What to watch for in WPIAL sports on March 22, 2023: Recent WPIAL champs meet on diamond

Tuesday, March 21, 2023 | 11:47 PM

A pair of recent WPIAL baseball champions collide in one of 23 WPIAL nonsection baseball games set for Wednesday.

Beaver won the 2019 Class 4A district championship when it routed rival Blackhawk, 13-2.

After the 2020 season was postponed due to covid-19, New Castle won it all in 4A in 2021 when it shut out Montour in the finals, 5-0.

The Bobcats remain in Class 4A while the Red Hurricane have moved up this season to 5A.

It is the home opener for New Castle, which opened its season Tuesday with a loss to Neshannock, while Beaver opened its season on Tuesday with a win over Highlands.

Wednesday’s game is set for 4 p.m.

Quick start

Despite finishing 11-10 last season, perennial power Pine-Richland was ranked No. 2 in the Trib HSSN preseason baseball rankings.

The Rams are off and running, looking for their third victory in three games Wednesday when they visit Plum.

Pine-Richland has been impressive, beating Hempfield and Norwin by a combined score of 16-1.

This will be the Mustangs’ season opener after finishing 12-7 last year and losing in the 5A first round to Shaler.

Clean slate

There were six WPIAL softball teams that did not win a game in the 2022 season.

Two of them begin a clean slate Wednesday with the hopes that a new season will bring some softball success.

Butler finished 0-13 last season and in last place in Section 2-6A. The Golden Tornado hope the winds of change are coming even after losing their opener Tuesday to New Castle.

On Wednesday, Butler visits Fox Chapel. The Foxes finished as co-champs in Section 3-5A.

Woodland Hills was 0-13 last spring.

The Wolverines open a new season against a familiar foe as they host Penn Hills.

The Indians won both Section 1-5A games by a combined score of 31-1.

Adding to the optimism for Woodland Hills this season: They have dropped in classification to 4A.

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