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.