WPIAL Baseball Power Rankings – 5/5

It is getting closer and closer to the greatest time of the year. The WPIAL Baseball Playoffs. Really the only other time that can compete with the anticipation and excitement is the start of the season, but it flys by so quick we have already found ourselves approaching the latter.

This past week of action did a great job clearing up the power rankings and really showcasing who the contenders are. This is the exact time of year when you have to be playing your best ball to make it big. So many teams peak too early and are left in shambles when it matters most. The win streaks that are currently held absolutely matter and provide insights towards which programs are trending in the right direction.

We had two teams step up and take over the top spot in their respective conferences, but other than that there were not a whole lot of shake-ups as we expected this deep into the year. Without further adieu, let’s dive into the WPIAL Baseball Power Rankings as of May 5th.

6A

Pine Richland, Pine Richland, Pine Richland. That’s been the story of 6A as the Rams have never faltered from the top spot in the conference. They have been dominating and it does not look like they have any intentions of stopping soon. Penn Trafford has been just as consistent maintaining the #2 spot en route to a superb 14-2 record. Next up is North Allegheny who has really turned it on as of late with a 5 game win streak. Peters and Bethel have both also been fantastic and are holding down the fort in section 3 where everyone believed Canon Mac would be shining the brightest. The Big Macs have been a disappointment recently losing 5 of their last 8 contests. However, it was Seneca Valley who took the biggest drop in the rankings after two straight losses and has now opened the door wide open for all sorts of playoff situations to unravel in Section 1. Five of the six squads from Section 1 are in our Top 10 and it will come right down to the wire in terms of who’s season stays alive and who ultimately goes home.

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5A

Top 3 stay entact in 5A with no breaking news there at all as West A, Franklin, and the Talbots have all continued their success. Gateway has been a stellar surprise at #4, while Mars has been less than stellar by our standards with how high our hopes were for this season, but their roster is so dangerous they have to remain as a top 5 power in 5A. We welcomed Montour into the mix as the Spartans have won their last 5 games and are sitting pretty in the #2 spot in Section 3. Their section foe Laurel Highlands took the biggest drop of the week, but a 9-4 record is nothing to scoff at and the Mustangs are still a dangerous team heading into the postseason.

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4A

Welcome back Belle Vernon. That’s really the big story in this week’s 4A rankings as the Leopards have won 4 straight including a major win over rival Ringgold. The Group of Death (Section 3) has remained strong with 5 of the squads still maintaining spots in the top 10. South Park took a jump up again after proving how dangerous they can be pulling out wins against 3 of these 5 ranked teams. We look forward to seeing these teams continue to battle against one another for one final week.

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3A

Welcome to the top Keystone Oaks. A 10 game win streak has propelled KO to new heights and take over the top spot in 3A. Hopewell and Deer Lakes both fell a spot in result, but still are lethal teams that need to be watched closely in this conference. A lot of consistent play from resulted in minimal overall movement here. The team we have our eye on once again is New Brighton. They went perfect for another week including a win over Hopewell and rightfully earned a promotion but steady play all around in 3A resulted in another standstill. Nonetheless, we expect NB to continue succeeding and will be one of our primed sleepers when it matters most.

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2A

Speaking of consistent conferences, 2A did not have much going on here either. Avonworth and OLSH flip-flopped spots after Avonworth pulled off a major win against the Chargers earlier this week. Carmichaels and Seton LaSalle were both promoted and rightfully so after they have been dominating to hold 13 win seasons. 2A is proving its depth yet again and will be our favorite conference to closely watch come playoff time.

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1A

Finally in 1A, Vincentian has taken over the crown starting off the year 9-0. Union is still a major team to watch and really only fell because of Vincentian’s perfection. We are excited about a potential matchup between these two in Washington, but on another note you can not count out California from ‘ship contention. With a combined record of 32-4 at the top, these three squads have proven they are the leaders of the pack. Jefferson Morgan found their way into the Power Rankings, and other than that, every other squad stayed at the exact same spot they were at a week ago.

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Make sure you follow us on Twitter and Instagram – @wpial_baseball, and if you haven’t already, subscribe to our blog at the button on the left to make sure you are notified whenever we post new content! Good luck this week to all teams and players, and the best is yet to come here at WPIAL Baseball.

