PIAA baseball/softball playoff preview
By Keith Barnes
Published: Monday, June 1, 2009,
2008 champion : Canon-McMillan
Teams to watch : Pine-Richland (19-3), North Allegheny (21-2), West Chester East (21-3), Parkland (16-6)
Today's first-round games to watch : Allderdice vs. Pine-Richland, 6 p.m. at Washington & Jefferson; North Allegheny vs. Hollidaysburg, 4 p.m. at Pullman Park, Butler; West Chester East vs. Warwick, 2 p.m. at Spring-Ford High School
Notable : Only three teams — Allderdice, Warwick and North Penn — are back from last season. ... Allderdice has made three appearances in the state playoffs in the past four years, but no City League team has won a Class AAAA game. ... North Allegheny and Pine-Richland could battle for the fourth time this season in the semifinals. WPIAL teams have won each of the past two titles, as Seneca Valley won in 2007.
Players to watch : Neal Herring, Sr., P, West Chester East; Ryan Oglesby, Jr., P, North Allegheny; Vinny Nittolli, Sr., P, Pine-Richland
Sleeper : Central Dauphin
Prediction : Pine-Richland over West Chester East
Championship game : 7 p.m. June 12, Blair County Ballpark, Altoona
2008 champion : Berwick
Teams to watch : Moon (18-4), Chartiers Valley (13-7), Bellefonte (16-6), Upper Merion (14-7), Selinsgrove (15-3)
Today's first-round games to watch : Trinity vs. Grove City, 6 p.m. at Slippery Rock; Punxsutawney vs. Chartiers Valley, 4:30 p.m. at Brockway; Perry vs. Moon, 3 p.m. at Washington & Jefferson
Notable : Pine-Richland was the last WPIAL team to win the Class AAA title (2006). ... Chartiers Valley and Moon pulled off upsets to get this far and may need a couple of more to get into the finals. ... Moon had never won a WPIAL title prior to this season but is the last team to win back-to-back state titles (2001 and '02). ... Bellefonte has to be considered a contender because of how well District 6 usually plays in the state tournament
Players to watch : Dan Colavencenzo, P, Chartiers Valley; Paul Eyster, Sr., P, Selinsgrove; Matt Fisher, Sr., INF, Bellefontel; Brad Schnelle, Jr., P/INF, Moon
Sleeper : Punxsutawney
Prediction : Bellefonte over Selinsgrove
Championship gam e: 1 p.m. June 12, Blair County Ballpark, Altoona
2008 champion : Loyalsock
Teams to watch : Loyalsock (20-3), Shady Side Academy (22-1), New Hope Solebury (13-5), North Catholic (17-6)
Today's first-round games to watch : South Fayette vs. Bald Eagle Area, 3 p.m. at Veterans' Field in Altoona; North Catholic vs. Franklin Area, 1 p.m. at Slippery Rock; Shady Side Academy vs. Mt. Union, 1 p.m. at Burkett Complex in Robinson.
Notable : Loyalsock became the first team to win the baseball and softball titles in 2008, but this year will be a bigger challenge. ... Shady Side Academy has never won a state baseball championship but has only one loss to Class AAA West Allegheny this season. ... Riverside was the last WPIAL team to win the Class AA title (2006). ... A team from District 4 has played for the title in two of the past three seasons. ... North Catholic has won four WPIAL titles but no state titles.
Players to watch : Billy Nickel, Sr., OF, Shady Side Academy; Stephen Stopper, Jr., OF, Loyalsock; Christian Wolosik, Jr., P, North Catholic
Sleeper : Brandywine Heights
Prediction : Loyalsock over Shady Side Academy
Championship game : 4:30 p.m. June 12, Blair County Ballpark, Altoona
2008 champion : Camp Hill
Teams to watch : Serra Catholic (20-2), Carmichaels (18-3), Camp Hill (19-3), Christopher Dock (17-2)
Today's first-round games to watch : Carmichaels vs. Bishop McCort, 4 p.m. at White Township Park; Coudersport vs. Neshannock, 4:30 p.m. at Berwyn Park in St. Marys; Serra Catholic vs. Homer-Center, 4 p.m. at Mt. Pleasant
Notable : Serra Catholic and Carmichaels have built a solid rivalry over the past few years, but the two teams can't meet again in the state playoffs until the semifinals, where they battled last year in a Mikes victory. ... Camp Hill outscored its opponents, 37-3, in the District 3 playoffs and never trailed in any of the three games. ... Serra Catholic has never won a state baseball title.
