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.

Screen Shot 2019-05-05 at 1.57.38 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2019-05-05 at 2.05.18 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2019-05-05 at 2.17.16 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2019-05-05 at 2.26.31 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2019-05-05 at 2.36.34 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2019-05-05 at 2.42.14 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2019-04-28 at 1.03.14 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2019-04-28 at 1.13.32 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2019-04-28 at 3.28.56 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2019-04-28 at 1.32.43 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2019-04-28 at 1.53.35 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2019-04-28 at 1.58.23 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2019-04-14 at 12.13.21 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2019-04-14 at 12.13.24 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2019-04-14 at 12.13.26 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2019-04-14 at 12.13.29 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2019-04-14 at 12.13.32 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2019-04-14 at 12.13.34 PM

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.

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.

 

BXFXgZ_n.jpg-large

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!

Round 2 Breakdown

1Ava cornell

  • #1 vs #8. We are on board for both of these fan buses for different reasons. Vincentian has dominated their way to a 13-4 record, while Cornell has shocked many on their way to completing the regular season at 10-4. Cornell comes off of a 5-0 victory over West Greene, but I am afraid the run will be cut short on Monday. The Royals are too strong of a team, and the Raiders will have trouble keeping pace with them. I am taking Vincentian in a 7-2 victory.

uni mon

  • This will be a major game to watch in 1A. Both of these teams are extremely tough to beat, and will not go down without a fight. Monessen arrives at round 2 with a 11-6 record after defeating Western Beaver 2-0. We suspected that contest to be a very exciting one, and the Greyhounds did not leave us disappointed. Now, they will go up against the 12-3,  #2 overall seed, Union Scotties. This Union team is really strong, and we are predicting them to ride the road all the way to Consol. I’m taking Union in a 4-3 win over the Greyhounds.

gcc eden

  • G-C-C, G-C-C, G-C-C, you will be hearing that chant often in this one because we think the Centurions should have no problem moving onto the final four. Don’t get me wrong, Eden is a very talented team. Their lineup can score it with the best of them, as they showcased their ability in a 12-4 win over Rochester last round. But, GCC is 12-5, battle tested, and fully capable of making a deep playoff run. Give me the Rice brothers at GCC – 6, Eden 3.

quig jeann

  • So far with our 1A predictions, we have chosen the chalk to sweep the quarter finals. In this one, we are rolling with the underdog. The Jeannette Jayhawks are the defending WPIAL champs and enter this matchup after defeating Leechburg 2-0. Jeannette has a very deep and talented pitching staff that could carry them a long way. Quigley comes in having won 13 straight and their only loss was to #1 team in 2A (Serra Catholic). The Spartans have had an exceptional season, but we like the Jayhawks moving on to the Semis after winning this one 3-1.

2A

serra laurel

  • Serra Catholic is 19-1. A ridiculous 19-1, where there only loss came against the 3A powerhouse that is the Avonworth Antelopes. The Eagles have an awesome pitching staff and a deep lineup that is headed by St. John’s commit Mark Black. Black is a pretty good ball player, I mean he only hit .629 this year, with 5 bombs, and led the WPIAL with 42 RBIs. I guess that’s ok… If you are getting the gist of this sarcasm, we are picking the Eagles to win this one. Final score, 7-1, Serra will play in the Semis.

carm shen

  • We predicted a Shenango upset in round 1 and they slipped past Canevin in a dramatic, extra inning fashion. Now, they will take on the Mighty Mikes of Carmichaels who are an impressive 11-5. Shenango has been very hot as of late, but we think that streak will end right here. We are taking the Mikes in a 5-4 victory and look forward to a potential showdown vs Serra Catholic in the Semis.

cwnc carln

  • Carlynton enters this match after a high flying performance against California in round 1. The Cougars put up an impressive 14 runs en route to the victory, and will need to reproduce those statistics if they want to knock out North Catholic. CWNC is 15-5, and if were not for Serra Catholic being so strong, they would easily be the team to beat in 2A. I expect them to move onto the final four and beat the Cougars 5-1.

nesh brent

  • The 17-3 Lancers will take on the 2A underdog, Brentwood Spartans. The Spartans caught us sleeping last week when we picked them to go down against Chartiers Houston. Not only did they win to get to the Elite Eight, but they dismantled their opponent in an 8-2 fashion. I am sorry Spartan fans, but I am picking against you once again. Give me Neshannock here, 6-3. The Lancers are always a dominant conference force, and I think they find their way back into the final four.