WPIAL Baseball Power Rankings – 4/28

After a long awaited two week break due to the Easter Holiday, the WPIAL Baseball Power Rankings are back and better than ever. You would think the two-week absence would mean that shake-ups would be prominent and we’d be welcoming a ton of new teams into the mix as we rapidly approach the postseason, but in reality it was quite the contrary.

Out of the entire 6 conference slate, we only have one team take over the reins at the top compared to where we were just 14 days ago. We also only had to say goodbye to 6 teams total, with one conference not even switching a single squad from their 10.

There can be several factors that play into the consistency of these lists, but the one I personally would like to hone in on has been the brutal weather over the past couple weeks. We need some sunshine to be brought to the Burgh so that these section games can be conducted as scheduled. Once that happens the postseason picture, specifically the contenders vs pretenders we like to discuss, will start to take legitimate form. But for the time being, let’s dive into the Power Rankings as of 4/28.

6A

Pine still reigns strong. Another set of perfect weeks and a 5-0 section record has the Rams rolling at the top of 6A without questioning. Penn Trafford has continued their strong season as well and holds the #2. The story in 6A lies with the new #3 team, Peters moving up and up the ranks week after week en route to a 10-4 record. The Indians are trending in the right direction while their section foe, Canon Mac, took a tumble down 5 spots after a three-game losing streak. The Big Macs still have plenty of talent amongst their deep roster, and even though three section losses does hurt the resume, we still believe they have what it takes to be a top tier threat in this conference.

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5A

Here we had a little more action amongst the top 10. Only one team stayed put in the spot they held down two weeks ago, and of course it was the top dawg West Allegheny. The Indians have continued to thrive with a talented roster and particularly weaker strength of schedule. Outside of Section 3, Franklin Regional/Gateway and Hampton/Mars have been battling it out respectively to try and clear up the section champion picture. The 5 mentioned teams above have all held down the top half of these rankings in a consistent fashion and seem to be the teams to beat by a wide margin. Amongst the latter half, we are keeping an eye on Shaler’s success as they have been moving quickly in the correct direction.

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4A

Blackhawk and Yough stay true to their top spots, but the team to watch has got to be the Ringgold Rams. Ringgold has been the highest touted team heading into the season, and after a not so stellar start they find themselves on the right end of a 6 game win streak. Their 8-1 section record is even more impressive considering how loaded their section is. The group of death consisting of Ringgold, TJ, Elizabeth Forward, South Park, and Belle Vernon have all held down spots in our Top 10 at one point or another and if they didn’t have to battle constantly would more than likely sit atop the conference as a whole. Outside of section 3 the rest of the conference stayed intact for the most part. Beaver made another headline after they took down Blackhawk 6-2. We knew their squad had the talent to win a lot of ball games this year, and this W scratches the surface of what could be to come.

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3A

Once again, the top 2 squads hold down the fort in another WPIAL conference. McGuffey and Keystone Oaks, both out of the same section, have put together awesome seasons thus far to fill out some of the Top 5. New Brighton has put together a nice 5 game win streak to make their case as one of the teams to look out for come postseason time as well. We welcome Beth-Center this week and say goodbye to Waynesburg after Beth knocked down their section foe 4-3. Other than that, 3A stayed relatively quiet but should see some shaking and baking as section play continues this week.

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2A

A new #1, Shenango takes over the top spot in 2A as Serra fell earlier in the week to Seton LaSalle 10-9. We have stated several times now that 2A has been dominated by the top 5 team, whom all remain the same once again, but now 3 more teams have proven their legitimacy and have made 2A the deepest conference of the WPIAL’s 6. I mean it’s almost unimaginable that the 8th ranked team is 9-2, just two losses throughout the entire year and still they are ways away from cracking the top 5 because all this conference does is win. It is extraordinary the successes that these squads have had, and should make for an insanely intriguing playoff series.

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1A

Finally in 1A, we had basically nothing happen in a two-week time span. 7 teams stayed in the exact same spot, Monessen and Eden flip-flopped their positions, and we welcomed Quigley and  Leechburg into the mix. Quigley made a massive jump from out of the picture into the thick of things with a strong 5-1 section start. As of now, this conference seems like a four-horse race with the top tier residing at the top currently, but you can never count anyone out in the WPIAL. Always remember that.

