What to watch for in WPIAL sports on May 14, 2024: Baseball playoffs get started

By:
Tuesday, May 14, 2024 | 12:08 AM


Welcome to the second day of the WPIAL softball and lacrosse playoffs, along with the lid-lifters in the baseball and boys volleyball postseason.

The curtain goes up on the baseball playoffs with first round games in Class 3A, 2A and A on Tuesday.

In Class 3A, Mohawk was swept in the final section series of the regular season by defending champion Riverside, dropping from first place to second place in Section 1-3A.

However, that result didn’t hurt the Warriors when it came to seeding, as they were given the No. 2 seed by the district steering committee.

Now Mohawk (16-3) must face an East Allegheny (12-6) team that ended the Warriors’ season in heartbreaking fashion in the 3A quarterfinals a year ago.

The Warriors led the Wildcats in the sixth inning, 4-1, before EA rallied for four runs to eliminate Mohawk, 5-4.

East Allegheny was the higher seeded team in that game with the No. 4 seed: however, that is not the case in this matchup as the Wildcats are the No. 15 seed.

The game is at Matulevic Field in Shaler at 4:30 p.m. and can be heard on Trib HSSN.

In the other seven first round 3A games:

• Top seed and 2023 WPIAL and PIAA champion Riverside (13-1) will play No. 16 Keystone Oaks (4-10) at North Allegheny at 4:30 p.m.

• No. 8 Shady Side Academy (9-7) lost four of its final six games as it battles No. 9 South Park (12-7), which won five of its last six games. The contest takes place at 7 p.m. at Plum and can be seen on Trib HSSN.

• No. 4 South Allegheny (15-4) won its last seven Section 2-3A games to claim the section crown. The Gladiators open the postseason against No. 13 McGuffey (6-8), one of two teams in this tournament with a sub-500 record. The game is at Boyce-Mayview in Upper St. Clair at 4:30 p.m.

• No. 5 Valley (16-4) was the No. 16 seed a year ago. Now the Section 3 champs must battle a tough fourth-place team in No. 12 Shenango (10-9) at North Allegheny at 7 p.m. on Trib HSSN.

• No. 10 Greensburg Salem (8-8) was upset last year by No. 12 Mohawk in the opening round. Now the Golden Lions try to pull off the minor surprise when they face No. 7 Avonworth (12-8), which reached the 3A final four a year ago. The game is at Peterswood Park in Peters Township at 7 p.m.

• No. 14 Burrell (11-8) finished a game out of first place in Section 3-3A, but was named the No. 14 seed as it prepares to go up against No. 3 Mt. Pleasant (13-4), the Section 4-3A champion. The Bucs and Vikings collide at Gateway at 4:30 p.m.

Neshannock (11-9) was the district runner-up a year ago and has a strong pedigree on the diamond. Yet the Lancers are the No. 11 seed and will open up against the runner-up in Section 4, Waynesburg (13-3), at Boyce-Mayview in USC at 7 p.m.

Ba-bye bye

Two section winners and a runner-up were awarded the three first-round byes in the 2024 WPIAL Class 2A baseball playoffs, leaving one section champion having to earn its spot in the quarterfinals.

Section 1-2A champion Burgettstown (11-3) drew the No.4 seed and will be in action Tuesday when it faces No. 13 Jeannette (7-9) at Burkett Field in Robinson Township at 7 p.m.

The Blue Devils have won eight straight while the Jayhawks have dropped eight of their last nine.

In the other four first-round 2A contests:

• North battles south in the district landscape as No. 8 Laurel (11-8) battles No. 9 Charleroi (10-7) at Burkett Park in Robinson at 4:30 p.m. on Trib HSSN. The winner faces top seed Serra Catholic.

• No. 5 Greensburg Central Catholic (11-5) will face No. 12 Washington (9-9) at Gateway at 2 p.m. The Centurions were 2-4 in their last six games while the Little Prexies were 3-4 in their last seven.

• No. 7 Riverview (12-6), which had won five in a row before losing its last three games, goes up against No. 10 Beth-Center (9-9), which defeated Washington on the final night of section play to earn a playoff berth. The Raiders and Bulldogs meet at Gateway at 7 p.m. on Trib HSSN.

• No. 6 Chartiers-Houston (9-8) goes up against No. 11 Freedom (11-8) at the Burkett Complex in Robinson Township at 2 p.m.

Grade ‘A’ openers

Seventy years ago, Springdale won its second WPIAL baseball championship.

