What to watch for in WPIAL sports on May 16, 2023: Avonworth softball to play rare 1st-round game

Monday, May 15, 2023 | 11:13 PM

As the opening round of the 2023 WPIAL softball playoffs concludes Tuesday with games in Class A, 2A and 3A, something strange is happening. Avonworth (17-1) is playing a first-round game.

The Antelopes have enjoyed first-round byes in each of the last four seasons, two as a top seed and two as a No. 4 seed.

It was almost six years to the day the last time Avonworth had to play in the softball playoffs opening round. The Antelopes cruised past Waynesburg, 11-1, on May 15, 2017.

In fact, the last time Class 3A had a full 16-team bracket was before the expansion to six classifications in 2015.

The defending champion ‘Lopes take on Seton LaSalle (5-9) at 3 p.m. at Montour.

The other seven first-round 3A games are:

Deer Lakes (10-5) against Central Valley (8-5) in the much-anticipated 8-9 game at Montour at 5 p.m.

Mt. Pleasant (11-8) takes on Burrell (11-5) at Plum at 3 p.m.

South Park (11-5) goes up against Mohawk (11-4) at North Allegheny at 7 p.m.

McGuffey (8-6) challenges Southmoreland (13-2) at Waynesburg University at 2 p.m.

Ellwood City (11-5) battles Yough (9-4) in a good one at North Allegheny at 5 p.m.

Valley (6-10) goes up against Waynesburg (14-3) at Peterswood Park Field 1 at 4 p.m.

Ligonier Valley (8-7) plays Hopewell (10-6) at Plum at 5 p.m.

Co-champs hit the field

Section 1 champion Neshannock and Section 2 winner Serra Catholic won’t be participating in Round 1 of the Class 2A playoffs after earning byes.

The other bye went to Section 1 runner-up Laurel, which is the No. 2 seed.

So that means Section 3 co-champions Charleroi and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart hit the field Tuesday to earn their way into the quarterfinals.

No. 4 Charleroi (15-2) will face Steel Valley (4-10) at West Mifflin at 3 p.m. while No. 6 OLSH (12-3) takes on Shenango (7-8) at North Allegheny at 3 p.m.

The other three first-round 2A games are:

Apollo-Ridge (6-9) against Burgettstown (11-7) at Penn-Trafford at 5:30 p.m. with the winner facing defending champion Neshannock (17-0).

Bentworth (6-8) will meet Greensburg Central Catholic (11-2) at West Mifflin at 5 p.m.

Fort Cherry (7-8) battles Riverside (11-4) at Peterswood Park 2 at 4 p.m. with the winner drawing Laurel (14-2) in the quarterfinals.

All the Single (A) ladies

Well, not the entire Single-A ladies field. Eight of the 12 teams that qualified for the playoffs will be in action Tuesday.

The top four seeds — Union, Carmichaels, Frazier and Chartiers-Houston — all earned byes and will be scouting in the opening round.

The four first-round A games are:

Jeannette (11-4) taking on Carlynton (8-5) at Peterswood Park 2 at 2 p.m. with the winner facing top seed and defending champion Union (14-3) in the quarterfinals.

Monessen (7-7) goes up against West Greene (11-7) at Waynesburg Universty at 4 p.m. with the winner playing Chartiers-Houston (12-5) in Round 2.

South Side (8-5) faces Leechburg (10-7) at Penn-Trafford at 3:30 p.m. with the winner advancing to the second round to face Carmichaels (16-0).

Northgate (8-5) will play Jefferson-Morgan (8-7) at Peterswood Park 1 at 2 p.m. with the winner playing Frazier (13-1) in the quarters.

Boys 3A lax elite

The final four from last year in WPIAL boys lacrosse are the top four this spring.

Last season, Mt. Lebanon, Peters Township, North Allegheny and Shady Side Academy all reached the semifinals with SSA eventually hoisting gold.

This year, the top four seeds in the 3A playoffs are Peters Township, Mt. Lebanon, North Allegheny and Shady Side Academy.

All four will enjoy first-round byes and be spectators for these four opening-round matches Tuesday at 7 p.m.:

Central Catholic visits Fox Chapel with the winner moving on to play top-seeded Peters Township in the quarterfinals.

Norwin travels to Pine-Richland with the winner facing defending champion Shady Side Academy in the second round.

Seneca Valley hosts Hempfield with the victor facing Mt. Lebanon in Round 2.

Butler heads south to Upper St. Clair, and the winner visits North Allegheny on Thursday.

Another eyebrow raising run?

In 2022, the Chartiers Valley girls lacrosse team stunned many by winning the WPIAL championship as the No. 5 seed.

Don’t look now, but the Colts are at the starting line again for the girls lacrosse 2A playoff chase as the No. 5 seed again.

Can they gallop to gold again?

Their title defense begin Tuesday when they host Latrobe with the winner heading to the quarterfinals to play Hampton, one of four teams to receive a first-round bye.

Here are the other three opening-round 2A girls lacrosse matches Tuesday at 7 p.m.:

South Fayette visits Franklin Regional with the winner taking on top-seeded Mars in the quarters.

Quaker Valley hosts Penn-Trafford with the winner advancing to face Plum in the second round.

Moon makes the long trip to Indiana, where the winner in Round 2 will battle Blackhawk.

Boys volleyball first serves

There are 12 teams in the WPIAL boys volleyball 3A playoff field and 13 in the 2A bracket.

The first round of both tournaments begins Tuesday with higher seeds hosting 7 p.m. matches.

In 3A:

Upper St. Clair visits Hempfield with the winner playing top-seeded Shaler in the quarterfinals.

• Peters Township is at Norwin, where the winner will visit Canon-McMillan in Round 2.

Seneca Valley hosts Moon with the winner visiting defending champion North Allegheny in the quarters.

• Central Catholic travels to Butler with the winner at Penn-Trafford on Thursday.

In 2A:

Thomas Jefferson visits Hopewell with the winner playing top-seeded Latrobe in the quarterfinals.

Trinity is at North Catholic and South Park visits South Fayette. The winners meet in Round 2.

• Defending champion Montour hosts Gateway with the winner traveling to Mars on Thursday.

Derry is at Ambridge with the winner going to Seton LaSalle in the quarters.

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