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Make sure you follow us on Twitter and Instagram – @wpial_baseball, and if you haven’t already, subscribe to our blog at the button on the left to make sure you are notified whenever we post new content! Good luck this week to all teams and players, and the best is yet to come here at WPIAL Baseball.

 

WPIAL Baseball Power Rankings – 4/14

This Sunday is a little extra special…

Outside of the Final Round of the Masters, the Pens trying to get back on track in Game 3, and the premiere of Game of Thrones, we are happy to bring you the second week of the WPIAL Baseball Power Rankings.

For our specific area of expertise on this day of entertainment, the 6 new sets of Power Rankings stayed pretty consistent to what we saw a week ago. Only 6 teams were knocked out of their respective top 10’s. The biggest rise was a squad bumping up 5 places, and the largest drop was just 6. With that being said, we do have 4 new teams taking over the top spot of their respective conference, so let’s dive right into it and see who the new rulers of the throne are…

6A

Pine stays hot and stays on top. The Rams found great success with three section victories outscoring their opponents 23-1 during that span. The highlight of their great work though came on April 12th when the Rams hosted a “Best Buddies Day”. If you haven’t seen the images, we highly recommend you check out their great work – PR Best Buddy Day. Outside of Pine, Canon Mac and Penn Trafford flip-flopped spots after the Big Macs were upset by Baldwin earlier in the week. The loss is not catastrophic by any means, and Canon Mac is still a premier team in 6A without a doubt, but Penn Trafford’s 9-1 record enforced a promotion on their end. Seneca Valley and Peters Township are two squads that are definitely trending in the right direction. Even though the bottom four teams fell down a bit compared to our last rankings, this bunch is still extremely dangerous. 6A is loaded deep with talent and teams like Central, Norwin, and Hempfield are still more than capable of putting together some major win streaks throughout the rest of the year.

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5A

West A goes up, Mars goes down, but they still hold the top two spots across the conference. Mars lost at the hands of North Hills in a surprising fashion, but still showed their promise taking down South Fayette just two days after. 5A is filled with packages of teams that are going to get to know each other quite nicely throughout the rest of the regular season. Gateway and Franklin Regional sit at #3 and #4 respectively, host 4-0 section records, but will still have to face off twice during the regular season. One of these contests will be this Wednesday, which is a major game to watch if you can make it out, and it will also act as a major indicator for who the top dawg in Section 1 is. Now for Section 2, it is just flat out the group of death in this conference. Five of the six teams in the section currently hold a place in our Top 10. The lone team out is North Hills, and if there was an honorable mention team they’d easily be it. They upset Mars and were one of our teams to watch heading into the season so they are no fluke themselves. Section 2 is going to be a bloodbath (if we are staying with the Thrones theme here) with contest after contest featuring strong lineups. This also opens the door for West A to really run away with the top spot as their competition is not going to be nearly as difficult to get through compared to the latter. Let’s hope the weather holds up for a full slate of action this week, and if it does we should really see who are the contenders compared to the pretenders across this conference.

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4A

From first to off the board. After a hot start for Quaker Valley, they no longer man a spot in the Top 10 after falling three times in section play over the past 5 days. Their downfall opened the door for section foe New Castle to work their way into the picture holding down our #8 spot. Staying in Section 2, Blackhawk now holds the crown of this conference. The Cougars are one of two teams in 4A team who have not fallen to any section competition as of late. The only other team to accomplish this feat is of course New Castle, and these two squads will match up on Tuesday for a showdown that is sure to be exciting. Sections 1 and 3 are both led by multiple one-loss squads and are in many ways jam-packed just awaiting teams to separate themselves. The consistent play of these squads should equate to some great matchups over the next week or two, but still a major wildcard team of ours is 10th ranked South Park. We have brought them up week after week waiting for a breakthrough with the talent they have across their roster. Their upcoming slate though could be exactly what they need, with games against the two bottom teams in section 3 leading up to a Friday matchup against the current top dawg Thomas Jefferson. This will be the true test for the Eagles, and we are eager to see the final results.

