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 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.