Baseball & Softball Preview: 3/22/23
MARCH 22, 2023
Moon (0-0) at Butler (1-0) – 3:30 pm
Moon went 4-15 a season ago. They finished in last place in Section 3-5A. Jacob Despot (P/INF) and Coleman Fletcher (P/INF) are players to watch for Moon.
Butler went 15-6 last season, finishing tied for fourth place in Section 1-6A. Butler defeated Pine-Richland, 5-0 in the WPIAL Quarterfinals before falling to Upper St. Clair 8-2, in the WPIAL Semifinals. Butler opened the season with a 10-0 win over Knoch. Liam McElroy and Conner McTighe each doubled and drove in three runs. Lance Slater tripled in a run and Colin Casteel got the win.
Penn-Trafford (1-0) at Steel Valley (0-0) – 3:45 pm
Penn-Trafford went 14-7 a year ago. They finished tied for second place in Section 1-5A. Penn-Trafford beat Hampton, 4-3 in the WPIAL First Round before losing to Peters Township, 6-5, in the WPIAL Quarterfinals. Penn-Trafford took down Hempfield 8-3 yesterday. Jacob Haynes had three doubles and three RBIs while Tyler Freas went 3-for-4.
Steel Valley went 3-12 last season. They came in last place in Section 2-3A. Steel Valley is coming into the season on a 10-game losing streak. Michael Twigg (OF) in a player to watch for Steel Valley.
Highlands (0-1) at Mars (1-0) – 3:45 pm
Highlands went 13-7 a season ago. They finished tied for second place in Section 1-4A. Highlands was bounced by Quaker Valley in the WPIAL First Round, 7-1. Highlands fell to Beaver, 5-1 yesterday. Carson Goldberg had the lone RBI.
Mars went 14-6 last year. They were the champions of Section 2-5A. They were upset in the WPIAL First Round by Chartiers Valley, 8-6. Mars defeated Alcoa (TN) 8-6 on March 17. Nolan Scott, Zack Orosz and Benji Astbury all hit triples and Owen Smith doubled. Astbury had two RBIs. Jacob Maple picked up the win.
Pine-Richland (2-0) at Plum (0-0) – 4 pm
Pine-Richland went 11-10 in 2022. They were co-champions in Section 1-6A with North Allegheny. Pine-Richland fell to Butler, 5-0 in the WPIAL First Round last season. They have beaten Hempfield (10-1) and Norwin (6-0) so far this season. Anthony Mangine and Owen Henne are the top returners in the lineup for Pine-Richland while Jacob McGwire and Tristan Farrar will lead the pitching staff.
Plum went 12-7 last season. They finished in third place in Section 2-5A. Plum was ousted by Shaler, 4-2, in the WPIAL First Round. Brady Dojonovic (OF) is a player to watch for Plum.
Bethel Park (0-0) at Canon-McMillan (0-0) – 4 pm
Bethel Park has won the last two state championships. They have no WPIAL championship and one section title in that time span. Bethel Park went 21-4 a season ago. They came in second place in Section 4-5A. They defeated Gateway (6-5) and South Fayette (3-2) before falling to West Allegheny (3-0) in the WPIAL Semifinals. They bounced back in the WPIAL Third-Place Game against Thomas Jefferson (6-0) to clinch a spot in the state playoffs. From there they would beat Central Mountain (4-3), West Allegheny (7-0), Donegal (8-5) and Selinsgrove (5-0) to capture their second straight state title. Bethel Park returns six starters from last year’s team. Evan Holewinski is expected to be the team’s ace. John Chalus, Ray Altmeyer, Nathan Vargo, Ryan Walsh and Ryan Petras are expected to lead the way.
Canon-McMillan went 5-11 last season. They finished in fifth place in Section 2-6A. Andrew Kocun (DH) is a player to watch for Canon-McMillan.
Hampton (1-0) at Gateway (0-0) – 4 pm
Hampton went 10-10 a year ago. They finished in second place in Section 2-5A. Hampton was bounced by Penn-Trafford, 4-3, in the WPIAL First Round. Ryan Apaliski (P) is a player to watch for Hampton. Hampton is in 4A this season after spending the last two years in 5A. Hampton defeated Fox Chapel, 7-0, yesterday. Apaliski had a great outing going five innings allowing no runs on one hit and struck out nine guys. Zach Carr, Anthony Bucci and Eric Weeks all had doubles for Hampton.
Gateway had an 8-11 record last season. They ended up tied for fourth place in Section 1-5A. Gateway was bounced in the WPIAL First Round by eventual state champion Bethel Park, 6-5. Floyd McKenna (P) is a player to watch for Gateway.
Beaver (1-0) at New Castle (0-1) – 4 pm
Beaver went 13-6 last season. They finished in second place in Section 2-4A. Beaver defeated Elizabeth Forward, 4-2, in the WPIAL First Round before falling to Laurel Highlands, 3-1, in the WPIAL Quarterfinals. Beaver took down Highlands, 5-1, on Monday.
After winning the state championship in 2021, New Castle had a rough 3-10 season in 2022 where they dealt with a ton of injuries. They finished tied for fifth place in Section 2-4A. New Castle fell to Neshannock yesterday, 4-0. The Hurricanes only had two hits. Anthony Miller (INF) and Dom Fornataro (OF) are players to watch for New Castle. New Castle is moving up from 4A.
