What to watch for in WPIAL sports on May 16, 2022: Baseball playoffs heat up with 29 clashes

 What to watch for in WPIAL sports on May 16, 2022: Baseball playoffs heat up with 29 clashes


Monday, May 16, 2022 | 11:49 PM

Tuesday is full of postseason spring sports action with something for everyone on the playoff menu.

The busiest day of the 2022 WPIAL baseball playoffs is Tuesday as the district hosts 29 first-round ballgames.

Three of the 29 games include Franklin Regional, Hopewell and Shenango opening up the defense of their 2021 district crowns.

Hopewell is the top seed of 3A and will be heavy favorites when it plays in South Allegheny at the Washington & Jefferson Complex in Washington at 2 p.m.

The Gladiators finished 8-10 this season but are in the playoffs for the second consecutive year after not playing in the postseason the past 14 seasons.

Shenango is No. 3 seeds in Class 2A and finished the regular season white heat.

The Wildcats have a 5-4 record after an April 23 loss but have since won nine consecutive games.

Their opponent at Chippewa Park is Fort Cherry.

The Rangers are 8-5 but have lost their last two games of the regular season.

The toughest task of the three belonged to last spring’s Class 5A champions, Franklin Regional.

Despite finishing tied for second place with Penn-Trafford, a game behind Latrobe in Section 1-5A, the Panthers are No. 10 seeds and drew in South Fayette on Tuesday night at Burkett Field at 7 p.m.

The Lions also finished tied for second place, with Shaler in Section 3, a game behind West Allegheny.

All opening round games in Class 5A, 3A, 2A and A will be played on Tuesday.

Strange softball openers

It may not be as busy as baseball, but the district softball playoff has 17 first -round playoff games scheduled for Tuesday, with all clashes in the opening round in Class 5A, 3A and A.

One of the games in Round 1 of 5A has two programs that know what it looks like to hide gold.

The No. 5 West Allegheny faces No. 12 Latrobe in North Allegheny at 6 p.m.

The Indians have won three consecutive 5A softball championships from 2017-2019. The Wildcats won their first Class AAAA title 15 years ago in 2007. Latrobe added two crowns in 2008 and 2011.

The Mt. Pleasant won the district 3A championship last year as No. 1 seed. This year, the Vikings are in the same quadrant but at No. 8 seeds. To face top-seed Avonworth, the Vikings must first defeat North Catholic on Tuesday.

In the first round of Class A in 2021, Bishop Canevin defeated Jefferson-Morgan in an 8-9 game to earn a spot in the quarterfinals against West Greene.

On Tuesday, the Crusaders were back in an 8-9 game, this time against Mapletown. If BC wins, it will once again face five -time defending district champion West Greene in the quarterfinals.

2A boys and 3A girls lax playoffs

The district lacrosse playoffs will continue Tuesday for Class 3A girls and Class 2A boys.

There were four first-round games in the 3A girls playoffs while the top-four seeds got opening-round byes and awaited the winners in the quarterfinals.

Of the eight teams that participated in Round 1 on Tuesday, seven played in opening-round matches last year.

Bethel Park, Canon-McMillan, Fox Chapel, Latrobe, Moon, North Allegheny and Peters Township are trying to secure quarterfinals spots for the second consecutive year.

The only difference is Seneca Valley replacing Pine-Richland after the Rams got a bye this spring.

Bethel Park, Peters Township, Pine-Richland and North Allegheny won the first round of 2021 with two of the four openers going into overtime.

Of the 2A boys, three teams that played in the opening round last year all received a bye this season. The Quaker Valley, Indians and Hampton are all waiting for opening-round winners in the quarterfinals.

Defending champion Mars was the leading seed and also received a bye.

Shaler of Trinity, Sewickley Academy of South Fayette, North Hills of Franklin Regional and Greensburg Central Catholic of the Moon are the four first-round games Tuesday.

Opening night for volleyball

The curtain will go up in the 2022 WPIAL boys volleyball playoffs Tuesday with 11 first-round games.

In Class 3A, the big question is whether any of the six first-round games will be competition on opening night.

Last spring, there were seven opening-round bouts and only one over three games.

There will be a rematch as Hempfield faces Bethel Park in the opening round for the second consecutive year. The Spartans advanced last season with a 3-0 win.

While there were three first-round byes in Class 2A, defending champion Seton LaSalle didn’t get one of them.

The Rebels will take action Tuesday as they face Mars at the Gateway at 6 p.m.

Perennial power Ambridge is also in action as it takes place at Deer Lakes in Shaler at 6 p.m.

The Bridgers won nine district 2A titles in the 12 years from 2008-2019.

The Lancers won gold in boys volleyball in 2011.

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