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3A

Another new team holding the crown derives from Viking country. Hopewell has not just won 5 games in a row, but they have done so with putting up 9 runs as their lowest scoring total during this stretch. They have crushed opponents’ pitching landing themselves as the #1 team in 3A. On their heels, is a threesome from Section 1 at spots 3-5. Oh, and then after that group is a threesome from Section 3 that hold down spots 5-7. It is safe to say after the Vikings, the rest of the slate is going to be scratching and clawing their way to hold onto a spot in the top 5 really. We welcome Freedom to the Top 10 and unfortunately have to say goodbye to North Catholic and Charleroi, but would not be surprised at all if both squads work their way back in as early as next week. New Brighton rounds out the group and if you haven’t seen this team play yet you might want to head over to a game. It’s worth it just to witness the talent of Noah Wijnen-Riems. The Dayton commit can flat out rake and will make sure that NB stays on the map in 2019.

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2A

In 2A, the graphic looks bad right away on Avonwroth’s behalf, but it does not fully convey the whole story here. Avonworth took a loss at the hands of OLSH earlier in the week, and thus basically forced our hand to move them down 3 spots because of the absolute dominance from Serra, Shenango, and 9-1 OLSH themselves. 2A, in general, has put up some great numbers from a record perspective. I mean the 10th ranked Brownsville is 5-2 which is a superior record compared to others all across the WPIAL. Since 2A has so many teams, and an extra section compared to every other conference basically, it has caused a great deal of competition with our top 10, as well as who is going to find themselves in a playoff position when the regular season is all said and done. Right now, I would say the top 4 teams we have here are 2A Tier1. Neshannock, Jeannette, and Seton would all fall into the Tier 2 Category, and then the rest of the teams would be an extremely close Tier 3. All the Tiers are incredibly talented, but maintain specific levels of dominance basically that differentiate themselves from the rest of the crowd.

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1A

Not a whole lot shaking up here in 1A. The top 4 all stayed in the exact same spots they found themselves in a week ago. Vincentian finally had a chance to play a game, and they did exactly what we expected starting the year out 3-0. In case you didn’t have a chance to check out two of Vincentian’s finest, the Fedko brothers, in a recent interview from UCONN Baseball, well you should just take a look for a good time – Fedko Bros. After the top 4, Eden Christian came into the mix and hopped right into the top 5 sitting at a great record of 6-1. St. Joseph follows them as a sleeper team we really like the rest of the way across 1A. This conference is not set up like the rest with a couple absolutely dominate teams. We are very curious to see who steps up and owns their competition, but as of now Union does not seem like they want to give up the #1 spot, and we will see if any legitimate challengers come to fruition in the near future.

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Make sure you follow us on Twitter and Instagram – @wpial_baseball, and if you haven’t already, subscribe to our blog at the button on the left to make sure you are notified whenever we post new content! Good luck this week to all teams and players, and the best is yet to come here at WPIAL Baseball.

WPIAL Baseball Power Rankings – 4/7

The WPIAL Baseball season got off to a very hot start, even though the weather has been basically the opposite. After a little over a week of play, our Power Rankings have witnessed some shake-ups amongst the respective top 10’s.

Prior to diving into our updated rankings, we want to make sure that you understand what our system is based on. First, the corresponding team records have been provided by the Post Gazette’s database. We wanted to be transparent with where we are gathering our numbers so that if they need to be updated in anyway, you are at least aware of where the data derives from. Secondly, we prioritize section record over a team’s overall record. Our rankings are based on the current standing of the team, but also take into account projectability and postseason potential. At the earlier stages of the season, just like we find ourselves in currently, our rankings are more focused on overall team talent and how strong the programs are looking throughout the entire course of 2019.

With all of that being said, let’s jump into the WPIAL Baseball Power Rankings as of April 7th.

6A

There’s a new squad at the top. After an iffy start for the NA Tigers, Pine Richland bumped up to take control over 6A. The two powerhouses we are going to be watching quite closely are both Pine Richland and Canon Mac. Both rosters are loaded with talent (college level talent that is) and know exactly what it takes to win close ball games. If these two can match up in the finals, it would be one heck of a show. Penn Trafford and Central Catholic have come out of the gates firing on all cylinders with 7 wins apiece. We will be curious to see how both of these squads hold up heading into section play, but right now it does not look like either team has any intentions of slowing down soon.

