What to watch for in WPIAL sports on May 16, 2022: Baseball, softball playoffs begin

Sunday, May 15, 2022 | 6:39 PM

Welcome to opening day of the 2022 WPIAL baseball, softball and lacrosse playoffs.

Of course for the diamond sports, it is weather permitting.

Perhaps with an eye on the forecast, the WPIAL did schedule all four games for turf fields, including the lone district baseball preliminary round game.

McKeesport faces Connellsville for the No. 16 seed in the 5A playoffs and the chance to play top seed Peters Township in the first round on Tuesday.

McKeesport is one of three teams in the 5A field with sub-.500 records as the Tigers finished the regular season at 7-9.

McKeesport split with Gateway in the final Section 1-5A series, thus earning the postseason berth along with the No. 15-seed Gators.

The Tigers dropped five of their last six games.

Connellsville ended up 10-10 and finished in fourth place in Section 4-5A.

The Falcons were flying high at the end of the regular season, winning six of their final seven contests.

Both teams have played a game at Latrobe this season. Connellsville stunned the Wildcats, 3-0, in their season opener while McKeesport lost their section road game to the ‘Cats, 8-0.

You can watch or listen to the game only on Trib HSSN.

Two for one

The new nickname for the ever-shrinking Class 6A could be “Land of 10,000 Byes.”

OK, so the district didn’t give out that many in the 6A softball playoffs; however, in the 10-team field, six received byes into the quarterfinals.

That leaves only two first-round games and they will both take place Monday at West Mifflin.

The four teams that finished tied for fourth place in the two sections will cross over and square off for the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds.

In the first game at 3 p.m., Baldwin will face Norwin.

Baldwin finished 4-11 and only won one section game, but the 10-0 victory over Peters Township on May 4 was enough for the Highlanders to get in.

Norwin has a 5-9 record, but two of those victories came in the final week of the regular season as the Knights beat Butler and North Allegheny to force a tie and become the final team to clinch in 6A.

In the second game at 5 p.m., Peters Township will battle North Allegheny.

Peters Township enters the playoffs with a 5-9 overall record, but like Norwin, the Indians won their final two nonsection games of the season.

Despite losing their final four games of the regular season, North Allegheny enters the postseason with a winning record of 10-9.

The only other district softball playoff game Monday is a Class 2A preliminary round game as Fort Cherry takes on Carlynton for the No. 16 seed.

The Rangers and Cougars finished tied for fourth in Section 1-2A with 3-7 section records. Combined, they are 8-19 overall.

The teams played a doubleheader on May 2 and split, with Fort Cherry winning the first game, 8-3, before Carlynton took the second game in a wild one, 12-11.

3A boys, 2A girls lax playoffs

The district lacrosse playoffs begin Monday in Class 3A boys and Class 2A girls.

For the second year in a row, Pine-Richland will face Penn-Trafford in an opening-round playoff match.

Last year, the Rams eliminated the Warriors, 19-9.

That was a No. 5 vs. No. 12 matchup a year ago. This spring, the Rams and Warriors collide in the No. 7 vs. No. 10 contest. The match will take place at Pine-Richland.

Two teams that didn’t make the postseason a year ago meet in the No. 8 vs. No. 9 match as Butler hosts Central Catholic.

The other two first-round matches Monday are Canon-McMillan at Upper St. Clair and Bethel Park hosting Seneca Valley.

In girls 2A, there are two first-round rematches from last year.

South Fayette takes on Aquinas Academy at Plum in the No. 9 vs. No. 8 match while No. 12 Oakland Catholic visits No. 5 Chartiers Valley.

In the 2021 postseason opening round, the Colts cruised past the Eagles, 15-3, while the Crusaders edged the Lions, 13-9.

No. 10 Franklin Regional visits No. 7 Quaker Valley and No. 6 Plum hosts No. 11 Seton LaSalle in the other two 2A opening-round clashes.

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