The Dynamos won their first in 1939, and then the second district title came in the spring of 1954.

It was 53 years later when the orange and black attack captured diamond gold again when Springdale beat California, 5-2, to win the 2007 WPIAL crown.

Now, 17 years later, No. 11 Springdale (5-9) is a major longshot to bring home title No. 4, but first it must surprise No. 6 Avella (9-5).

The Eagles finished in a three-way tie for second place in Section 1-A with Carmichaels and West Greene.

The winner will advance to the quarterfinals to play No. 3 seed Fort Cherry.

The game is at the Boyce-Mayview Complex in Upper St. Clair at 2 p.m. and can be seen on Trib HSSN.

In the other three first round A contests:

• No. 8 Carmichaels (11-4) goes up against No. 9 Carlynton (12-9) at Peterswood Park in Peters Township at 2 p.m. with the winner moving on to play top seed Union.

• No. 5 Western Beaver (9-7) will face No. 12 Sewickley Academy (5-10) at North Allegheny at 2 p.m. with the winner slated to play defending district champion and No. 4 seed Bishop Canevin.

• No. 7 West Greene (11-5) will battle No. 10 Leechburg (9-7) at Peterswood Park in Peters Township at 4:30 p.m. with the winner facing No. 2 Eden Christian Academy in the quarterfinals.

Loping toward history

In the 50-year history of WPIAL Class 3A softball, only one school has won three straight championships.

Baldwin did it twice, from 1989-1991 and again from 1993-1996.

Avonworth is hoping to become the second school to three-peat in 3A.

The 2022 and 2023 district champion Antelopes earned the No. 1 seed and will open up the postseason Tuesday.

Avonworth (12-3) will face No. 16 Hopewell (7-11) at North Allegheny at 5 p.m.

In the other seven first-round 3A contests:

• No. 9 Yough (8-4) won its only district softball crown in 2011. Now 13 years later, the Cougars battle No. 8 McGuffey (10-4) at Norwin at 5 p.m.

• No. 4 Mohawk (14-5) won the Section 2 title and opens up the postseason against No. 13 Waynesburg (7-11) as Lawrence County battles Greene County at Montour at 5 p.m.

• Six years ago, No. 5 Southmoreland (14-2) wore the district crown. Now the Scotties look to take their first step toward gold when they face No. 12 Freeport (10-6) at Gateway at 2 p.m.

• Winning the Section 3 championship earned Ligonier Valley (13-5) a No. 2 seed as it goes up against No. 15 Keystone Oaks (8-9) at Gateway at 4 p.m.

• No. 7 Burrell (10-8) was a final four team in the 3A playoffs a year ago. Its first step toward a return to the semifinals is against No. 10 Ellwood City (14-4) at Mars at 4 p.m. on Trib HSSN.

• No. 3 South Park (16-1) had a near-perfect season in winning the Section 4 title. The Eagles go up against No. 14 Deer Lakes (9-10) at Fox Chapel at 3 p.m.

• Section 2 runner-up Central Valley (11-2) drew the No. 6 seed and will battle No. 11 Mt. Pleasant (11-8) at West Mifflin at 5 p.m.

Panthers pride

Fifteen years ago, Riverside won a second consecutive WPIAL championship.

The Panthers also won softball gold two other times this century, in 2001 and 2013.

While a title run might be a longshot this season, Riverside (6-9) looks to advance when it goes up against Apollo-Ridge (8-5) in the No. 9 vs. No. 8 contest in the 2A bracket.

The game is scheduled to be played at Fox Chapel at 5 p.m.

The winner of the Panthers-Vikings game will face top seed and undefeated Neshannock in the quarterfinals.

In the other four first round 2A matchups:

• The only section champion not to receive a bye is No. 4 Serra Catholic (11-4), winner of Section 2-2A. The Eagles take on No. 13 Beth-Center (6-8) at Peterswood Park in Peters Township at 3 p.m.

• No. 5 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (12-4) battles No. 12 Steel Valley (6-10) at North Allegheny at 3 p.m.

• No. 10 Burgettstown (9-11) finished in a tie for fourth place in Section 3-2A, clinching on the final day of section play. Now the Blue Devils must knock off No. 7 Shenango (10-7) with the winner advancing to the second round to take on No. 2 Bentworth.

• A pair of third-place teams collide when No. 6 Charleroi (13-4) plays No. 11 Greensburg Central Catholic (7-6) at Norwin at 3 p.m. with the winner going up against No. 3 Laurel in the quarters.

