WPIAL announces pairings for 2023 softball playoffs

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Thursday, May 11, 2023 | 7:47 PM


Last year’s winners are back for more.

Five of the six softball teams crowned WPIAL champions a season ago will start this year’s playoffs as favorites to repeat. Defending champions Seneca Valley (Class 6A), Armstrong (5A), Avonworth (3A), Neshannock (2A) and Union (A) all received No. 1 seeds Thursday when the WPIAL playoff brackets were announced on TribLive HSSN.

The top seed in Class 4A went to undefeated Elizabeth Forward, a WPIAL runner-up last season.

The WPIAL playoffs begin with first-round games Monday and Tuesday. They finish May 31 and June 1 with six championship games at PennWest’s Lilley Field in California.

The hardest bracket to seed was Class 3A, said Jefferson-Morgan athletic director Scot Moore, chairman of the softball committee. Avonworth (17-1) was the clear favorite, but the order after the Antelopes was open for debate.

One complication was a three-way tie atop Section 2 between Mohawk (11-4), Hopewell (10-6) and Central Valley (8-5), who ultimately were seeded fifth, sixth and eighth.

“You never want to see a co-section champ seeded eighth, but you’ve got a lot of teams in this,” Moore said on the TribLive HSSN Softball Pairings Show. “One through eight, it wouldn’t surprise me if any of those teams came out of there. Yough (9-4) is a seven seed. That’s how strong 3A is. I’ve been doing this for 16 years. I’ve never seen this many good teams in one class.”

Southmoreland (13-2) was seeded second behind Avonworth. Waynesburg (14-3) was third, and Burrell (11-5) was fourth.

The top seed in Class 6A wasn’t decided until Seneca Valley defeated Hempfield, 3-0, in their regular-season finale Thursday afternoon. With the win, Seneca Valley (16-1) clinched the No. 1 seed. Hempfield (16-3) was second.

In Class 5A, Shaler went undefeated in the regular season, but the softball committee rewarded Armstrong (16-1), the defending WPIAL champion. Shaler (16-0) was seeded second, ahead of No. 3 Trinity (14-2) and No. 4 West Allegheny (18-1).

There are six teams in Class 5A with three losses or less.

“It’s a really good bracket,” Moore said. “There was some talk about, ‘Who’s one and who’s two?’ Ultimately, we went with Armstrong.”

In Class 2A, the softball committee gave the top two seeds to teams from the same section. Neshannock (16-0) was seeded first and section foe Laurel (14-2) was second. Both of Laurel’s losses were to Neshannock.

“There’s an argument that Neshannock might be the best team in the entire WPIAL,” Moore said. “Laurel is good every year. They’re good again this year and their record proves it. Their only slipups were against Neshannock.”

Class 6A

Quarterfinals

Wednesday’s schedule

Seneca Valley (16-1) bye; North Allegheny vs. Pine-Richland at Seneca Valley, 4 p.m.; Hempfield (16-3) bye; Norwin vs. Canon-McMillan at Gateway, 5 p.m.

Class 5A

First round

Monday’s schedule

Armstrong (16-1) vs. Upper St. Clair (8-7) at Norwin, 5 p.m.; Thomas Jefferson (13-5) vs. Plum (10-6) at Gateway, 3 p.m.; West Allegheny (18-1) vs. Fox Chapel (7-11) at Montour, 5 p.m.; North Hills (14-2) vs. South Fayette (9-9) at Montour, 3 p.m.; Shaler (16-0) vs. Bethel Park (6-10) at Fox Chapel, 3 p.m.; Franklin Regional (11-6) vs. Moon (6-8) at Peterswood Park, 4 p.m.; Trinity (14-2) vs. Penn-Trafford (6-10) at Peterswood Park, 2 p.m.; Latrobe (13-3) vs. Western Beaver (8-7) at Gateway, 5 p.m.

Class 4A

First round

Monday’s schedule

Elizabeth Forward (15-0) bye; Hampton (11-5) vs. Greensburg Salem (10-7) at Fox Chapel, 5 p.m.; Belle Vernon (14-4) bye; West Mifflin (12-4) vs. McKeesport (8-8) at Norwin, 3 p.m.; Montour (13-2) bye; Indiana (14-4) vs. Beaver (7-8) at Gateway, 7 p.m.; Chartiers Valley (16-2) bye; Knoch (10-8) vs. Uniontown (5-9) at West Mifflin, 4 p.m.

Class 3A

First round

Tuesday’s schedule

Avonworth (16-1) vs. Seton LaSalle (5-9) at Montour, 3 p.m.; Central Valley (8-4) vs. Deer Lakes (9-5) at Montour, 5 p.m.; Burrell (11-5) vs. Mt. Pleasant (10-8) at Plum, 3 p.m.; Mohawk (10-4) vs. South Park (11-5) at North Allegheny, 7 p.m.; Southmoreland (12-2) vs. McGuffey (8-6) at Waynesburg University, 2 p.m.; Yough (9-4) vs. Ellwood City (11-5) at North Allegheny, 5 p.m.; Waynesburg (13-3) vs. Valley (6-10) at Peterswood Park, 4 p.m.; Hopewell (10-6) vs. Ligonier Valley (8-6) at Plum, 5 p.m.

Class 2A

First round

Tuesday’s schedule

Neshannock (16-0) bye; Burgettstown (11-6) vs. Apollo-Ridge (6-9) at Penn-Trafford, 5:30 p.m.; Charleroi (15-2) vs. Steel Valley (4-10) at West Mifflin, 3 p.m.; Greensburg Central Catholic (11-2) vs. Bentworth (6-8) at West Mifflin, 5 p.m.; Laurel (13-2) bye; Riverside (11-4) vs. Fort Cherry (7-8) at Peterswood Park, 4 p.m.; Serra Catholic (15-2) bye; Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (12-3) vs. Shenango (7-8) at North Allegheny, 3 p.m.

Class A

First round

Tuesday’s schedule

Union (14-2) bye; Carlynton (8-5) vs. Jeannette (11-4) at Peterswood Park, 2 p.m.; Chartiers-Houston (12-5) bye; West Greene (11-7) vs. Monessen (7-7) at Waynesburg University, 4 p.m.; Carmichaels (16-0) bye; Leechburg (10-7) vs. South Side (8-5) at Penn-Trafford, 3:30 p.m.; Frazier (12-0) bye; Jefferson-Morgan (8-7) vs. Northgate (8-5) at Peterswood Park, 2 p.m.

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at charlan@triblive.com.

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