UNIVERSITY PARK — The chase for Pennsylvania high school baseballs biggest prize ends today as eight teams vie for PIAA championships.
Play at Penn States Medlar Field at Lubrano Park begins at 10:30 a.m. with the Class AA title game and continues with games at 1 p.m. (Class AAAA), 3:30 p.m. (Class A) and 6 p.m. (Class AAA)
District 11 champion Pine Grove (23-6) will meet District 7 runner-up Riverside (21-6) in the Class AA final. Pine Grove, which eliminated Philipsburg- Osceola in the quarterfinal round, has run rampant over nearly every opponent it has faced in the Class AA tournament.
The Cardinals have outscored their Class AA brethren 29-8 and have won two of their three games in just five innings. One of those was a 10-0 romp over the Mounties a week ago.
Were coming to play and were swinging the bats well, pitching well and playing defense, Pine Grove coach Keith Lehman said after his team ousted P-O. Put them three things together and youre going to have success.
Pine Groves opponent, District 7 runner-up Riverside, has had plenty of its own success this season.
The Panthers, led by coach Dan Oliastro, have hit .324 as a team this season and have scored five or more runs in their three PIAA games. Riverside has played the upset role twice, upending District 9 and District 5 champions Brookville and North Star in the first and semifinal round, respectively.
Pine Grove will be playing for its first PIAA title. Riverside will look to claim its third after winning previous championships in 2005 and 2006.
La Salle College (24-3) will meet Council Rock South (23-2) in Class AAAA play, a matchup that pits the District 12 champion against the District 1 runner-up. La Salle could have its hands full with Council Rocks pitching as the Golden Hawks have surrendered just three runs in their three games. Todays Class AAAA championship game is also expected to be the last for Council Rock coach Greg Young, who had has announced he will to step down at the end of the season in order to spend more time with his family.
Todays penultimate game will be the only one that pits district champions against one another. In Class A action, District 4 champion Montgomery will face District 6 champion Bishop McCort. Both teams will try to win their first PIAA baseball crowns.
The Red Raiders (21-2) havent given up a run in over a week. They beat two district championship squads in Pius X and Lancaster County Christian in the first and semifinal rounds, respectively. Montgomery has allowed just one opposing baserunner to cross home plate in three games and that came in a first-round 2-1 win over Pius X that took eight innings to decide.
Bishop McCort (23-2) finds itself in the title game after hammering California 7-1 in the first round, edging OLSH in the quarters 9-8 and crushing Elk County Catholic 17-0 in six innings in the semis.
In the nightcap, Lampeter-Strasburg (23-6) will meet West York (23-4). The Pioneers will seek their third PIAA title and first since a 2005 championship. West York will try to secure its first PIAA crown.
The Pioneers beat Philadelphia Electric, Jersey Shore and Neumann-Goretti by the combined score of 21-5 while West York finds itself in the championship game after a 10-0 five-inning win over Hollidaysburg, a 6-2 win over Belle Vernon and an 8-1 win over Blackhawk. West York is the lowest seed of any of the eight teams in the finals. While West York is the third seed out of District 3, every other team is either a district champion or a runner-up.