“Mr. High School Sports” – WPIAL Baseball Championship Matchups Almost Set
By Matt Popchock
Because of rain in the area, Seneca Valley, which led Pittsburgh Central Catholic 2-0 in the bottom of the third Monday night, was forced to resume its WPIAL Class AAAA Semifinal game against the Vikings at Upper St. Clair High School Tuesday at 4:00 P.M.
We’ll let you know later which of those teams will face Mount Lebanon in the Quad-A final next week, as the Blue Devils edged North Allegheny 3-2 in the other semifinal last night.
Meanwhile, the other WPIAL Baseball Finals have been set. Here’s who you’ll see at CONSOL Energy Park in Washington next week:
In Class AAA, the pitchers’ duel we expected between Thomas Jefferson and Blackhawk lived up to, and maybe even surpassed, expectations. Pitt recruit Greg Schneider matched Brendan McKay’s nine innings of work, but it was McKay’s top-seeded Cougars who scratched out a 1-0 win in extras at North Allegheny High School, despite 15 strikeouts apiece from both starters. They’ll take on Belle Vernon, which held off Hopewell, 9-8, at Washington & Jefferson College.
In Class AA, style points didn’t matter for Ellwood City, which out-slugged South Fayette 14-11 at North Allegheny Monday. The Wolverines, who also earned a No. 1 seed this year, will play defending WPIAL champion Riverside for their first district title since 2003. The Panthers got more clutch pitching, this time from Rob Hardy, in a 2-1 decision over Shady Side Academy at the Burkett Complex in Robinson Township.
In Class A, the table is set for a WPIAL championship affair that should be as fun to watch as any of the four. Top seed Neshannock will get a chance to go back-to-back against California, which may be the only team capable of ending the Lancers’ 18-game win streak. Neshannock pounded Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, 6-1, at Chippewa Park, thanks to three RBI from district batting champion John Sansone. The Trojans pitched their way into the final round, though they needed nine innings to slip past Bentworth, 2-1, at Washington & Jefferson College Monday evening.
Once again, check back later for more on the Seneca Valley-Central Catholic contest, and an update on the WPIAL Softball Semifinals as well.
(Follow me on Twitter @mpopchock.)