What to watch in WPIAL sports for April 24, 2023: North Hills, Shaler to face off in Section 3


Sunday, April 23, 2023 | 9:06 p.m

The last week of April means WPIAL baseball and softball sectional play is over.

The schedule is loaded with many key games, including the start of a baseball sectional showdown between two of the top teams in Class 5A.

North Hills and Shaler have won two of the last four WPIAL 5A championships. Both teams are tied for first place in Section 3-5A with 5-1 sectional records.

The Indians are 10-2 overall and have won eight of their last nine games, while the Titans are 10-3 and have won eight straight before back-to-back losses to West Allegheny and Butler.

While Shaler has been a perennial contender since winning 5A gold in 2019, North Hills has struggled since winning the district title five years ago, missing the playoffs every season since 2018.

Last year, the Indians finished 6-12 and lost twice to the Titans by a combined score of 14-4.

The two rivals meet on Monday at Matulevic Field in Shaler with the rematch on Tuesday at Herb Field in Ross Township.

It’s not the only show in town

While the North Hills and Shaler sectional series is big, there are plenty of other high-stakes events starting Monday.

In fact, the Indians-Titans series isn’t even the only battle in 5A baseball that begins Monday.

In Section 1-5A, Armstrong attends Franklin Regional. Four teams have two losses in the section, including the River Hawks (6-2) and the Panthers (4-2). The other two are Fox Chapel (6-2) and Plum (4-2).

In Section 1-6A, North Allegheny and Seneca Valley meet in the first of three games at Seneca Valley. The Tigers (5-1) have just one sectional loss, while the Raiders (4-2) are a game back in the loss column with two sectional losses suffered last week at Pine-Richland.

In Section 1-4A, Blackhawk visits Montour. Both teams are a perfect 6-0 in the sectional and have a three-game lead over Central Valley with four sectional games remaining. The Cougars are 9-1, while the defending 4A state champion Spartans are 12-1.

In Section 2-4A, Uniontown hosts Latrobe. The two teams are 5-1 in the division and have won a combined seven games. The host Red Raiders are 7-3 overall, while the Wildcats are 7-5.

In Section 4-4A, Indiana (5-1, 7-4) has one-game leads over both North Catholic (4-2, 5-6) and Kiski Area (4-2, 7-5). The Little Indians visit the Trojans.

In Section 1-A, Avella (9-2) and California (7-7) are tied for first place with 6-2 sectional records. Carmichaels (8-3) also has just two losses in the division with a 4-2 record. The Eagles host the Mighty Mikes in the first of two.

Softball section

Not only do Shaler and North Hills plan to face off in a baseball sectional showdown for first place, the Titans and Indians softball teams meet with at least a share of first place up for grabs.

Shaler was perfect this spring, posting a 6-0 Section 1-5A record and 12-0 overall.

North Hills is 5-1 in the section and 10-1 overall.

The only blemish on the Indians’ record was a 10-2 loss to the Titans on April 5.

The second leg is in Schaller on Monday.

Several other first-place battles will take place around the WPIAL on Monday.

In Section 2-5A, a similar situation occurs as defending champion Armstrong battles Latrobe.

The River Hawks are in first place with a 6-0 sectional record and 11-1 overall. The Wildcats are 5-1 in the division and 10-1 overall.

Latrobe’s only loss was at Armstrong on April 5, 7-3. The second leg is in Latrobe.

The top four teams in Section 3-3A are separated by a semi-game and all four meet on Monday.

Southmoreland is 4-1 in divisional play, while Mount Pleasant, Ligonier Valley and South are 4-2.

The Scots host the Vikings on Monday while the Rams travel to play the Cougars.

Finally, in Section 3-A, Fraser (7-1) hosts Leechburg (5-5).

The Commodores are 6-0 in the division, one game ahead of the 5-1 Blue Devils.

Leechburg’s only sectional loss was April 3 at home to Frazier, 12-4.

Tags: Armstrong, Avella, Blackhawk, California, Carmichaels, Fox Chapel, Franklin Regional, Fraser, Indiana, Kiski Area, Latrobe, Leechburg, Ligonier Valley, Montour, Mount Pleasant, North Allegheny, North Catholic, North Hills, Pine-Richland, Plum, Seneca Valley, Shaler, Southmoreland, Uniontown, South

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