What to watch for in WPIAL sports on May 21, 2024: It’s a quick turnaround for baseball semifinalists

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Monday, May 20, 2024 | 11:28 PM


Welcome to Semifinals Tuesday in the WPIAL baseball, softball and boys volleyball playoffs.

It is a quick turnaround for the 22 winners of district baseball quarterfinals Monday.

The quickest turnaround is for Burgettstown. The Blue Devils edged Greensburg Central Catholic in the 2A quarterfinals in a game that ended shortly before 10 p.m.. Now they face top-seed Serra Catholic at 2 p.m. in the semifinals.

Each class has a doubleheader set up at one site.

In Class 5A, the two quarterfinals on the left side of the bracket are Tuesday , so there is only one 5A semifinal on the schedule.

Here are the matchups for the WPIAL baseball final four games.

Class 6A at the Boyce-Mayview Complex in Upper St. Clair:

• No. 1 Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils (17-4) vs. No. 5 Seneca Valley Raiders (12-8) at 4:30 p.m. on Trib HSSN

• No. 2 Pine-Richland Rams (17-4) vs. No. 3 North Allegheny Tigers (15-6) at 7 p.m. on Trib HSSN

Class 5A at Gateway:

• No. 7 Penn-Trafford Warriors vs. No. 6 Franklin Regional Panthers at 6 p.m.

Class 4A at Plum:

• No. 2 Thomas Jefferson Jaguars (19-2) vs. No. 6 North Catholic Trojans (15-4) at 4 p.m. on Trib HSSN

• No. 16 Blackhawk Cougars (9-10) vs. No. 4 Montour Spartans (14-6) at 7 p.m. on Trib HSSN

Class 3A at North Allegheny:

• No. 1 Riverside Panthers (15-1) vs. No. 4 South Allegheny Gladiators (17-4) at 4 p.m. on Trib HSSN

• No. 7 Avonworth Antelopes (14-8) vs. Burrell Buccaneers (13-8) at 7 p.m. on Trib HSSN

Class 2A at West Mifflin:

• No. 1 Serra Catholic Eagles (16-1) vs. No. 4 Burgettstown Blue Devils (12-3) at 2 p.m. on Trib HSSN

• No. 2 OLSH Chargers (17-4) vs. Seton LaSalle Rebels (15-3) at 4:30 p.m. on Trib HSSN

Class A at Washington & Jefferson College Complex:

• No. 2 Eden Christian Academy Warriors (15-4) vs. No. 6 Avella Eagles (11-5) at 2 p.m.

• No. 8 Carmichaels Mighty Mikes (13-4) vs. No. 4 Bishop Canevin Crusaders (13-4) at 4:30 p.m.

Quarterfinals leftovers

When the rains came and suspended Wednesday’s WPIAL Class 5A first-round baseball game between Shaler and South Fayette, forcing the game to be completed Thursday, district officials made the decision to bump the second round on the left side of the 5A bracket back a day.

So while all of the other baseball playoff games had the quarterfinals Monday and the semifinals Tuesday, the left side of the 5A bracket will play the two quarterfinals Tuesday with the winners meeting in a final four contest Wednesday.

Thanks to a Brady Alexander three-run homer when play resumed, Shaler (16-5) defeated South Fayette, 3-2.

Now the defending district and state champion Titans will battle Section 3-5A foe and top seed West Allegheny (16-3) at the Washington & Jefferson College Complex at 7 p.m. The Indians had a first-round bye.

The teams split their section series in mid-April. Shaler won the first game, 12-0, while West A responded the following day with a 7-6 victory.

In the other 5A quarterfinal Tuesday, No. 4 Bethel Park (13-6) goes up against Section 2-5A rival No. 12 Trinity (9-8) at the Boyce-Mayview Compex in Upper St. Clair at 2 p.m.

The Black Hawks swept the Hillers in their section series in late April by scores of 10-1 and 6-4.

Pitching rules

The WPIAL Class 3A softball semifinals are proof positive that while hitting is all the rage, pitching can still dominate in the modern high school softball world.

Each of the four teams has been led to the final four by a dominant player performing in the circle.

No. 1 Avonworth (14-3) will face No. 4 Mohawk (16-5) in a battle of section champions at Seneca Valley at 6 p.m.

The two-time defending champion Antelopes are led by senior Alivia Lantzy, who has allowed no runs on three hits in playoff wins over Hopewell and Yough.

The Warriors have Reagan Magno, who in a 2-1 quarterfinal win over Freeport, allowed four hits while striking out 12.

In the other game, No. 2 Ligonier Valley (15-5) squares off against No. 3 South Park (18-1) in another battle of section champions from Penn-Trafford at 4 p.m.

The Rams’ Cheyenne Piper has thrown three straight no-hitters, two coming in playoff wins over Keystone Oaks and Ellwood City. She registered 31 strikeouts in those two victories.

The Eagles’ stud pitcher is Sydney Sekely. She has back-to-back shutouts, giving up a total of three hits while striking out 23 batters.

Runs will be very precious in these two matchups.

Bye goodness

Three WPIAL Class 2A softball teams received first-round byes and all three were quarterfinal winners, advancing to Tuesday’s semifinals showdowns.

The lone exception was No. 5 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (14-4). The Chargers outslugged Steel Valley in the first round, 8-5, and then ousted No. 4 Serra Catholic in the quarters, 10-5.

OLSH will now challenge No. 1 Neshannock (20-0) at North Allegheny at 4 p.m.

Following a first-round bye, the two-time defending champion Lancers cruised past Riverside in the second round, 11-1.

No. 2 Bentworth (16-2) takes on No. 3 Laurel (17-4) at North Allegheny at 6 p.m.

The Bearcats and Spartans got incredible pitching in their quarterfinals wins.

Freshman sensation Sydney Gonglik allowed three hits and struck out 15 as Bentworth defeated Shenango, 8-1.

Senior Autumn Boyd allowed only two hits and registered 13 Ks in a whitewash of Charleroi, 4-0.

Both games can be heard on Trib HSSN.

Super section

How good was Section 2-3A boys volleyball this season? All four playoff qualifiers have reached the final four.

While Sections 1 and 3 are a distant memory, four volleyball rivals prepare to collide in the district semifinals Tuesday.

Top seed and defending champion Shaler (14-1) will take on No. 5 Seneca Valley (14-6) at 7:30 p.m. following No. 3 Butler (11-6) against No. 2 North Allegheny (12-1) at 6 p.m. with both matches taking place at Fox Chapel.

Shaler and NA swept their two regular season matches from Seneca Valley and Butler this spring.

You can listen to the Golden Tornado vs. Tigers match on Trib HSSN.

2A surprises

There have been no surprises on the left side of the WPIAL boys volleyball 2A bracket.

On Tuesday, top seed Mars (18-0) will face No. 4 Ambridge (13-3) at Gateway at 7 p.m.

However, the same can’t be said for the right side of the playoff bracket where a No. 6 and No. 10 seed have reached the final four.

No. 10 Thomas Jefferson first upset Latrobe, 3-1, then stunned No. 2 and defending champion North Catholic in the quarterfinals, 3-1.

The Jaguars now face No. 6 Armstrong, which surprised No. 3 Derry in the second round, 3-0.

TJ and Armstrong meet at Gateway at 5 p.m.

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