WPIAL baseball seedings set up Westmoreland County clash in 1st round

Friday, May 13, 2022 | 7:24 PM

When two second-place section teams received better seeds than his section-winning one, Yough baseball coach Craig Spisak didn’t kick up dust.

After winning its second section title in four years, Yough was branded with a No. 5 seed in the first round of the WPIAL Class 3A baseball playoffs, which begin next week.

Avonworth and Mohawk, runners-up in their sections, were awarded 3 and 4 seeds, a likely nod to stronger competition in those divisions. Yough was, after all, the only team in Section 4 with a winning record.

Spisak took it in stride.

“I don’t worry too much about seeding,” Spisak said. “You can’t control where they put you. You have to go out and play, wherever they put you. I understand why the WPIAL did what they did.”

The Cougars (10-7) will take on another local team, No. 12 Mt. Pleasant (9-7), in the first round at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Hempfield.

Yough played Mt. Pleasant on Tuesday and edged the Vikings, 8-7, on a walk-off single.

“We may have to squeeze one out again,” Spisak said. “And it doesn’t get any easier if we move on.”

Another area team will be on display Tuesday at Hempfield.

Latrobe (12-7) grabbed a No. 5 seed in Class 5A after winning Section 1. The Wildcats, who clinched their section weeks ago, will face No. 12 Thomas Jefferson (13-6) in the first round at 4:30 p.m.

“This is the fun part of the season,” Latrobe coach Matt Basciano said. “For weeks, you’re driving yourself nuts trying to figure out where you might be. You can’t worry about things you can’t control. We have to get ready to go after TJ. They have a quality program.”

Basciano was not upset — far from it, in fact — that Bethel Park, a second-place team, got the No. 2 seed in the 5A bracket.

“Defending state champions, I get it,” he said. “They deserve a reward for that. A 4 would’ve been great for us, but I am happy we’re not a 6.”

Penn-Trafford (13-6), which played a rugged schedule that impressed the WPIAL committee, was tabbed the No. 8 seed in the same class and gets No. 9 Hampton (10-9) at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at West Mifflin.

Franklin Regional (11-5), which battled Latrobe and Penn-Trafford in a tough Section 1 — the Panthers tied Penn-Trafford for second place — is No. 10 and will play No. 7 South Fayette (14-3) at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Burkett Complex in Robinson Township.

Norwin (10-8) received the lowest seed among area teams. The Knights are No. 4 in Class 6A and will open play in the quarterfinals of the eight-team bracket May 23 at a neutral site against No. 5 Central Catholic (10-9).

The Knights were 4-6 at one point but rallied late to get to 10 wins and finish second in Section 2.

“The seed doesn’t really matter,” Norwin coach Mike Liebdzinski said. “We were in serious danger of not making the playoffs. Winning four straight against USC and Hempfield was a tremendous accomplishment for our kids. I am very proud of how our kids finished the season.”

Other local matchups:

• Hempfield (8-12) will open against Seneca Valley (13-7) in the Class 6A bracket as the No. 8 seed. The Spartans will play 5 p.m. Wednesday at Plum.

Derry (11-5) and Southmoreland (7-7) also are in the 3A bracket. No. 10 Derry plays No. 7 New Brighton (9-9) in a first-round rematch from a year ago, and No. 14 Southmoreland faces No. 3 Avonworth at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Highlands.

Derry beat New Brighton, 10-0, last year at Latrobe.

• In Class A, Greensburg Central Catholic (8-6) is the No. 8 seed and will meet No. 9 Leechburg (7-5) at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Plum.

The top seeds are Mt. Lebanon (6A), Peters Township (5A), Montour (4A), Hopewell (3A), Serra Catholic (2A) and Eden Christian (A).

The WPIAL finals will be May 31 and June 1 at Wild Things Park in Washington.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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