What to watch for in WPIAL sports on May 18, 2023: Recent champs to meet in 3A baseball

Thursday, May 18, 2023 | 12:18 AM

A week of WPIAL playoff and championship spring sports action concludes Thursday with another busy day of baseball, softball, lacrosse and boys volleyball.

A defending Class 3A champion will open up against a title winner from two years ago in Class 2A.

South Park (14-5) battles Shenango (8-8) in a 3A opening-round game Thursday at Matuleivc Field in Shaler.

The Eagles defeated Mohawk to win district gold in 3A last season, while the Wildcats edged Seton LaSalle in May of 2022 to win 2A WPIAL gold.

The two recent champions collide at 2 p.m. on Trib HSSN.

The other seven 3A first-round games are:

• The only undefeated team left in WPIAL baseball is Riverside. The 17-0 Panthers take on Burrell (7-10) at Seneca Valley at 6:30 p.m. (HSSN)

• No. 8 Freeport (14-5) battles No. 9 South Allegheny (12-7) at Plum at 6:30 p.m. (HSSN)

• Section 3 champion East Allegheny (12-5) will face Waynesburg Central (9-6) at the Boyce-Mayview Complex in USC at 4 p.m. (HSSN)

Greensburg Salem (13-5) plays Mohawk (12-7) at Matulevic Field in Shaler at 4:30 p.m. (HSSN)

• Section 2 champion Avonworth (15-5) faces Derry (8-10) at Plum at 4 p.m. (HSSN)

• Section 4 champion Yough (15-5) takes on Keystone Oaks (4-13) at Norwin at 4 p.m.

• Traditional power Neshannock (15-4) is challenged by Shady Side Academy (8-9) at Seneca Valley at 4 p.m. (HSSN)

Four in two

While Serra Catholic, Seton LaSalle, New Brighton and Burgettstown have earned a ticket to ride to the quarterfinals, the eight other 2A baseball playoff teams hit the diamond Thursday, including two teams that were in the hunt for a section crown, only to fall back in the pack.

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (12-8) was in the mix for the Section 2-2A title until late when the Chargers finished tied for third with South Side, one game behind New Brighton and two in back of Seton LaSalle.

Greensburg Central Catholic (9-5) was playing for first place with just over a week left in the regular season, but the Centurions ended up tied with Riverview, three games behind top seed Serra Catholic in Section 2.

OLSH and GCC collide at the Boyce-Mayview Complex in Upper St. Clair at 6:30 p.m. on Trib HSSN with the winner drawing Serra Catholic.

The other three 2A openers are:

South Side (14-4) hopes to end a three-game losing streak when it faces Bentworth (9-9) at the Burkett Complex in Robinson Township at 2 p.m. (HSSN)

Riverview (9-7), the 2021 Class A runner-up, plays Charleroi (12-4) at Gateway at 4 p.m.

• Section 1 runner-up Chartiers-Houston (16-3) goes up against Ligonier Valley (11-7) at Gateway at 6:30 p.m.

Golden memories

It was 30 years ago when Bishop Canevin, then known only as Canevin, captured WPIAL 2A gold.

Ten years ago, Western Beaver edged Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, 3-2, to win the WPIAL Class A championship.

On Thursday, the Crusaders (11-3) and Golden Beavers (6-10) clash at the Burkett Complex in Robinson Township at 4 p.m. on Trib HSSN.

Here are the three other Class A openers:

• A pair of third-place teams meet when Fort Cherry (11-8) plays Sewickley Academy (9-7) at Peterswood Park in Peters Township at 4 p.m. with the winner facing top-seeded Union. (HSSN)

• Section 1 co-champion Carmichaels (14-3) was the only champ not to receive a bye. The Mighty Mikes will take on Cornell (6-10) at Peterswood Park in Peters Township at 6:30 p.m. with the winner advancing to play California. (HSSN)

Rochester (8-7) battles Avella (10-6) at the Burkett Complex in Robinson Township at 6:30 p.m. with the winner moving on to play No. 2 Eden Christian Academy. (HSSN)

You(gh) again

The top two teams in WPIAL softball Section 3-3A will meet for a third time in the quarterfinals.