 

3A

riv sv

  • I said it last week and I’ll say it again, you do not want to play Steel Valley this time of year. The Ironmen know how to win playoff games. Period. They destroyed Charleroi 15-0 in a measly 3 inning contest. This time, they go up against the powerhouse that is Riverside. The Panthers have been dominant all season long and are our pick to take home the gold in 3A. Our prediction, Riverside – 6, Steel Valley – 5. I have to take the stronghold here, but I am telling you this will be an exciting ball game and the Ironmen will not go down without a fight.

ztq1SWnK.jpg-large

  • 12-2 Brownsville faces off against 11-6 Valley in this battle. Valley enters after barely getting past Beaver Falls 7-5 in last round. I expect them to have a lot of trouble here against a very talented Brownsville program. Brownsville will win 7-2, and move onto the Final Four.

2Wi65szh.jpg-large

  • Avonworth vs Shady Side Academy. SSA was our sleeper pick in last round, and they answered with a crazy 6-5 victory over Waynesburg. The game was called after the 5th inning due to rain and SSA was awarded a bid into the Elite Eight. Now, they will have to take on the 14-4 Antelopes. I am predicting an Avonworth victory here by a score of 9-2. The Lopes are moving on.

F3RDuRTa.jpg-large

  • This contest is up there with the Riverside/Steel Valley game in terms of excitement. I think both of these teams are extremely talented, and will not be surprised at all if Burrell pulls off the upset. They come off a 12-5 rout over Mt. Pleasant, but I have to pick the latter in this one and roll with South Side Beaver. The Rams are 12-4 this season after playing in the most competitive section 3A has to offer. They are battle tested and craving a rematch against their Rival (Avonworth) in the Final Four. Rams win 5-4.

 

4A

eeBC2UzV.jpg-large

  • We have talked about Blackhawk a ton this season, and rightfully so. They have two of the best players not just in 4A, but in the entire WPIAL in Turconi and McClymonds. They support a 16-1 overall record, and are by far the team to beat in 4A. With that being said, we have to talk about Greensburg Salem. An 8-2 win over a very talented South Park team was eye-opening, and now, they are playing their best baseball at the most crucial time of year. They have won 6 straight and will need to bring their A+ game to get past the Cougars. We still have to take Blackhawk in this one, by a score of 5-1, but do not be surprised if GS turns this one into a classic.

z3D0FyAd.jpg-large

  • Last week was awesome and let me tell you why. For the first time all season the New Castle fans, were my fans!! They did not through any shade, there was no hate present, and they loved me showing support for the #CanesCuz. Well New Castle fans, it is time to start the beef once more, because I am picking Ringgold here. Ringgold is 14-3, and Ryan Varley is one of the most underrated talents in the entire WPIAL. New Castle has made me a believer this year, but the Rams are too good and will win this one 6-4.

gXE-A0ko

  • The Knights of Knoch are 14-3 and one of the premier teams in the conference. Hopewell enters this contest after defeating Belle Vernon 3-1. We predicted this upset in large part due to the talent of Joe Rock on the bump. The Knights bring a different kind of talent in this one, and I think they will be too much for the Vikings to handle. Knock will move onto the final four winning this one 4-0.

Sv4rZjuT.jpg-large

  • Only a few teams have given Blackhawk a run for their money this year. One of those squads was the South Fayette Lions, and they did it twice. Other sources in the area have picked them to take home the gold, and after a 14-5 year, they could match up with the Cougars in Consol once again. This round, they play West Mifflin, a gritty team who has excelled on the back of their ace, Ben Visnesky. This is going to be a thrilling back-and-forth contest, but I have to take the Lions to come out victorious. Score, South Fayette – 3, West Mifflin – 1.

