What to watch for in WPIAL sports on May 9, 2023: 3-way battle to play out in Section 1-5A baseball

Tuesday, May 9, 2023 | 12:43 AM

“And down the stretch they come.”

No, we’re not talking about the horses racing for the winners circle at a racetrack in Kentucky. We’re talking about the top four baseball teams in Section 1-5A baseball.

Coming into the final day of section play, three teams are tied for first in the section and two of them are squaring off head to head.

After Fox Chapel defeated Plum, 5-2, on Monday, the teams meet at Plum on Tuesday with the winner guaranteed a share of the section crown.

The third team, Penn-Trafford, won a back-and-forth thriller Monday over Franklin Regional, 7-5, by scoring three runs in the top of the seventh inning.

The Warriors are home to a desperate Panthers team in the section finale.

If Franklin Regional wins, the Panthers end up tied for fourth place with Armstrong, but the Panthers win the head-to-head tiebreaker over the River Hawks, thus Franklin Regional would clinch.

If Penn-Trafford wins and earns a share of the section crown, Armstrong clinches and Franklin Regional is home for the postseason.

Diamond nail-biting time

Some other key district baseball games set for Tuesday:

• In Section 3-3A, Derry (5-6) has a one-game lead over Burrell (4-7) and Valley (4-7). Derry visits Shady Side Academy on Tuesday and is in with a win. Valley hosts Deer Lakes on Tuesday while Burrell is at Deer Lakes on Wednesday. Derry wins the tiebreaker over Burrell but loses the tiebreaker to Valley. Burrell owns the tiebreaker over Valley.

• In Section 4-3A, Greensburg Salem (9-2) visits Yough (10-1). A Golden Lions win earns them a tie for the section crown with the Cougars.

• Also in Section 4-3A, Waynesburg (5-4) has a half-game lead over Mt. Pleasant (5-5) and a one-game lead over McGuffey (5-6) for third place. McGuffey is at Waynesburg on Tuesday while Mt. Pleasant has a doubleheader against Waynesburg on Wednesday.

• In Section 3-A, Springdale (3-7) needs a whole lot to go right Tuesday to clinch a playoff berth. The Dynamos need an upset win at first-place Union and have Western Beaver lose at home to Rochester.

Softball berths up for grabs

There is one, possibly two more WPIAL playoff berths up for grabs in Class 6A softball.

Mt. Lebanon (5-10) can clinch with a win at Baldwin while Canon-McMillan (4-10) needs wins at Butler on Tuesday and at Baldwin on Wednesday or one win and a Mt. Lebanon loss to Baldwin to clinch.

Two other playoff sections are still unsettled.

• In Section 4-3A, Brownsville (4-6) can clinch a playoff berth if McGuffey (4-4) loses at Keystone Oaks on Tuesday and at home to Waynesburg on Wednesday.

• In Section 3-2A, Bentworth (5-5) can clinch with a win at home against Charleroi on Tuesday or when it visits Beth-Center on Wednesday. Fort Cherry (6-6) is done with section play but can clinch with one more section loss by Bentworth.

Team track and field finals

The 2023 WPIAL team track and field finals are set for Tuesday with the 3A finals at West Mifflin and the 2A championships at Peters Township at 3 p.m.

In boys 3A, the four finalists are North Allegheny, Mt. Lebanon, Butler and Seneca Valley.

In girls 3A, North Allegheny, Canon-McMillan, Norwin and South Fayette will battle for gold.

In boys 2A, the final four are Greensburg Central Catholic, Shenango, South Park and Quaker Valley.

Finally in girls 2A, the four teams are Winchester Thurston, Knoch, Derry and Quaker Valley.

The defending champions are Butler in boys 3A, Shenango in boys 2A, North Allegheny in girls 3A and Quaker Valley in girls 2A.

Love for the final four

The WPIAL boys team tennis semifinals are set for Tuesday.

The top four seeds have advanced in 3A; however, top-seeded Sewickley Academy is joined by No. 5 North Catholic, No. 6 Winchester Thurston and No. 7 Chartiers Valley in the 2A final four.

Class 3A semifinals at 3:30 p.m.:

• No. 1 North Allegheny vs. No. 4 Upper St. Clair at Sewickley Academy

• No. 2 Fox Chapel vs. No. 3 Gateway at North Allegheny

Class 2A semifinals at 3:30 p.m.:

• No. 1 Sewickley Academy vs. No. 5 North Catholic at Shady Side Academy

• No. 6 Winchester Thurston vs. No. 7 Chartiers Valley at Mt. Lebanon

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