Playoff races enter the home stretch
With the baseball and softball regular seasons coming down to a very wet wire, several area teams are in the thick of playoff races while a handful have already punched their WPIAL tickets.
The inclement weather has wreaked havoc with games scheduled this week, but here is how the area post-season races are shaping up:
In Section 4, Belle Vernon Area (9-4, 5-4) is one game behind third place South Park (8-6, 6-3) for the final playoff spot in the section, with Elizabeth Forward (7-7, 3-5) not totally out of the picture.
BVA has remaining section games against second-place Thomas Jefferson, Carrick and EF, while South Park has games against first place West Mifflin, EF and Ringgold.
If the Leps can pick up a game on South Park and finish tied for third, both would qualify for the playoffs.
In Section 2, Charleroi (7-7, 6-5) is in forth place, two games behind third place Chartiers-Houston (9-3, 7-3).
The Cougars have three games remaining against Burgettstown, Chartiers-Houston and Brownsville.
The Cougars need to win and will need some help to get in.
In Section 1, California (14-0, 8-0) has already clinched a playoff berth and with games remaining against second place Carmichaels and Jefferson-Morgan, and would clinch the section crown with a win over the Mikes (8-1, 5-1).
In Section 2, Monessen (5-6, 4-3) is in third place and Frazier (4-8, 3-4) is in fourth.
The Greyhounds, who made the playoffs a year ago for the first time in 26 seasons, have games remaining against Geibel (0-9, 0-6), first place Serra (10-3, 7-0) and Clairton (1-6, 1-5) and will clinch a playoff berth by winning two of those games, regardless of what the Commodores do.
Frazier has games remaining against Clairton, second place Bishop Canevin (7-3, 5-2) and Geibel. The Commodores need to catch Monessen or Canevin in hopes of reaching the playoffs.
Canevin has games with Geibel, Frazier and Serra.
SOFTBALL Class AAA
In Section 3, EF (9-5, 6-3) is tied for second place with Southmoreland (8-4, 6-3).
TJ (9-4, 5-4) is a game back and Yough (6-5, 5-5) is two games back.
EF has games remaining against TJ, Southmoreland and Belle Vernon Area (5-9, 3-7).
TJ has to play South Park (2-10, 1-9), EF and first-place West Mifflin (12-2, 7-2).
Yough has games against West Mifflin and Southmoreland.
In Section 2, Bentworth (9-8, 6-4) is in fourth place, one game behind third-place Chartiers-Houston (8-5, 6-3) and the Lady Bearcats are two games in the loss column behind McGuffey (12-2, 8-2) and Waynesburg (8-8, 7-2).
In Section 4, Charleroi (9-3, 7-1) is in first place and has already clinched a playoff berth.
The Lady Cougars have games remaining against South Allegheny (7-3, 5-3) and Greensburg Central Catholic (1-6, 1-6). They can clinch at least a share of the section title with one win and will wrap up the crown outright with two wins or a loss by second- place Steel valley (7-3, 6-2).
In Section 2, Frazier (8-4, 8-3) is in third place, 1 1⁄2 games ahead of Serra (7-4, 6-4) and one game behind section co-leaders Jefferson-Morgan (12-2, 9-2) and Carmichaels (11-3, 9-2).
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.