 

5A

ywA2ArOk.jpg-large

  • #1 Moon takes on #8 Hampton in this Quarterfinal matchup. The Talbots enter after a walk off two run bomb from William and Mary commit, Phil Conti. Conti and the rest of the talented Talbot lineup will get to face off against one of 5A’s best arms, Dayton commit Nick Maue. Both of these teams run deep with talent, but I am taking the Tigers here. Moon is going to win this one 5-4, and move on to the Final Four.

nwRkel4q.jpg-large

  • This is THE game to watch in the second round. The Mustangs and their high powered offense will get the opportunity to go up against the stud that is Will Bednar. The Ohio State commit put together another masterful performance in a 2-1 win over Trinity. That game was a little too close for our liking, but we still think the Planets will win this one and move onto the Final Four. Mars is an extremely talented team that is playing their best ball of the year right now. Final score: Mars – 3, LH – 2.

4-Tnt0nJ.jpg-large

  • We picked against the likes of the Colts last round, and they responded by destroying Latrobe 12-2. This round, they will face off against section foe, West Allegheny. West A swept the season series thus far, winning the respective contests 4-1 and 2-0. We expect more of the same in this one, with the Indians defeating the Colts 5-2. The #2 seed will play in the final four on Wednesday.

cXw7fRcS.jpg-large

  • North Hills is one of our favorite teams in this conference. They are loaded with talent, and that will be showcased prominently when they take on Franklin Regional this Tuesday. The Panthers moved into the Semis after taking down Montour 11-2. Franklin showed they can score it with the best of them, but I think that run stops here. Give us North Hills, 6-1. The Indians are moving onto the Final Four.

 

6A

45t4AmMc.jpg-large

  • #1 Central Catholic faces off against #8 Butler. The Vikings are 14-4, and were crowned the champs of the toughest section this conference has to offer. They absolutely deserved the #1 seed, but I am picking Butler to pull off the upset. This contest is going to feature two of the best arms in the WPIAL. Marshall McGraw leads the entire slate with a 9-0 record. Butler’s ace, Connor Ollio, is a UNC recruit that already has one playoff gem under his belt. I have to side with Ollio in this battle. As superb as McGraw has been, I think Ollio lives for these moments, and will shine in the spotlight. Butler – 3, CC – 2.

SnUOIgx8.jpg-large

  • 14-5 Bic Macs, 16-4 Mustangs. This one is going to be fun to watch. One of the WPIAL Baseball Games to Watch, we expect big things to go down. This is a coin flip where either team could win, and could take their talents all the way to Consol. I have to side with the Big Macs here in a 5-4 fashion over Plum. As I said before, Canon Mac is one of the toughest teams to beat this time of year, and I would stay away if I could.

pQR2scGk.jpg-large

  • #2 Seeded Bethel Park takes on the University of North Allegheny. NA pulled off an upset over a very talented Penn Trafford team a week ago. The Tigers enter this contest with 11-10 record, but will have their hands full with the 17-3 Hawks headed their way. I am 100% siding with Bethel here, and predict the victorious score of 7-1.

QzBeexXC.jpg-large

  • The Rams are rolling. Pine Richland knocked out Peters in a 5-1 fashion in round 1, and will now go up against a 15-5 Hempfield squad. Hempfield is a legit competitor who has the capabilities of making a deep, deep, playoff run, but Pine has some absolute STUDS on their squad. We are taking the talent here, and picking the Rams to continue their streak in a 7-5 fashion. Pine will move on to the Semis.

Round 1 Breakdown

1A

Cornell vs West Greene

Location: Peterswood Park, 4:00

Date: 5/16

  • I really like this Raider team. Blackstone heads a strong staff that has paved the way  for a 9-4 record. West Greene has faced their own challenges this year holding a below .500 record heading into this matchup. I am taking Cornell in a 5-2 battle, and the Raiders will move on to face #1 seeded Vincentian.

 

Jeannette vs Leechburg

Location: Fox Chapel, 2:00  

Date: 5/15

  • Jeannette should have no problem here. I think the Jayhawks are one of the most talented teams in 1A, and the defending champs’ 11-3 overall record supports that claim. Leechburg enters the contest at 4-10, and I think Jeannette’s talent will be overwhelming, resulting in a 9-0 victory. The Jayhawks will face off against Quigley in the Elite Eight.

 

Monessen vs Western Beaver

Location: Burkett Park, 2:00  

Date: 5/15

  • One of the WPIAL Baseball Games To Watch for Round 1. Monessen 10-6, Western Beaver 9-7, these two squads will create a very competitive matchup. This game could be described as a coin flip in many senses, but I think Monessen has the upper hand and will be able to skid past Round 1 in a 5-4 victory. They will move on to face Union in Round 2.  