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5A

The two top dawgs stay put between Mars and West A. The two big surprises here were Laurel Highlands and Gateway propelling into the top 5. The Mustangs program is consistently strong, and have proven their early dominance year after year with great showings in the early parts of the season. Gateway told us to watch out for them in 2019, and they are backing it up so far with solid wins over Hampton, Woodland Hills, and Butler. Hampton took the biggest drop of the rankings after finding themselves with a below .500 record thus far. Moon and Trinity both earned new ranks after capable showings respectively as well.

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4A

We received some negative feedback in regard to Quaker Valley hosting the top position in 4A after some injuries depleted their roster, but so far all they have done is win. With that being said, there are several teams that are right on their tails and gunning for the top spot. Greensburg Salem took a major jump after putting together a 5 game win streak to start off the year. Blackhawk and Knoch are back in the top 5 which has become quite familiar to both programs during the past few years. The two teams that we are seriously watching right now, and going forward, are South Park and Ringgold. Right now, they are ranked 7th and 8th respectively, but we would not be shocked at all if they are both fighting for the #1 spot when it’s all said and done. Both rosters are filled with consistent producers who have played in high-pressure contests before. They have all the makings of championship caliber teams and these early stages of section play should be a strong indicator if they can legitimately reach their high ceiling of potential.

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3A

This conference looks as if there has been a ton of shifting, but in reality, it has been sort of standard in our minds. North Catholic took the biggest drop and even though 1-4 is not a record to be proud of, their non-section competition was very strong. Pulling out multiple wins under their circumstances would have been pretty extraordinary. Their strength of schedule could prepare them well for the 3A road ahead, and that is why we support them still in the top 5. McGuffey, Freedom, and Freeport all are welcomed to the Top 10 as first-timers, and find themselves in the middle of a deep slate of equally talented teams. We can confidently say that none of the teams in this top 10 are lacking in talent, but I would also state that none are light years better than the next. 3A should be an exciting conference to watch as the season goes on, and should be filled with many ebs and flows of success/failures for every one of these squads.

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2A

The strong got stronger, and 4 newcomers were welcomed to the party. Avonworth and Serra both lived up to the hype that we brought to both programs during the preseason. Neshannock kept on winning just as they always have. OLSH and Seton LaSalle went on a tear to start their year leaving us with no choice but to throw them in the middle of the 2A fire. But with that all being said, Shenango is the squad that opened our eyes. We had them as our Preseason #4 team across this conference, so we are not surprised that they have been so successful. We knew the talent was there, but we did not expect them to dominate the competition so steadily. They have won contests with scores of 16-9, 12-7, 9-2, they took down Riverside 5-1 which is never an easy battle, and got the best of a solid Laurel team that was another one of our sleepers in 2019. Avonworth and Serra are elite teams without a doubt, but don’t sleep on what Shenango is bringing to the table this season.

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1A

Last but certainly not least, teams across 1A started their season just as we have become accustomed to. Teams in 1A usually have to start their seasons off playing against the larger schools across the area. This is no disrespect towards them, but it is a tough task to knock down powerhouses with graduation classes that are double, triple, maybe even a bit bigger than that compared to these 1A schools. This is why the records here seem to be so low compared to the teams included above. Union, California, and West Greene have still gotten off to great starts by those accounts. We expect teams like Vincentian and G.C.C. to tear up section play when that commences here in the very near future as well. Two teams to watch on the lower half of our 10 currently are St. Joseph and Bishop Canevin. Both programs are right around the .500 mark, but we could see a quick spike in W’s with local contests finally coming to the table.

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Make sure you follow us on Twitter and Instagram – @wpial_baseball, and if you haven’t already, subscribe to our blog at the button on the left to make sure you are notified whenever we post new content! Good luck this week to all teams and players, and the best is yet to come here at WPIAL Baseball.

 

Preseason Breakdown

The 2018 season brought WPIAL Baseball fans a fantastic show with 6 teams being crowned WPIAL Champions for the first time ever. The new classification system brought programs a better chance to make their mark and take home the gold when it was all said it done in Washington, PA. Ultimately, it was Canon Mac, North Hills, South Fayette, Brownsville, North Catholic, and Vincentian that stole the show. Now the stage is set for some new programs to step up and capture the throne.

