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 – 4/7

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.