 

Eden Christian vs Rochester

Location: Shaler, 2:00

Date: 5/15

  • The battle of the 7-7’s. Both of these .500 ball clubs have had sporadic seasons on their path to the playoffs. I hate picking against Rochester because they are always a scrappy group of grinders that prove people wrong, but once again I have to pick the latter. I am taking Eden in a 7-5 win, and they will move on to face G.C.C. on the 21st.

 

2A

Fort Cherry vs Laurel

Location: Chippewa Park, 2:00

Date: 5/15

  • Honestly, I like both of these teams, a lot. Fort Cherry has been a bit of a surprise this season, but has constructed a 10-5 record on their way to taking second place in Section 1. Laurel competed in the toughest group 2A has to offer, and scrapped their way to a 11-5 season. Fort Cherry has been able to pull out some very close games and I suspect them to win this one as well by a score of 4-3.

 

Shenango vs Canevin

Location: Chippewa Park, 4:30

Date: 5/15

  • Shenango is my sleeper pick for 2A. They were in the group of death as well and gathered a 12-7 record in the process, while winning 6 of their last 9 contest. Canevin is no slouch, and will 100% make this a competitive ball game, but I think Shenango moves on to play Carmichaels winning their first round matchup 7-4.

 

Carlynton vs California

Location: Burkett Park, 7:00

Date: 5/15

  • This is a tale of two very different teams. California has always been atop the 2A ranks, and had a bit of a disappointing season finishing 9-7. Carlynton surprised many en route to a 12-4 record, and if it was not for the powerhouse that is Serra Catholic, they would have only had a couple of losses on their resume. I think the Trojans are capable of an upset, but taking Carlynton to move on and face CWNC after beating California 5-2.

 

Chartiers Houston vs Brentwood

Location: Burkett Field, 4:30

Date: 5/15

  • Chartiers Houston enters the matchup with a 12-8 record, and should have no problem taking down 10-6 Brentwood. An intriguing second round contest featuring Char. Hou. and Neshannock will occur after a 7-2 victory in Round 1.

 

3A

Steel Valley vs Charleroi

Location: Boyce Mayview, 2:00

Date: 5/15

  • Another WPIAL Baseball Game to Watch for Round 1, both of these teams enter with very successful seasons thus far. Charleroi is an incredible, 11-5, while Steel Valley is just 10-7, but it is very hard to pick against the Ironmen come playoff time. I think this is going to be a 8-6 shootout, but Steel Valley will prevail to take on #1 seeded Riverside.

 

Valley vs Beaver Falls

Location: Shaler, 4:30

Date: 5/15

  • Beaver Falls has had a lot of success this season, but Valley is a talented team that will have no problem punching through the first round. Valley – 8, Beaver Falls – 2.

 

Waynesburg vs Shady Side Academy

Location: Peterswood Park, 6:30

Date: 5/16

  • I like an upset in this one. Give me the Academy of Shady Side over Waynesburg Central by a score of 3-2. Shady Side was high on our list during the preseason and have finally figured out the level they are capable of playing at.

 

Burrell vs Mt Pleasant

Location: Latrobe, 4:30

Date: 5/16

  • I like this Burrell team and think they got jipped a bit by the WPIAL seeding. 9-3 overall, and #1 in Section 1, Burrell had a lot of success against several playoff caliber programs. I think this is a lock pick over Mt. Pleasant by a score of 6-1.

 

4A

Greensburg Salem vs South Park

Location: Gateway, 5/21

Date: 5/15

  • South Park has toyed with our emotions all season long. But now, on a major winning streak, they are one of our most dangerous teams in 4A. I like them pulling the upset over Greensburg Salem by a score of 9-2, and moving on to face the overpowering #1 seed, Blackhawk.

 

Freeport vs New Castle

Location: Seneca Valley, 4:30

Date: 5/15

  • New Castle fans don’t like us at all. All season long all we heard about is how we were sleeping on them, but after some major wins and a final stretch taking 6 of their last 8, we believe in the power of this upset. Freeport is a strong competitor, but we think the Castle will win 7-4 and move on to play Ringgold in round 2.

