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High School

“Mr. High School Sports” Makes His WPIAL Softball Playoff Picks

Lilly Field

A look inside Lilly Field at California University of Pennsylvania, where eight teams will ultimately square off for the 2011 WPIAL Softball Championships. (Photo credit: Student Association Inc./California University of Pennsylvania)

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By Matt Popchock

CLASS AAAA:

FIRST ROUND:

(9) Penn-Trafford over (8) Canon-McMillan

(4) Franklin Regional over (13) Mount Lebanon

(5) Latrobe over (12) Fox Chapel

(7) Plum over (10) Seneca Valley

(11) Peters Township over (6) North Allegheny

QUARTERFINALS:

(1) Shaler over (9) Penn-Trafford

(5) Latrobe over (4) Franklin Regional

(2) Hempfield over (7) Plum

(3) Baldwin over (11) Peters Township

SEMIFINALS:

(1) Shaler over (5) Latrobe

(2) Hempfield over (3) Baldwin

CHAMPIONSHIP:

(2) Hempfield over (1) Shaler

MR. HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SAYS: It is with great reluctance that I picked the Spartans to win it all. They and Shaler are a cut above the rest in Quad-A, and the Titans have the hitting to be a champion. Plus, they’ve lost the title game three years straight, and the law of averages says they’re due. But Hempfield’s pitching gives them an edge, and a rare two-pitcher system could make Hempfield’s section rival, Latrobe, a sleeper team.

CLASS AAA:

FIRST ROUND:

(9) Hampton over (8) Ellwood City

(4) Yough over (13) New Castle

(5) Belle Vernon over (12) Highlands

(2) Ambridge over (15) Indiana

(7) Chartiers Valley over (10) South Park

(3) Valley over (14) Thomas Jefferson

(6) Greensburg-Salem over (11) West Allegheny

QUARTERFINALS:

(1) Montour over (9) Hampton

(4) Yough over (5) Belle Vernon

(2) Ambridge over (7) Chartiers Valley

(3) Valley over (6) Greensburg-Salem

SEMIFINALS:

(4) Yough over (1) Montour

(3) Valley over (2) Ambridge

CHAMPIONSHIP:

(3) Valley over (4) Yough

MR. HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SAYS: Montour is loaded this year, and Ambridge is pretty deep as well, making them popular picks, but I’m going with the teams that have the two best pitchers in the classification, because that’s what tends to get teams through the playoffs. Seeing if Valley’s Caitlin Nealer can lead the Vikings to back-to-back titles versus Yough’s Nicole Sleith would be fun to watch.

CLASS AA:

FIRST ROUND:

(8) Bishop Canevin over (9) Waynesburg

(4) Bentworth over (13) South Allegheny

(5) New Brighton over (12) Avonworth

(2) Mount Pleasant over (15) Freeport

(10) Neshannock over (7) Deer Lakes

(3) Seton-LaSalle over (14) Burgettstown

(11) Riverside over (6) Greensburg Central Catholic

QUARTERFINALS:

(1) Burrell over (8) Bishop Canevin

(5) New Brighton over (4) Bentworth

(10) Neshannock over (2) Mount Pleasant

(3) Seton-LaSalle over (11) Riverside

SEMIFINALS:

(1) Burrell over (5) New Brighton

(3) Seton-LaSalle over (10) Neshannock

CHAMPIONSHIP:

(1) Burrell over (3) Seton-LaSalle

MR. HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SAYS: Both the Buccaneers and Rebels, who meet at Cal U in my Class AA title forecast, have a relentless offensive attack that has carried them to the top of their respective sections. If Burrell gets the pitching it’s been getting all year, which is what brought them just shy of WPIAL gold last season, the Bucs can neutralize LaSalle’s red-hot bats.

CLASS A:

FIRST ROUND:

(1) Chartiers-Houston over (16) Western Beaver

(8) North Catholic over (9) Elderton

(4) Leechburg over (13) Frazier

(5) South Side Beaver over (12) Jefferson-Morgan

(2) Sto-Rox over (15) Fort Cherry

(10) Riverview over (7) West Greene

(14) Vincentian Academy over (3) Carmichaels

(11) Mount Alvernia over (6) Shenango

QUARTERFINALS:

(1) Chartiers-Houston over (8) North Catholic

(4) Leechburg over (5) South Side Beaver

(2) Sto-Rox over (10) Riverview

(14) Vincentian Academy over (11) Mount Alvernia

SEMIFINALS:

(1) Chartiers-Houston over (4) Leechburg

(2) Sto-Rox over (14) Vincentian Academy

CHAMPIONSHIP:

(1) Chartiers-Houston over (2) Sto-Rox

MR. HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS SAYS: There are a couple sentimental favorites in this year’s bracket, particularly Mount Alvernia; the WPIAL Softball Playoffs will be the last athletic event before that school shuts its doors for good. Vincentian is the three-time champ and is just starting to play well. But the Buccaneers and Vikings have been the two clear-cut favorites in Class A all year, and despite Sto-Rox’s amazing offense, Chartiers-Houston is a little more complete as a team.

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For continuing coverage of the WPIAL Softball Playoffs, be sure to check back with Mr. High School Sports later this week!

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