The moral of the story here is that the talent was prominent last spring throughout the Greater Pittsburgh Area, and 2019 looks to bring more of the same.

So, without further adieu, let’s breakdown our Preseason Teams & Players to Watch in 2019…

6A 

 

5A

4A

 

3A

 

2A

 

1A

We will continue to update these lists as the year goes on with some special surprises in store along the way…

Stay tuned, but we promise the best is yet to come here at WPIAL Baseball.

Championship Breakdown

No lead in, we are getting right down to the business. The time we have all been waiting for has finally come, and let’s get into our Championship Breakdown.

 

1A champ

The rubber match. These section rivals face off for one final WPIAL contest this season, and my oh my will it be one to see. Union took game one 9-8 in dramatic fashion over the Royals. Two weeks later, VA responded with a 4-3 victory of their own. Now, the top two seeded teams in 1A will play for the conference crown.

Both teams feature several of the WPIAL’s most talented bats. Vincentian is home to Kyler Fedko, a UCONN commit who holds a .614 batting average, hit a league leading 6 homers, knocked in 33 RBI’s, and scored 30 runs. On the other side is the dynamic duo of Matt Costello and Tyler Benedict. Costello hit .571 with 19 runs, and struck out 33 hitters on the bump. Benedict raked .463 with 20 RBI’s and 21 runs. Two high flying offenses means a very exciting ball game is coming.

Both teams scored 13 runs in their previous postseason contests. However, the biggest difference in their playoff statistics is Vincentian has yet to give up a run, while Union has surrendered 7. The Scotties scrapped their way past Monessen enroute to a semi final bid, and this early scare showed their susceptible to allowing a good offense to do some major damage.

My Prediction: I am taking the Vincentian Royals to be crowned as the 1A champions. The Royals have been atop of the conference rankings all year long, and I expect them to finish there. VA – 6, Union – 4.

 

3A champ

Another conference championship where the top two seeds will be battling for the gold. Serra has dominated all season long, and it is no surprise to anyone that the Eagles have flown their way to Washington. CWNC has arguably been just as successful. The Trojans do have five losses on the year, but four of them have come against teams in higher classifications. CWNC is on fire winning 9 of their last 11, and they are searching for one more.

It would be hard breaking down this matchup without discussing Mark Black. The St. Johns commit just missed taking home the WPIAL triple crown, slashing .629, 5 homers, and 42 RBI’s. He was also second in the league with 35 runs. In front of him was teammate Zack Bowen. Oh yeah, and behind Black in third place was another teammate, Ben Bowen. Moral of the story here is Serra Catholic is a dominant force in 2A, and knows exactly what to do to win ball games.

CWNC is hoping to utilize their talent on the bump to quiet the Eagles bats. CWNC has a three headed monster pitching staff who have all put together incredible seasons. Alex Hoehn was 5-0 with 39 k’s during the regular season, Joe Alampi was 4-1, and Ryan Feczko struck out 51 hitters. The Trojans can score with the best of them as well, but what is really intriguing to me is how they will go about maneuvering their way through Serra’s lineup with their power arms.

My Prediction: I can’t go against Serra Catholic. The Eagles have been too good for too long, and I think they take home the gold here. Mark Black and the Bowen boys are going to have a hell of a day. Give me Serra – 6, CWNC – 2.

 

2A champ

The Brownsville Falcons are playing for the top spot in 3A. That is something I did not think I would be saying, not because of their talent, but rather because they had to get through Riverside in the process. The Falcons defeated the Panther powerhouse 6-5 in the Final Four and proved they were a team made for the big moments. Avonworth had a much different showing in the semis. The Lopes downed South Side Beaver 13-2, in a dominant showing against the 3 seed. Avonworth has won 6 straight, and look ready to be crowned the 3A champion.

The Lopes are headed by a fantastic pitching combination of Ryan Felter and Turner Grau. Brownsville has a stud arm of their own in Dylan Brosky. Brosky is 5-1 with 62 strikeouts on the season, ranking him fifth in the WPIAL.

My Prediction: I really like Avonworth here. I think the Lopes are due, and have had the talent all season long to pull off an incredible playoff run. This one is going to be a low scoring affair with a final score of 3-2.