Rivals Southmoreland (14-2) and Yough (10-4) square off in what should be another offensive showdown.

The Scotties won both meetings, helping them to secure the section championship by two games over the Cougars.

Southmoreland won the first game, 15-10, and took the second one at home, 11-1.

The two now meet at Norwin at 3 p.m. with a spot in the final four at stake.

The other three 3A second round games are:

• Top-seeded defending champion Avonworth (18-1) playing Central Valley (9-5) at Montour at 3 p.m. followed by No. 4 Burrell (12-5) facing No. 5 Mohawk (12-4) at Montour at 5 p.m.

• The surprise of 3A, No. 11 Ligonier Valley, shooting for another shocker when the Rams play No. 4 Waynesburg Central at West Mifflin at 2 p.m. (HSSN)

Spreading the wealth in 2A

The remaining eight teams in 2A softball are spread evenly over three sections. Section 1 and 3 have three teams left each while Section 2 has two remaining.

Two of the teams from Section 1 meet in one of the four quarterfinals games Thursday.

No. 2 Laurel (14-2) battles No. 7 Riverside (12-4) at North Allegheny at 3 p.m. on Trib HSSN. The Spartans’ only two losses were to Neshannock, and the Panthers’ four losses were to Neshannock and Laurel.

The Spartans outscored the Panthers in those two wins, 7-0.

In the other three second round games:

• Top-seeded defending champion Neshannock (17-0) goes up against Burgettstown (12-7) at North Allegheny at 5 p.m. (HSSN)

• Section 3 co-champion Charleroi (16-2) takes on Greensburg Central Catholic (12-2) at Norwin at 5 p.m.

• Section 3 co-champion Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (13-3) squares off with Section 2 winner Serra Catholic (15-3) at West Mifflin at 4 p.m.

Torch extinguished?

West Greene was the dominant force in Class A softball from 2016-2021.

The run of championships ended at five last spring when the Pioneers lost to Union in the finals.

Now they face the prospect of not even reaching the final four in 2023.

Standing in the way of West Greene’s standard trip to the semifinals is Section 2-A foe Chartiers-Houston.

The Buccaneers beat the Pioneers in two close ones this season, 9-7 and 6-5.

Chartiers-Houston (12-5) vs. West Greene (12-7) III is at Peterswood Park in Peters Township at high noon on Trib HSSN.

The other Class A quarterfinals:

• Top-seeded defending champion Union (14-3) will be challenged by Jeannette (12-4) at North Allegheny at 7 p.m. (HSSN)

• Undefeated Carmichaels (16-0) takes on Leechburg (11-7) at Gateway at 3 p.m. (HSSN)

• Section 3 champion Frazier (13-1) goes up against Jefferson-Morgan (9-7) at Peterswood Park at 12 p.m. (HSSN)

Re-lax for the quarterfinals

The final four will be set in boys 3A and girls 2A lacrosse after the quarterfinals Thursday.

In boys 3A, the top four seeds all received first-round byes and now hit the turf for the first time this postseason. All four teams will be home for Round 2.

Top-seeded Peters Township hosts Fox Chapel, defending champion Shady Side Academy is home to Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley travels to No. 2 Mt. Lebanon, and Upper St. Clair visits 2021 winner North Allegheny.

In girls 2A, the top four teams also received opening-round byes.

Top-seeded Mars is home to Franklin Regional, defending champion Chartiers Valley visits Hampton, No. 2 Plum welcomes Quaker Valley, and No. 3 Blackhawk hosts Indiana.

Boys volleyball quarters

The WPIAL boys volleyball playoff field will be cut from eight to four following Thursdays’ quarterfinals.

In Class 3A, top-seeded Shaler is home to Upper St. Clair, Seneca Valley visits No. 2 and defending champion North Allegheny, Butler visits Penn-Trafford, and Norwin is at Canon-McMillan.

In 2A, No. 1 Latrobe hosts Hopewell, defending champion Montour travels to Mars, Ambridge visits Seton LaSalle, and North Catholic is home to South Fayette.

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