What to watch for in WPIAL sports on June 6, 2024: Survivors of rough 1st round back in action in PIAA quarterfinals

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Wednesday, June 5, 2024 | 8:59 PM


Welcome to quarterfinals Thursday in the PIAA diamond playoffs.

WPIAL teams are hoping to rebound after Black Monday.

District 7 baseball and softball teams were falling left and right, including four recently crowned WPIAL baseball champions and one softball winner.

Combined, the WPIAL baseball teams in the first round were 8-11, with champions North Allegheny in 6A, North Catholic in 4A, Seton LaSalle in 2A and Bishop Canevin in A all seeing their season end in stunning fashion.

The District 7 softball teams did a little better, going a combined 10-9 with five of the six 2024 softball champions winning, with the lone exception being Mohawk in Class 3A.

Those numbers are down from a year ago.

In 2023, the WPIAL baseball teams were a collective 10-9 and the district softball teams were an impressive 12-6 in the state opening round.

Golden boys

Hollidaysburg (15-5) won the District 6 Class 5A baseball championship this season, beating Central Mountain in the D-6 finals, 9-1, and then they shut down City League champion Obama Academy in a 5A state preliminary round game, 5-1.

In the opening round of the PIAA playoffs, Hollidaysburg (15-5) defeated Franklin Regional, 4-2.

Now the Golden Tigers try to knock off a third straight area team when they battle WPIAL champion Penn-Trafford (21-3) at Point Stadium in Johnstown at 4 p.m. Thursday.

The Warriors were led by Ian Temple and Carmen Metcalfe, who each had two hits and an RBI in P-T’s first round win over Lower Dauphin, 3-2.

On Friday, WPIAL runner-up Bethel Park (16-7) will take on District 12 champion Monsignor Bonner (18-8) at Cumberland Valley at 2 p.m.

These same two teams met in the state quarterfinals last year as Kevin McGonigle was 3 for 3 with a home run and two RBI as the Friars eliminated the two-time defending PIAA champion Black Hawks, 3-1.

Sweet revenge

In the 2023 PIAA Class 4A baseball quarterfinals, District 6 champion Bellefonte and the fourth seed out of the WPIAL, Indiana, were deadlocked at 5-5 through four innings with a berth in the state final four up for grabs.

The Red Raiders scored four runs in the fifth inning to pull away and win, 11-5.

On Monday, in the first round of this year’s 4A tournament, the Little Indians got sweet revenge as Ben Ryan and Ryan Okopal combined on a three-hit shutout and Chalie Manzi homered as the WPIAL runners-up ousted defending state champion Bellefonte, 3-0.

So Indiana (14-10) returns to the elite eight as it faces District 3 champion East Pennsboro (20-2) at Mount Aloysius College at 2 p.m.

The other game in the western side of the brackets pits Montour (17-7) against Fleetwood (14-8) at Governor’s Park in Bellefonte at 4 p.m.

Both the Spartans and the Tigers finished as the third team in their respective districts, Montour in the WPIAL and Fleetwood in District 3.

Michael Ivanhoff and Jonathan Cecil combined for five hits and three RBIs as the Spartans upset District 10 champion Cathedral Prep in the first round, 5-2.

Productive Jacks

The Jackowski brothers were in full swing for South Allegheny in the first round of the PIAA Class 3A baseball playoffs Monday.

Junior Josh Jackowski had two hits and an RBI and sophomore Caleb Jackowski drove in two runs as the Gladiators eliminated District 6 champion Central Cambria, 10-3.

South Allegheny (20-5) now squares off against District 9 champion Punxsutawney (16-3) at First Commonwealth Field in Homer City at 7 p.m.

The Chucks stunned defending PIAA Class 3A champion Riverside in the opening round, 3-0.

It was the second loss in a row for the Panthers, who also fell to Avonworth in the marathon WPIAL 3A title game.

The Antelopes were one of only two WPIAL baseball champs to reach the state quarterfinals after defeating Martinsburg Central on Monday, 6-1.

John Dolan and Alex Rowe each had two hits while Carson Franc doubled and drove home two in the ‘Lopes win.

Avonworth (16-9) now challenges District 10 champion Fairview (16-3) at Slippery Rock University at noon.

The Tigers bounced Burrell in the opening round, 7-3.

Unchartered skies

Monday’s first round Class A baseball game was the first state playoff contest for Avella in program history.

Now the Eagles look to stay perfect on the state stage and go for 2-0 Thursday.

This has been a historic season for Avella.

They ended a 15-year WPIAL playoff victory drought in a District 7 first-round win over Springdale, then added a first state playoff triumph.

Avella won a shootout over District 10 champion West Middlesex, 12-9.

Bryce Wright continues to have the right stuff for the Eagles. He had three hits and five RBIs, including a tie-breaking bases-loaded triple in the sixth inning.