 

4A champ

How about a conference where the top two seeds did not even make the final four! Early eliminations for Blackhawk and Knoch led to Ringgold and South Fayette powering their way to the top of 4A. Ringgold arrives to the title game after defeating New Castle 8-3, and Greensburg Salem 7-3. South Fayette dominated as well, winning 1-0 against a very talented West Mifflin team, and 14-4 against the Hopewell Vikings.

South Fayette is a very complete team. The Lions feature a .500 hitter in Ryan Kokoski, and also have Tyler Bedillion and Richie Dell who have combined for 9 wins and only two losses on the bump. But, Ringgold has Ryan Varley. Varley is what I would consider a hidden gem in the WPIAL world of baseball. The Alderson Broaddus commit is undefeated as a pitcher, hosting a .400 record. He has crushed his competition all season long, and he fits the Western PA-blue collared persona to a T.

My Prediction: I am rolling with the Lions in 4A. I love watching Varley play, but I think at the end of the day South Fayette is going to be too much to handle. Final score SF – 2, Ringgold – 0.

 

5A champ

Mars and North Hills. It might be shocking to some, but we could see these two teams arriving at this point all year long. Mars got off to a very rough start to their season, but flipped the switch at the perfect time. The Planets have won 8 straight leading up the Finals, and are one game away from taking home the gold. North Hills has absolutely owned their competitors thus far in the postseason. The Indians eliminated Franklin Regional 7-1, and proceeded to knock out West A 11-4.

In our opinion, North Hills is one of the deepest teams around the area. They have 3 guys hitting over .450, an offensive juggernaut that can score any time they want, and a 4-1 pitcher with 46 strikeouts named Joey Pusateri. They hold a record of 19-3, but one of those losses came in a 9-0 fashion at the hands of the Planets. Mars has three D1 pitching commits, the main story though is Will Bednar. We talked about him all season long, and rightfully so. The Junior is already committed to Ohio State, and struck out 76 batters during the year, putting him second in the WPIAL. Bednar has two playoff starts this year, and has only given up one run.

My Prediction: We predicted this 5A final, and took North Hills to come out on top, but today we are changing that answer. The Bednar train is coming, and the Indians are going to have to play superb to get out of it’s way. This is going to be the premier championship matchup, and both teams are more than deserving to have made it this far. I am taking Mars – 2, North Hills – 1.

 

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Canon Mac vs North Allegheny is a matchup that no one could have seen coming. We have been saying all year long that the Big Macs mean business, and they showcased their ability taking down Norwin, Plum, and Central Catholic. All three of those teams are loaded with talent and Canon Mac moved past them with ease. North Allegheny is by far the biggest surprise of the WPIAL playoffs. The 10th seeded Tigers upset Penn Trafford, Bethel Park, and Hempfield on their way to the championship.

Canon Mac has a true ace in Zach Rohaley. The Wheeling Jesuit commit finished the regular season 6-1, and struck out 61 batters in the process. The Big Macs can swing it too, with multiple contributors who will threaten the Tigers throughout the game. NA’s run has been fueled by an impressive offense. In three postseason games, on average the Tigers are posting 5 runs. Those are tough numbers to maintain, and even tougher ones to try and keep up with.

My Prediction: I am picking Canon Mac over North Allegheny here. The Big Macs are tough, battle tested, and ready to be #1. CM – 4, NA – 0.

 

P.S. Fans, make sure you get to Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday, because these games are going to be instant classics…

Playoff Rundown

Then there were 12…

The final games are set for each classification, and the first three rounds of this year’s WPIAL playoffs did not disappoint. Before we breakdown the championship matchups for you, we wanted to take a look back at everything that occurred leading up to this extraordinary moment.

 

1A

1A bracket

We thought there was a high probability that 1A would end up with the higher seeds making their way to the title game. In fact, there was only one seeding upset in the entire slate of games, and it came from defending champ, Jeannette, and their 5-3 extra inning victory over Quigley. The Jayhawks, and their new opponent G.C.C., battled their way to the final four. But, once they got there, the top two seeds were just too much to handle. Vincentian and Union seemed as if they were destined to meet once again, but for all of the marbles this time.

