (15-4) at 7 p.m. at Gateway (HSSN)

Girls LAX openers

Pine-Richland, Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair and Fox Chapel received first-round byes in the WPIAL Class 3A girls lacrosse playoffs.

That leaves four first-round matches, all starting at 7 p.m.:

North Allegheny visits Peters Township on Trib HSSN with the winner facing top-seed Pine-Richland in the quarterfinals.

North Hills hosts Sewickley Academy with the winner moving on to face Mt. Lebanon.

Seneca Valley travels to Canon-McMillan with the winner moving on to the quarters to face Fox Chapel.

Shady Side Academy is home against Norwin with the winner moving on to battle Upper St. Clair.

Boys LAX lid lifters

Thirteen boys lacrosse teams qualified for the WPIAL playoffs, so there are three first-round byes in the Class 2A field.

That means three teams — Mars, South Fayette and Penn-Trafford — have the first round off.

All the 2A first-round matches are at 7 p.m. Monday.

The fourth and fifth seeds are in action as No. 4 Hampton hosts Seton LaSalle, and No. 5 Trinity is home to North Catholic. The winners play each other in Round 2.

The other three opening-round matches are:

Moon visits Indiana with the winner facing top seed Mars in the second round.

South Park travels to Quaker Valley with the victor taking on South Fayette in the quarterfinals.

Shaler hosts Franklin Regional with the winner moving on to the quarters to battle Penn-Trafford.

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