 

Belle Vernon vs Hopewell

Location: Hempfield, 4:30

Date: 5/15

  • This is THE game to watch in 4A without a doubt. Belle Vernon is a very talented team that is more than capable of making a deep playoff run, however they will go up against the likes of Joe Rock, a southpaw pitcher who is committed to play at Ohio University next season. I think the Vikings will skid past B.V. on their way to matching up against Knoch in the Elite Eight. Score: 4-2.

 

West Mifflin vs Deer Lakes

Location: Gateway, 6:30

Date: 5/15

  • West Mifflin all the way. Ben Visnesky is the truth, and he will get his squad into the Elite Eight without a problem. I think West Mifflin has the talent to go far this season, and am very intrigued by a second round matchup against South Fayette. Give me the Titans by a score of 6-0.

 

5A

Hampton vs Gateway

Location: Fox Chapel, 4:30

Date: 5/15

  • This is one everyone is going to want to see. The popular vote in our recent poll highlighted this as the first round game to watch in the entire WPIAL field. Both of these teams are extremely talented, but we are giving the slight edge to Hampton in this one. Hampton – 5, Gateway – 4, the Talbots move on to play #1 seeded Moon.

 

Mars vs Trinity

Location: Seneca Valley, 2:00

Date: 5/15

  • Will Bednar. That’s all you need to know for now about the Planets. Mars takes down Trinity 7-0 and moves on to the Elite Eight.

 

Laurel Highlands vs Fox Chapel

Location: Hempfield, 2:00

Date: 5/15

  • Laurel Highlands is one of the best teams in 5A, but did not get an easy draw matching up against Fox Chapel. L.H. will still come out on top by a score of 8-4, and will potentially face off against Mars in round 2.

 

Chartiers Valley vs Latrobe

Location: West Mifflin, 4:30

Date: 5/15

  • 9-7 CV takes on the likes of 11-9 Latrobe. This is another coin flip game that could easily go either way, but we like Latrobe to take this one home 6-4. Latrobe will move on to take on #2 seeded West Allegheny.

 

Franklin Regional vs Montour

Location: West Mifflin, 2:00

Date: 5/15

  • Franklin is good. 14-4, they are a very, VERY, dangerous 6 seed. Montour is solid, but will not be able to matchup in this one with F.R. They will win 7-2 and move on to play North Hills in the Elite Eight.

 

6A

Butler vs USC

Location: North Allegheny, 7:00

Date: 5/15

  • North Carolina commit Connor Ollio is a very gifted player that has paved the way for the Golden Tornadoes to shine this season. As a very dangerous 8 seed, I suspect them to take down USC 5-1, and move on to face off against section foe, Central Catholic, in round 2.

 

Canon Mac vs Norwin

Location: Boyce Mayview, 4:30

Date: 5/15

  • Canon Mac is one of our favorite teams in 6A, as you will see by our full bracket predictions. We expect them to make a very deep run, and their 13-5 record showcases their dominance. With that being said, you can never count Norwin out because they are always capable of putting together great streaks during this time of year. I think the Big Macs get the best of the Knights 5-2, and move on for a potential second round matchup vs the winner of Plum/Mt. Lebo.

 

Plum vs Mt. Lebo

Location: North Allegheny, 4:00

Date: 5/15

  • Plum is 15-4 and shown that they can compete with the best of them. We were high on Mt. Lebo early in the year, and on paper, thought they could be a very strong 6A squad. Lebo enters the contest with a record below the .500 mark, and the Mustangs will take full advantage of their disappointments. Plum wins 4-0.

 

Penn Trafford vs North Allegheny

Location: Latrobe

Date: 5/16

  • Colin Cain vs Josh Spiegel, a matchup a lot of us were looking forward to will no longer occur as Cain is suspended for the remainder of the season. His absence is a major blip in this team’s roster, and PT should be able to handle the Tigers in round 1. Penn Trafford – 5, North Allegheny – 3. PT will matchup against Bethel Park in the Elite Eight.

 

Pine Richland vs Peters Township

Location: Boyce Mayview, 7:00

Date: 5/15

  • The final game of our bracket breakdowns feature our potential champion in 6A. We are riding the Ram train all the way through Consol. Our consensus #1 Preseason pick has had their share of ups and downs this season, but winning 6 of their last 7 has once again shown their dominance. They will handle Peters with ease and take on Hempfield in round 2. Score, Pine – 8, Peters – 1.