 

2A

2A bracket

It seems like all year long this conference has been about Serra Catholic. They have been utterly dominant, but there are multiple story lines outside of the Eagles incredible season that need to be highlighted. We thought Shenango had the chance to be a major sleeper team in this scenario, and they answered that call stealing two wins away from Canevin and Carmichaels. Brentwood shocked many with an 8-2 rout over 6 seeded Char Houston. We knew the top three seeds were all powerhouses and would have a really tough time getting knocked out. You will be able to see our breakdown of the Serra vs CWNC matchup shortly.

 

3A

3A bracket

We only had one prediction wrong in this entire set, and oh my was it a major one. #4 seed, Brownsville, was able to knock off the 3A top-dog – Riverside. The Side played at a different level all year long, and everyone thought they would run away with the WPIAL title, but the Falcons said no. Brownsville controlled the ball game from the start. The Panthers rallied and fought with everything they had, but in the end fell 6-5. The big story on the flip side of the bracket was not Avonworth’s domination to the final, but instead a very exciting first round matchup. Shady Side Academy was in a gritty contest against Waynesburg before Mother Nature intervened. The Umpires took over and ended the game two innings early. Waynesburg was threatening with an excellent opportunity to regain the lead and propel them into the next round. These drastic circumstances provoke the question as to whether or not the WPIAL should enforce the rule that all playoff games must complete the entire 7 inning slate. As stated in our bio, we are not directly affiliated with the WPIAL and have absolutely no say in the rulemaking process, but we think some positive adaptations can be created.

 

4A

4A bracket

4A was crazy! Greensburg Salem did not just prove us wrong once, but they pulled off the biggest upset the WPIAL has seen all season long. The 8 ran through South Park, and top seeded Blackhawk, en route to a final four appearance. Their two victories occurred in very different manners as well, one they swung the bats and plated 8, the other they scrounged together a single run in 9 innings. On the flip side, Hopewell had similar success. We expected them to win one on the back of ace Joe Rock, but after they were done with Belle Vernon they sent Knoch home as well. As a side note for this conference, two of our favorite teams, New Castle and West Mifflin fought their way through incredible seasons that we were sad to see end so soon. New Castle’s fan base created a media frenzy any time we did not fully support them, which made the Canes’ matchups ones we were very intrigued with. Ben Visnesky was an absolute workhorse all season long, and we are pumped to see what he can accomplish in the future.

 

5A

5A bracket

There was not a ton of deception in the future for these 13 teams. We knew Mars was capable of a huge run, we knew North Hills would be right there with them, but the outlier was Hampton as they shined throughout the process. The Talbots handled two very talented teams on their way to the semis. They defeated #9 Gateway 4-2, and #1 Moon 9-1. If it weren’t for Will Bednar being such a stud, they might be competing for gold this week. We were extremely intrigued with the offensive juggernaut battle between North Hills and West A in the Final Four. the game ended with 15 total runs, but the Indians of North Hills handled business plating 11 of them. In fact, 5A featured a ton of high scoring performances, with 8 teams putting up 6 or more runs during the contests.

 

6A

6A bracket

Ok, now I don’t think anyone could have seen this coming. We had Canon Mac, but North Allegheny?! Don’t get me wrong, NA is always a force to be reckoned with and the Tigers easily had the talent at the start of the season to pull something incredible like this off. But, being the 10 seed, losing 3 of the last 4 regular season games, matching up against a 17-4 Bethel Park Squad, and losing arguably the most talented player on their roster to suspension, the stars did not look like they were aligning for the Tigers. Our predicted winner of the entire thing lost 9-1 in the quarter finals. Pine Richland was not able to maintain their talent on paper, and had a very tough time getting all of the cogs to work as one in order to find success. #1 seed Central Catholic showed their dominance in a 6-0 victory over Butler. Marshall McGraw put together a masterful no-hit performance, and showcased why he is one of the WPIAL’s finest pitchers. Canon Mac handled business three times just like we thought they would, and proved that you do not want to see the Big Macs in May.

 

Make sure you subscribe to our blog on the left side of the screen in order to stay up to date on all WPIAL Baseball information. Follow us on social media, @wpial_baseball and check in with us later when we publish our breakdowns for all 6 of the championship games!