These two teams were section foes a year ago with Beaver winning both games in the season series.
Armstrong (0-1) at Indiana (0-0) – 3:30 pm
Armstrong is the defending WPIAL champion and state runner-up. They went 23-5 last season, winning the Section 1-5A title. Armstrong took down Hampton (11-5), Thomas Jefferson (14-7), North Hills (6-4) and Penn-Trafford (6-5) en route to a WPIAL title and then defeated Chartiers Valley (13-6), Central Mountain (13-5) and Penn-Trafford (3-2) in the state playoffs before losing to Pittston (4-0) in the state championship game. Jenna Clontz, Emma Paul, Emma Smerick and Jessie Pugh were all all-state players a year ago that are returning. Cameron Sprankle and Isabella Atherton were first team all-state players that are returning. Armstrong fell to Hempfield on Monday, 6-3.
Indiana went 3-12 a season ago. They finished in sixth place in Section 1-5A. Maggie Cunningham (INF) is a player to watch for Indiana. Haley Hamilton was an all-section honoree last season along with Cunningham. Indiana has dropped to 4A this season.
These two teams played in the same section last season with Armstrong winning both game by 10 runs.
Thomas Jefferson (1-0) at Moon (0-0) – 3:30 pm
Thomas Jefferson finished last season with an 11-8 record. They finished second place in Section 2-5A. Thomas Jefferson defeated Kiski Area, 3-2, in the WPIAL First Round before falling to eventual WPIAL champion Armstrong, 14-7 in the WPIAL Quarterfinals. Thomas Jefferson beat Baldwin, 6-0, on Monday. Allie Chalovich and Zoe Krizan each went 2-for-3 with a home run for Thomas Jefferson.
Moon went 4-12 in 2022. They finished in sixth place in Section 4-5A.
Butler (0-1) at Fox Chapel (0-1) – 3:45 pm
Butler went winless in 2022 going 0-13. They finished last in Section 2-6A. Lily Vicari (INF) is a player to watch for Butler. Vaicari and Kelsy Ogin were all-section picks a year ago. Butler fell to New Castle, 7-2, on Friday to open the season.
Fox Chapel finished last season with a 13-4 record. They finished as co-section champions in Section 3-5A. Fox Chapel was upset in the WPIAL First Round when they lost to Chartiers Valley 11-1. Fox Chapel fell to Hampton on Monday, 10-0.
Western Beaver (1-0) at New Brighton (0-0) – 3:45 pm
Western Beaver went 1-13 a season ago. They finished in last place in Section 4-5A. Western Beaver defeated Baldwin, 16-1, on Monday. Shaylyn Shall went 3-for-3 with a double and drove in three runs. Izzie Lefebvre doubled in the game and Emma Bogacki struck out 11 and picked up the win.
New Brighton had a record of 1-12 last season. They finished in last place in Section 4-2A. New Brighton returns six starters including Carlow commit Jocelyn Stasiowski and Thiel commit Haylie Kidd.
Penn Hills (0-1) at Woodland Hills (0-0) – 4 pm
Penn Hills went 5-9 last season. They finished in fifth place in Section 1-5A. Penn Hills swept Woodland Hills a season ago, winning both games by 15 runs.
Woodland Hills finished last season with a 0-13 record. They finished in last place in Section 1-5A. Woodland Hills is moving down from 5A to 4A this season. These teams were section opponents last year.
Hempfield (1-0) at Franklin Regional (0-0) – 4 pm – Westmoreland Sports Network
Hempfield went 13-4 a season ago. They were the Section 2-6A Champions. Hempfield defeated Norwin, 5-4 in the WPIAL Quarterfinals before falling to Seneca Valley, 7-2 in the WPIAL Semifinals. Hempfield picked up an impressive opening day win against Armstrong on Monday winning 6-3. Peyton Heisler doubled and Riley Miller struck out seven while picking up the win.
Franklin Regional had a 13-7 record in 2022. They finished tied for second place in Section 1-5A. Franklin Regional fell to Shaler, 14-6, in the WPIAL First Round last season. Ciara Camacho (INF), Toryn Fulton (OF), Madison Nguyen (DH) are all players to watch for Franklin Regional.
This game will be broadcasted live on the Westmoreland Sports Network. You can find the broadcast link on the broadcast schedule under Multimedia.
Kiski Area (0-0) at Burrell (0-0) – 4 pm
Kiski Area went 12-7 last season. They finished tied for second place in Section 1-5A. Kiski Area fell to Thomas Jefferson, 3-2, in the WPIAL First Round. Mackenzie Fevero (INF) and Hannah Simpson (P) are players to watch for Kiski Area.
Burrell had a 14-3 record last season. They were the Section 1-4A Champions last year. Burrell defeated Belle Vernon, 1-0 in the WPIAL Quarterfinals before falling to Elizabeth Forward, 2-1, in the WPIAL Semifinals. They would bounce back to beat Montour, 3-1 in the WPIAL Third-Place Game to get into the state tournament. In the state tournament they would beat Villa Maria, 6-0 in the PIAA First Round before falling to Beaver in the PIAA Quarterfinals, 3-0. Burrell has dropped to 3A this season. All-state pitcher Katie Armstrong is back after posting a 14-3 record last year with an 0.18 ERA and 257 strikeouts. Bella Stewart was an all-section pick last season and Piper Ferres returns after hitting .321 last year.