Avella (13-6) will now do battle with WPIAL runner-up Eden Christian (17-6) at Ross Memorial Park at the Washington & Jefferson College sports complex at 4 p.m.

Caleb Emswiler had a double, home run and two RBIs while teammates Brett Feldman and Brady Hull each had two hits and two RBIs as the Warriors knocked off District 5 champion Conemaugh Township, 6-3.

Avella and Eden Christian met in the WPIAL semifinals where the Warriors knocked off the Eagles, 11-2.

Noah Emswiler was 2 for 4 with a double and two RBI, plus he was the winning pitcher for the Warriors, allowing two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts.

Zero tolerance

The WPIAL Class 6A softball champions were in fine form Monday, whitewashing District 10 champion McDowell in Erie, 11-0.

Anna Kalkowski was 3 for 4 with a triple for the Raiders while start pitcher Lexie Hames struck out 12 Trojans in five innings.

It was the 12th time Seneca Valley had blanked its opponents, but it was only the second shutout in the Raiders’ last 10 games.

Seneca Valley (22-1) will take on the No. 3 team out of District 1, North Penn (22-3), at Chambersburg at 4 p.m.

5A finalists advance

The two teams that played for WPIAL 5A softball gold enjoyed an offensive bonanza in the opening round of the PIAA postseason as Armstrong and Thomas Jefferson combined to score 30 runs Monday.

Shelby Cloak, Jessie Pugh, Jordyn Klingensmith and Lily Guthrie reached base three times as the WPIAL champion River Hawks rolled past Latrobe, 13-2.

Zoe Krizan and Allie Chalovich combined for five hits and nine RBIs in leading the Jaguars past District 3 runner-up Solanco, 17-4.

The two District 7 teams must win one more game before a district title game rematch is set in the state semifinals.

Armstrong (19-3) will go up against District 6 champion Central Mountain (15-5) at Heindl Park in DuBois at 1:30 p.m.

Thomas Jefferson (13-8) next takes on District 1 runner-up West Chester East (16-8) at Chambersburg at 2 p.m.

Them again

WPIAL champion Elizabeth Forward reached the district title game by beating Chartiers Valley in the district semifinals.

Addy Nigut went 3 for 3 with two RBI and Shelby Telegdy struck out 10 as the Warriors defeated the Colts, 7-2, on May 22.

Now Chartiers Valley (18-4) tries to get sweet revenge when it faces Elizabeth Forward (21-1) at Gateway at 2 p.m.

Julia Johnson smacked a walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning and Telegdy allowed only three hits and struck out 12 as EF blanked Big Spring in the opening round, 1-0.

Marta Gualazzi had two hits and scored twice while Lily Duffill had a double and an RBI as the Colts upended District 10 champion Cathedral Prep in Round 1, 6-1.

Three pitching quarters

Of the 12 baseball and softball classifications, the WPIAL enjoyed the most success in the opening round in Class 2A softball.

Three District 7 teams were winners Monday and advanced to the state elite eight.

Two of them square off in a WPIAL semifinal rematch when Bentworth (18-4) once again faces Laurel (20-5) at Gateway at 4 p.m.

In the PIAA first round, Kylie Glaze was 3 for 3 with a home run and two RBIs while freshman Sydney Gonglik allowed only two hits and struck out 14 as the Bearcats beat defending state champion Everett, 4-1.

Also Monday, Mayci Lang was 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI and Autumn Boyd struck out 10 as the Spartans stunned District 9 champion Cranberry, 4-1.

In the WPIAL semis, Sofia Gaussa smacked a two-run walk-off double and Gonglik struck out 14 as Bentworth came back to beat Laurel in an instant classic, 2-1.

WPIAL champion Neshannock also advanced to the second round.

Jaidon Nogay was 2 for 2 with a double and two RBIs and Addy Frye struck out 14 as the Lancers blanked West Shamokin, 11-0.

Neshannock (24-0) looks to remain undefeated when it takes on District 10 champion Saegertown (19-2) at Allegheny College at 1 p.m.

Both of those 2A quarterfinals games can be heard on Trib HSSN.

Southern cooking

WPIAL Class A softball champion Chartiers-Houston and Carmichaels have already faced each other three times.

They are now one victory away in the PIAA quarterfinals from a fourth epic meeting in the state semis.

The Buccaneers got a big game from pitcher Meadow Ferri in the first round, striking out nine while also delivering the game-winning single in a 2-1 win over Berlin-Brothersvalley.

Also on Monday, the Mighty Mikes were winners as Carys McConnell drove home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and winning pitcher Bailey Barnyak struck out 15 in a tight victory over District 10 winner Cambridge Springs, 2-1.

Chartiers-Houston (19-2) will now take on District 6 runner-up West Branch (21-3) at Mount Aloysius College at 3 p.m.

Carmichaels (17-2) goes up against District 6 champion Claysburg-Kimmel (23-1) at Berlin-Brothersvalley at 4 p.m.

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