What to watch for in WPIAL sports on May 24, 2022: Softball rivalry writes another chapter

Monday, May 23, 2022 | 11:50 PM

Some of the best rivalries in sports were born from postseason clashes.

Steelers vs. Raiders in the ’70s and 49ers vs. Cowboys in the ’90s are two examples.

Perhaps a budding district rivalry is blooming in softball as Armstrong and North Hills prepare to face each other for the third time in the last two postseasons.

The first meeting took place in the 2021 WPIAL Class 5A championship game.

No. 8 North Hills completed its improbable run to district gold with a 12-2 win over Armstrong. Hannah Murphy had three hits and three RBI for the Indians, who won their first WPIAL crown in 21 years.

Revenge though was served in the PIAA semifinals as the River Hawks knocked out the Indians, 7-4. Emma Smerick hit two home runs and drove in four as Armstrong reached the state finals for the first time in school history.

The rematch of last year’s title game takes place at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Mars.

The other Class 5A semifinal features Penn-Trafford trying to reach the elusive finals against No. 11 Chartiers Valley.

The Warriors lost in the semifinals in 2019 to Connellsville and as the top seed, fell to North Hills in the 2021 quarterfinals.

The Colts have scored 17 combined runs in upsets of Fox Chapel and Trinity in the first two rounds.

The 5A semifinal will be played at 5 p.m. at West Mifflin.

3A and A softball semifinals

It’s been seven years since the Deer Lakes softball team won a WPIAL championship.

The Lancers are one win from returning to the finals for the second time since winning gold in 2015 and for the first time in five years.

Standing in their way Tuesday will be South Allegheny, a program that has never won a softball title.

The Lancers defeated the Gladiators in the first round of the 2015 playoffs, 4-2.

The other 3A semifinal has former champions colliding as 2018 Class 3A winner Southmoreland takes on 2019 Class 3A champion Avonworth.

Five-time defending Class A champion West Greene faces Springdale while Union takes on Greensburg Central Catholic in the two A semifinals.

All six WPIAL softball semifinals games Tuesday can be heard here on Trib HSSN.

New blood in 6A baseball

With North Allegheny losing in extra innings in the quarterfinals Monday, a new champion will be crowned in Class 6A in 2022.

Whichever of the final four teams wins it all, it will break a long title drought for its program.

Nine of the last 12 baseball champions in the WPIAL’s highest classification have been North Allegheny, Pine-Richland or Seneca Valley. All three of those teams lost in the district quarterfinals.

On Tuesday, top seed Mt. Lebanon battles Central Catholic while Butler faces Upper St. Clair.

Of those four, Central Catholic won it all in 2015, Mt. Lebanon in 2006 and Upper St. Clair’s only crown came in 1992.

While 30 years is a long time, Butler is trying to win its first WPIAL baseball crown.

4A semifinal frays

The 4A baseball final four features two section champions going up against a pair of runners-up Tuesday.

Top seed and Section 2 champion Montour will take on the second-place team from Section 3 in Laurel Highlands.

On the other side of the bracket, Section 3 champion West Mifflin goes up against Knoch, a team that was tied for second place in Section 1.

All four 6A and 4A semifinals games can be seen Tuesday on Trib HSSN.

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