Players to watch : Matt Spiegel, Sr. P, Camp Hill; Joby Lapkowicz, Sr., P, Carmichaels; Ben Bechtol, Sr., C, Neshannock; Oliver Girman, Jr., P, Serra Catholic; Ryan Seiz, Jr. C, Christopher Dock
Sleeper : Neshannock
Prediction : Camp Hill over Serra Catholic
Championship game : 10:30 a.m. June 12, Blair County Ballpark, Altoona
2008 champion : Hatboro-Horsham
Teams to watch : Hempfield (15-4), Shaler (13-5), Spring-Ford (21-2), Central Bucks South (21-2), Pennsbury (18-4)
Today's first-round games to watch : St. Hubert's vs. Pennsbury, 3 p.m. at La Salle University; DuBois vs. Hempfield, 4 p.m. at North Allegheny; Shaler vs. Brashear, 3 p.m. at McGibboney Field No. 1
Notable : No City League team has won a PIAA Class AAAA playoff game. ... This will be the third time Shaler and Brashear have played since the classification was added in 2005. ... Shaler (2006) is the only WPIAL team to win the state title. ... A District 1 team has played in the state title game each of the past four years and won three times. ... Hempfield last won a state championship in Class AAA in 1999.
Players to watch : Alyssa Bates, Fr., SS, Hempfield; Gina Goss, CF, Shaler; Mandi Rush, Sr., P, Spring Ford; Jess Epler, So., P, Governor Mifflin
Sleeper : Shaler
Prediction : Pennsbury over Hempfield
Championship game : Noon June 12, Robb Field, Shippensburg University
2008 champion : Susquehannock
Teams to watch : Franklin Regional (20-0), Milton (21-1), Greencastle-Antrim (21-3), Twin Valley (14-6), Nazareth Academy (21-1).
Today's first-round games to watch : Perry vs. Trinity, 3 p.m. at McGibboney Field No. 2; Franklin Regional vs. Punxsutawney, 4 p.m. at Fairhaven Park; West Allegheny vs. Corry, 5 p.m. at Penn State-Behrend
Notable : Two-time defending state champion Susquehannock was knocked out in the second round of the District 3 playoffs by ninth-seeded Twin Valley. ... No WPIAL team has won the Class AAA state championship since Ambridge (2005). ... Franklin Regional was the only baseball or softball team to finish the WPIAL playoffs with an undefeated record. ... District 4 champion Milton is the only 2008 semifinalist to return this year.
Players to watch : Ally Vrcek, Jr., P, Franklin Regional; Nicole Smith, Sr., P, Milton; Rachel Kline, Fr., P, Greencastle-Antrim; Kelly Daniels, Jr., 2B, West Allegheny.
Sleeper : Franklin Regional
Prediction : Greencastle-Antrim over Milton
Championship game : 4 p.m. June 12, Robb Field, Shippensburg University
2008 champion : Loyalsock
Teams to watch : Riverside (18-1), Sto-Rox (18-5), Brandywine Heights (24-0), Central Columbia (21-2), Bald Eagle (20-3).
Today's first-round games to watch : Riverside vs. Karns City, 2 p.m. at Fairhaven Park; Greensburg Central Catholic vs. Northwestern, 3 p.m. at Penn State-Behrend; Bishop Canevin vs. Bald Eagle, 6 p.m. at Legion Park in Hollidaysburg; Sto-Rox vs. Chestnut Ridge, 4:30 p.m. at Bedford High School
Notable : Bald Eagle has lost to the eventual state champion each of the past two seasons, including last year in the state title game. ... Riverside was upset in the first round of the state playoffs last season, when it dropped a 2-1 decision to Iroquois. ... No WPIAL team has won the Class AA state championship since Bishop Canevin (1999).
Players to watch : Leah Prisuta, Sr., SS, Riverside; Kristin Olejar, Sr. P, Sto-Rox; Megan Shaw, Sr., P, Bald Eagle; Alyssa Fegely, Sr., P, Brandywine Heights
Sleeper : Riverside
Prediction : Brandywine Heights over Bald Eagle
Championship game : 10 a.m. June 12, Robb Field, Shippensburg University
2008 champion : Vincentian
Teams to watch : Vincentian (20-2), Old Forge (15-3), Northern Cambria (19-4), Muncy (19-2), Leechburg (16-4)
Today's first-round games to watch: Leechburg vs. Curwensville, 4:30 p.m. at Brockway; Union City vs. Avonworth, 1 p.m. at Penn State-Behrend; Vincentian vs. Cochranton, 2 p.m. at North Allegheny.
Notable : Old Forge, the District 2 champion, has won 14 consecutive games and brings back a solid group from last year's semifinalists. ... Though Vincentian is the defending champion, it will try to win back-to-back titles with two different pitchers. ... Northern Cambria upset top-seeded Bishop Gulfyle in the District 6 semifinals but lost to Claysburg-Kimmell in the title game. ... Vincentian's only losses this season were to Riverside and Shaler.
Players to watch : Nina Melvin, Jr., P, Vincentian; Jess Armillay, Jr., P, Old Forge; Cass Kollar, Sr., P, Northern Cambria; Trisha Klingensmith, Sr, P, Leechburg
Sleeper : Claysburg-Kimmell
Prediction : Old Forge over Vincentian
Championship game : 2 p.m. June 12, Robb Field, Shippensburg University
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