What to watch for in WPIAL sports on June 13, 2023: Shaler, Mt. Lebanon try again to earn state final berths

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Tuesday, June 13, 2023 | 12:08 AM


Mother Nature did a great job cooperating through the district baseball and softball postseason and the first two rounds of the state playoffs.

That changed on a wet Monday as several statewide baseball and softball games were postponed.

They now join PIAA boys volleyball and boys and girls lacrosse semifinals to make for a busy Tuesday across the commonwealth.

Baseball

The Mt. Lebanon baseball team is proving this spring that April means nothing.

With great expectations as defending district 6A champs, the Blue Devils started the season 0-4 in their section and 0-8 overall.

Since then though, Mt. Lebanon has been on fire, winning 15 of its last 17 games, including a second straight WPIAL title.

Mt. Lebanon (15-10) will play District 3 champion Cedar Cliff (20-6) at Mount Aloysius College at 2 p.m. Tuesday in a 6A semifinal on Trib HSSN.

The Blue Devils are 1-2 in state semifinals, beating Plum in 1998 while losing to North Allegheny in 1993 and Moon in 2001. The Colts are 0-1 in the final four, having lost to Lampeter-Strasburg in the 2019 5A semifinals.

WPIAL vs. D-12 champs

The rivalry is historic, Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia.

Whether it’s the Pirates and Phillies in the late 70s or the Penguins and Flyers … whenever, it seems all things are turned up a notch when the two biggest cities in Pa. collide.

It doesn’t happen often, but there is usually a lot at stake when a WPIAL team goes head to head against a team from the Philadelphia public or Catholic league.

That will be the case in Hershey on Tuesday when Shaler (21-4) takes on Monsignor Bonner (12-3) at 3:30 p.m.

Both teams feature a player likely to be chosen in the MLB draft next month.

The Titans have Alabama recruit Miguel Hugas, who bat helped the team in the PIAA first round with two hits and four RBIs, then he pitched Shaler past Penn-Trafford in the quarterfinals, allowing only five hits with six strikeouts in the 4-1 win.

The Friars have Kevin McGonigle, an Auburn recruit who most feel will be a first-round pick next month. He was 3 for 3 with a double, home run and 2 RBIs in a 3-1 quarterfinal win over Bethel Park.

Other baseball makeups

There were a total of eight PIAA baseball games postponed Monday.

Besides the Mt. Lebanon and Shaler games, here is the rest of the baseball state semifinals schedule Tuesday.

• North Penn (21-5) out of District 1 takes on District 12 champion Father Judge (16-1) at Neumann University at 3 p.m. in Class 6A.

• District 1 champion Strath Haven (21-4) will face District 3 runner-up Greencastle-Antrim (19-5) at Wenger Field in Fredericksburg at 6:30 p.m. in Class 5A.

• District 2 champion Dallas (16-7) will battle District 12 champion Archbishop Wood at DeSales University at 4:30 p.m. in Class 4A.

• District 11 champion Saucon Valley (24-3) will play District 3 champion Camp Hill (20-3) at Wenger Field in Fredericksburg at 4 p.m. in 3A

• District 3 champion Kutztown (19-5) takes on District 6 runner-up Mount Union (23-2) at Big Spring at 4 p.m. in 2A.

• District 1 champion Dock Mennonite (21-2) faces District 9 runner-up DuBois Central Catholic (19-5) at Central Columbia at 4 p.m. in Class A.

Softball

The six “western” semifinals games were all played Monday, however all six “eastern” softball final four games were postponed until Tuesday.

• District 1 champion North Penn (26-0) will take on Chambersburg (22-3) out of District 3 at Millersville University at 6 p.m. in Class 6A.

• District 2 champion Abington Heights (19-6) will battle District 3 champion Northern York (22-4) at Patriots Park in Allentown at 6 p.m. in 5A.

• District 11 champion Blue Mountain (23-3) squares off with runner-up Northwestern Lehigh (22-4) in a rematch of the D-11 finals at Patriots Park in Allentown at 4 p.m. in 4A. The Eagles beat the Tigers in the D-11 finals, 4-3.

• District 11 champion Palisades (24-2) will play District 2 champion Mid Valley (21-2) at Bloomsburg University at 4 p.m. in 3A.

• District 4 champion South Williamsport (21-2) goes up against District 6 champion Bald Eagle (22-2) at Central Mountain at 1 p.m. in 2A.

• District 11 champion Tri Valley (22-2) plays Glendale (21-4) from District 6 at Central Mountain at 3 p.m. in Class A.

Titanic spring

While the Shaler softball team is state-championship bound and the baseball team hits the field Tuesday for a spot in the PIAA finals, the Titans boys volleyball team is also still alive for state gold.

Shaler will battle District 3 runner-up Central York at Altoona at 7 p.m.

The Panthers defeated North Allegheny in the PIAA first round, 3-2, before sweeping past District 12 champion LaSalle College in the quarterfinals, 3-0.

Shaler cruised past Warwick in the opening round, 3-0, before surviving a challenge from Canon-McMillan in the quarterfinals, 3-2.

Shaler has never played for a boys volleyball state championship while Central York has won state gold six times: 1975, 1977, 1982, 1985, 2014 and 2017.

Repeating history

The Mars boys lacrosse team is the only WPIAL boys or girls lacrosse team left heading into the PIAA semifinals Tuesday.

In a Class 2A semifinal, Mars will take on District 3 champion Lampeter-Strasburg at Panzer Stadium at Penn State at 4 p.m.

The Fightin’ Planets have outscored their two state playoff opponents Camp Hill Trinity and Susquehannock, 26-6.

The Mars boys lacrosse team made history in 2021 when it became the first lacrosse team from the WPIAL to reach the PIAA finals. The Fightin’ Planets lost in the 2A championship to Allentown Central Catholic, 14-5.

Last year, they made history again by reaching the title match and winning a PIAA title, 9-6, over Marple Newtown.

Now the Fightin’ Planets are one win away from a third trip to the state finals.

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