Legion teams prep for playoffs after condensed regular season
Weather issues and other scheduling variables over the past month-and-a-half altered the original District 31 American Legion game plan, and that made for a compacted stretch run to the playoffs.
Teams playing two games in one day on the weekend was commonplace.
Kiski Valley and Young Township concluded the regular season with a single game Sunday, and both are preparing for the best-of-three playoff quarterfinals Monday evening.
“We’ve been inconsistent for most of the year,” Kiski Valley coach Den Montgomery said. “Our pitching has been good for most of the season, but we just haven’t been offensive enough.”
Kiski Valley did produce offensively Sunday, but it was not able to overcome Young Township in a 12-9 loss that capped its regular season at 7-11.
Kiski Valley, involved in a number of close games over the final half of the regular season, heads into the playoffs with wins in just two of its final 11 games after a 5-2 start. It scored 87 runs through 18 games and surrendered 103.
Entering the weekend, teams still were jockeying for positioning in the playoffs. Hempfield East (15-2-1) and Bushy Run (13-4) were locked into the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds before Sunday’s games. Murrysville (6-12), back in the league after a one-year hiatus, was cemented into the No. 8 spot.
Young Township, which features seven players from Apollo-Ridge, edged Yough, 6-5, in the first game of a scheduled doubleheader Saturday, but the second game was rained out and will not be played before the playoffs.
On Sunday, Young Township suffered an 11-8 loss to Unity before its win over Kiski Valley to finish the regular season 8-9. Unity’s win clinched the No. 3 seed with a 12-6 record.
Young Township played seven games over the past nine days.
Latrobe (10-7-1) is the No. 4 seed, followed by Yough (9-8), Young Township (8-9) and Kiski Valley (7-11).
The quarterfinals will continue Tuesday and, if necessary, conclude Wednesday.
The Allegheny South regular season is scheduled to conclude Tuesday, and the single-elimination playoffs involving all nine teams could begin as early as Wednesday.
A play-in game between the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds will determine the final quarterfinal team.
The two playoff finalists will advance to the Region 6 tournament set to start July 19 against teams from Fayette and Beaver counties.
The surviving team from the Region 6 playoffs advances to states.
Plum is 9-2 and in second place in the Allegheny South standings heading into its final regular-season game against Monroeville at 6p.m. Monday at Gateway High School.
“We’ve hit pretty well, even with the transition to the wooden bats from the metal ones used in high school,” Plum coach Greg Foster said.
Logan Foster leads Plum with a .485 average, and Denny Ayres (.481) and Logan Schlegel (.424) also have fared well.
Coach Foster said he hopes an effective pitching staff led by Schlegel, Jared Hoener, Brody Simmons and Devin Ranegar can continue to shine in the playoffs.
Each Allegheny South team hopes to complete as many games as possible heading into the playoffs. To be eligible for regionals, a team in the league must complete 12 games, including the league playoffs.
Monroeville came into the weekend 11-1, with its only setback coming to Bethel Park.
Highlands, 2-7 in league play, will conclude its regular season Tuesday with a home doubleheader against Bethel Park. The team, made up entirely of players who were underclassmen this past school year, picked up its two league wins early in the season with a doubleheader sweep of Elizabeth Forward.
“This group of kids just wanted to play ball, learn and have fun right from the start,” said Highlands coach Jeff Campbell, who guided his team through seven games from Thursday to Sunday at the Beast of the East Tournament in West Virginia.
“We want to go into (the playoffs), play our best game and see what happens.”
The original Allegheny South schedule called for each team to play 16 games — two games against the other eight teams — but weather and other issues prevented that. A point system — three for a win, two for a tie and one for a loss — will be used to seed the teams for the playoffs.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-856-7400 x8632, [email protected] or via Twitter .