Rockets’ red glare

The last team to win a WPIAL Class A softball championship not named Union or West Greene is Jefferson-Morgan.

The Rockets edged Chartiers-Houston to win the 2015 district crown, 3-2.

Jefferson-Morgan (7-8) is the No. 8 seed and will play No. 9 Carlynton (8-10) at Peterswood Park at 2 p.m. for the right to play top-seed Union in the quarterfinals.

Here are the three other first round A matchups:

• No. 5 West Greene (11-7) won district gold five straight times between 2016-2021. The Pioneers take on No. 12 Leechburg (8-9) at Peterswood Park at 1 p.m. with the winner adavancing to face No. 4 and undefeated Frazier.

• No. 7 South Side (12-4) battles No. 10 Monessen (7-7) at Montour at 3 p.m. with the winner heading to Round 2 to play No. 2 Carmichaels.

• No. 6 Jeannette (11-2) was undefeated before losing two of its last three games, both to Frazier. The Jayhawks draw No. 11 Northgate (6-10) at West Mifflin at 3 p.m. with the winner playing No. 3 Chartiers-Houston in the quarters.

Lacrosse openers continue

On Monday, it was girls 3A and boys 2A first-round matches.

Now on Tuesday, the first round takes the stage in boys 3A and girls 2A.

In boys 3A, No. 8 Central Catholic (12-4) plays No. 9 Butler (11-4) at Fox Chapel at 7:30 p.m. with the winning team drawing top seed Shady Side Academy in the quarterfinals Thursday.

No. 5 Pine-Richland (11-6) hosts No. 12 Canon-McMillan (6-11) at 7 p.m. with the winner earning a second-round date with No. 4 North Alegheny.

No. 7 Fox Chapel (10-5) is home to No. 10 Norwin (7-7) at 5:30 p.m. with a shot against No. 2 Mt. Lebanon up for grabs.

No. 6 Peters Township (13-5) welcomes No. 11 Seneca Valley (7-9) at 7 p.m. with the winner going to the quarters to play No. 3 Upper St. Clair.

In girls 2A, No. 9 Moon (11-5) visits No. 8 Hampton (7-9) with the winner getting top seed Mars.

No. 12 Oakland Catholic (7-4) travels to No. 5 Blackhawk (14-2) with No. 4 Penn-Trafford awaiting the winner in the quarterfinals.

No. 7 South Fayette (11-6) hosts No. 10 Franklin Regional (9-6) at 7 p.m. with the winner battling the No. 2 Indians in Round 2.

No. 6 Plum (13-3) entertains No. 11 Quaker Valley (7-7) at 7 p.m. with the winner moving on to play No. 3 Chartiers Valley in the quarters.

Volley openers

The first round of the boys volleyball playoffs takes place in both Class 3A and 2A Tuesday with nine postseason openers. All the openers begin at 7 p.m.

In Class 3A, No. 8 Baldwin hosts No. 9 Hempfield with top seed Shaler awaiting the winner in the quarterfinals.

No. 12 Moon visits No. 5 Seneca Valley with the winner playing No. 4 Norwin in the next round.

No. 7 Canon-McMillan is home to No. 10 Central Catholic with the winner moving on to play No. 2 North Allegheny in the second round.

No. 6 Penn-Trafford welcomes No. 11 Upper St. Clair with No. 3 Butler waiting in the wings for the winner in the quarters.

In 2A, No. 9 Seton LaSalle visits No. 8 Gateway with the winner advancing to face top seed Mars.

No. 4 Ambridge is home to No. 13 Trinity and No. 5 South Fayette hosts No. 12 Montour with the two victors squaring off in the second round.

No. 10 Thomas Jefferson visits No. 7 Latrobe with the winner playing No. 2 North Catholic on Thursday.

No. 6 Armstrong hosts No. 11 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart with the survivor moving on to play No. 3 Derry in the quarterfinals.

More Baseball

2024 WPIAL Class 6A baseball championship preview: Mt. Lebanon vs. North Allegheny
Penn-Trafford gets past Bethel Park in Class 5A final to capture 1st WPIAL baseball title
High school roundup for May 28, 2024: Lily Duffill’s grand slam sends Chartiers Valley to states
Avonworth dethrones Riverside in marathon 14-inning WPIAL Class 3A title game
Adam Jackowski leads South Allegheny baseball past Burrell in WPIAL consolation game