Friday, April 25, 2014

A look at the WPIAL baseball playoff picture


California senior Jake Columbus
With the WPIAL baseball season winding down and the postseason around the corner, here is a look at the standings and where local teams stand in the hunt for the playoffs.

WPIAL Class AAAA Section 5

Team
Conf. Record
Conf. %
Overall Record
Overall
Canon-Mac
5-2
0.714
11-3
0.7786
Peters Twp.
5-2
0.714
9-4
0.692
Mt. Lebanon
5-2
0.714
8-9
0.471
Upper St. Clair
3-4
0.429
8-6
0.571
Bethel Park
3-4
0.429
6-7
0.462
Brashear
0-7
0.000
2-8
0.200

Canon-McMillan and Peters Township are in a three-way tie for first place with Mt. Lebanon. The Indians hold the tie-breaker with the Big Macs after defeating their rival the first time around, but the two meet again next Friday. Whichever team wins will have a sizable advantage in the standings and look for it to be just as exciting as the first meeting that went nine innings.

It seems that the top-three teams are set with Canon-McMillan’s win over Upper St. Clair Thursday, but there is still no room for error. The Big Macs face Mt. Lebanon Monday and Bethel Park Tuesday with both opponents having their eye on an upset that could shake up the standings.

Peters Township also has three section games remaining – all of which are being played next week – before three-straight non-section matchups to finish the season. The key for the Indians will be to find a starting pitcher that can lead them deep into the playoffs. With the team’s strong defense, it’s not far-fetched to think a lengthy playoff run is looming.
WPIAL Class AAA Section 3
Team
Conf. Record
Conf. %
Overall Record
Overall %
Chartiers Valley
7-0
1.000
11-3
0.786
South Fayette
5-2
0.714
8-5
0.615
Waynesburg
4-3
0.571
6-6
0.500
Keystone Oaks
3-3
0.500
5-5
0.500
Trinity
1-6
0.143
4-9
0.308
McGuffey
0-6
0.000
0-9
0.000
South Fayette earned a critical 2-1 win over Trinity Thursday that could have allowed the Hillers back into the playoff race. The Lions’ have not put up any major offensive numbers, but have grinded out five section wins. Justin Foreman struck out 12 batters last night and gives South Fayette a steady presence on the mound.
The Lions have received great pitching besides their back-to-back losses to Chartiers Valley and Keystone Oaks earlier this month. Next week could seal their playoff fate with games against Waynesburg (Monday), Keystone Oaks (Wednesday) and Chartiers Valley (Friday.
Waynesburg has been steady this season with outfielder Hunter Robinson setting the tone for the Raiders’ offense. Raiders head coach Kevin Pincavich, who used to be the pitching coach for the Washington Wild Things, has gotten the most out of his pitching and has helped engineer a big turnaround after a 2-12 overall record in 2013.
The Hillers are in trouble. Trinity has been more than capable of winning the majority of its section games, but faulty defense and an inconsistent offense have the Hillers on the outside looking in. Despite having three section games remaining, it will be tough for Trinity to dig out of the hole
WPIAL Class AA Section 2
Team
Conf. Record
Conf. %
Overall Record
Overall %
Chartiers-Houston
7-1
0.875
9-1
0.900
Brownsville
8-2
0.800
10-4
0.714
Washington
8-2
0.800
10-4
0.714
Charleroi
6-4
0.600
7-6
0.538
Burgettstown
3-7
0.300
4-8
0.333
Beth-Center
2-7
0.222
3-10
0.231
Fort Cherry
2-7
0.222
2-8
0.200
Bentworth
2-8
0.200
7-9
0.438
Chartiers-Houston continued to assert itself as one of the best in Class AA with a 7-4 win over Beth-Center Thursday. Tyler Day and Miles Williamson went deep for the Bucs, who did not have to start Alec Ferrari to earn the win.
With Ferrari on the mound, an offense hitting its stride and a strong defense across the diamond, Chartiers-Houston only has two major challenges remaining on its schedule – a rematch with Washington on Monday and a game against Charleroi Friday.
The Prexies’ offense is starting to show why Wash High was chosen by many as the favorite to win the section. With three capable pitchers and only one game out of first place, it will be interesting to see how they respond to a matchup with the Bucs.
Brownsville has not quite lived up to expectations this season, but that does not mean they lack talent. Shane Roebuck is a great catcher and Cole Novotney is one of the better starting pitchers in Class AA.
One team to keep an eye on in the last stretch of the season is Charleroi. The Cougars have won three of their last four with 11 freshmen on the roster and with four games remaining, including matchups with the top-three teams in the section, don’t count Charleroi out as a potential playoff team. Remember that a tie for third place can lift them into the post season.
 
WPIAL Class A Section 1
Team
Conf. Record
Conf. %
Overall Record
Overall %
California
7-0
1.000
13-0
1.000
Carmichaels
5-1
0.833
8-1
0.889
Avella
4-2
0.667
5-2
0.714
Jefferson-Morgan
3-4
0.429
3-8
0.273
West Greene
1-6
0.143
4-7
0.364
Mapletown
0-7
0.000
2-9
0.182
California baseball’s first year under Nick Damico has been a complete success. Damico, who worked as the pitching coach under former head coach Don Hartman, has turned Josh Luko into one of the best pitchers in Class A and his offense has averaged over 11 runs per game in an undefeated start to the season.
With a win over Carmichaels on Monday, the Trojans will clinch the section title and most likely, a top seed in the WPIAL playoffs. When you watch California’s team, they look more like a Class AAAA squad with size and a tremendous defense.
The Mikes have also been incredibly consistent in 2014 and senior pitcher Brandon Lawless has been dominant. Lawless was ineligible to pitch against the Trojans in Carmichaels’ 14-0 loss earlier this season, but will be back on the mound in the rematch. Look for a closer game this time around.
How about Avella? The Eagles control their own destiny and as long as they defeat the teams lower than them in the standings, Avella will be in the WPIAL playoffs.
WPIAL Class A Section 2
Team
Conf. Record
Conf. %
Overall Record
Overall %
Serra Catholic
7-0
1.000
10-3
0.769
Bishop Canevin
4-2
0.667
6-3
0.667
Monessen
4-3
0.571
5-6
0.455
Frazier
3-4
0.429
4-8
0.333
Clairton
1-5
0.167
1-6
0.143
Geibel
0-5
0.000
0-8
0.000
After winning three of its last four games, Monessen is back in the WPIAL playoff picture and with a season-sweep of Frazier, is in the driver’s seat. The Greyhounds face Serra Catholic, Geibel and Clairton next week. Even if they lose to first-place Serra, victories over Geibel and Clairton will have Monessen in the Class A WPIAL playoffs.
 
 
 
 
 

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