What to watch for in WPIAL sports on April 26, 2023: Top seed could be on the line in 6A softball

Tuesday, April 25, 2023 | 11:32 PM

Norwin (10-1, 12-2) has five Section 1-6A games left while defending champion Seneca Valley (9-1, 10-1) has six remaining entering a busy day of WPIAL softball.

While the Knights and Raiders are tied for first place with one section loss each, Hempfield is a game behind them, and North Allegheny trails by two games.

However, the Seneca Valley at Norwin game Wednesday may go a long way to determine who finishes on top and earns the No. 1 seed in the district 6A playoffs.

This is the second meeting between these big-school powers. The Knights’ only section loss came on the road against the Raiders on April 4, 4-0.

Seneca Valley super sophomore Lexie Hames pitched a complete game one-hitter with 16 strikeouts in that first meeting against Norwin, while senior Mia Ryan and sophomore Bella Gross each had a hit and an RBI for the Raiders.

The Knights have not lost since, winning eight in a row. The Raiders come into the showdown having won four straight after their only loss of the season April 12 to Hempfield, 3-2.

Battles for first and fourth

While the WPIAL softball games with section title implications garner a lot of attention this time of year, the battles for fourth place are just as important in forming each classification’s playoff field this spring.

Several games scheduled for Wednesday fall into those categories:

• In Section 2-5A, Kiski Area and Penn-Trafford are deadlocked for fourth place behind Armstrong, Latrobe and Franklin Regional. Both the Cavaliers and Warriors are 2-5 with three section games left. Kiski Area hosts Penn-Trafford on Wednesday.

• There are two key games in Section 2-4A on Wednesday. Undefeated Elizabeth Forward is 8-0 and in first place in the section, one game ahead of 7-1 Belle Vernon. The Warriors host the Leopards while Albert Gallatin visits Greensburg Salem. A half-game separates the two teams in the battle for fourth place as the Colonials are 4-5 and the Golden Lions are 3-5.

• Two-time defending champion Beaver is in jeopardy of missing the playoffs in Section 3-4A. The Bobcats are in fifth place at 2-6, one game behind fourth-place Blackhawk (3-5). The Bobcats visit the Cougars on Wednesday.

Deer Lakes’ hopes of a Section 1-3A crown are in the balance when it visits first-place Avonworth. The Antelopes are a perfect 7-0 in the section while the Lancers are 5-1, with their only loss coming at home to the ‘Lopes on April 12, 4-0.

• First place is up for grabs in Section 2-3A on Wednesday as Hopewell visits Central Valley. The Vikings are 6-1 and the Warriors are a game back at 5-2. Hopewell won the first meeting at home in a thriller, 8-7.

• The Section 3-3A crown could be decided when Southmoreland hosts Yough. The Scotties are in first place at 5-1 in the section and a win would give them a two-game lead with three section games remaining. The Cougars are alone in second place at 5-2.

Let’s play two

There are less than a dozen WPIAL section baseball games scheduled for Wednesday.

The most action will be in Section 1-3A with the top two teams in action.

First place and undefeated Riverside (7-0, 11-0) will visit Quaker Valley (4-5, 5-6) in the second game of their section series. Riverside won the opener on Tuesday, 11-1.

While the Panthers are on top of the section, the Quakers are trying to catch Shenango (3-3) for fourth place.

Second-place Mohawk (5-1, 9-2) will play its section series in one day against Beaver Falls (0-7, 0-7).

The 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. games will be played at Mohawk.

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