There was no looking backward or forward for the Chartiers-Houston High School softball team when it began this season.
It’s going to remain that same approach even after the Bucs earned their first section championship since 2015 and the top seed in Class 2A when the WPIAL released its softball playoff brackets Thursday afternoon.
“We’ve tried to focus on small goals throughout the season and the kids have really bought into that,” said Chartiers-Houston coach Tricia Alderson. “I think one game at a time is a hard thing to buy into but our kids have bought in. I guess just us saying it and them hearing it over and over has made it stick.”
Chartiers-Houston is one of two area teams to earn the top seed in their respective classification. West Greene, the three-time defending WPIAL and back-to-back PIAA champion, is the top seed in Class A. Ten other area teams qualified for the district playoffs, which will begin with first-round games Tuesday and Wednesday.
West Greene is the only local top-four seed to earn a first-round bye. Canon-McMillan, the No. 2 seed in a condensed Class 6A bracket that has only eight teams, will play Seneca Valley May 15 at North Allegheny (6 p.m.)
With Chartiers-Houston in Class 2A, the largest in regard to number of playoff qulifiers, it opens with a first-round game against Our Lady of Sacred Heart Wednesday at West Allegheny High School (3 p.m.).
“If you look at both sides of the bracket, there are a lot of really good teams,” Alderson said. “It’s extremely competitive. You have to take it one game at a time because you have to focus on who is directly in front of you. Both sides of the bracket are really loaded.”
The Bucs found that out last year when they were upended by sixth-seeded Laurel in the semifinals. C-H lost in the semifinals to South Side Beaver in 2016, one year after falling to West Greene in the Class A championship, the first of three straight for the Pioneers.
“It’s been disappointing,” Alderson said. “The last two years we have been close. We qualified for the state playoffs, which was nice, but it would be great to get over the hump. We can’t look to that until we play the first round and then go from there.”
The lower two classifications feature the most area teams.
In Class 2A, No. 11 Carmichaels plays sixth seeded Seton LaSalle at Pleasant Valley Elementary School (4 p.m.). Bentworth will play second-seeded Neshannock at Sewickley Academy (5 p.m.). Burgettstown will play Vincentian in the first-round at Burkett Park (3 p.m.). All three games are scheduled for Wednesday.
The three other teams in Class A, Monessen, Jefferson-Morgan and Mapletown, will all play first-round games Tuesday. The Greyhounds play fourth-seeded Sewickley Academy at Pleasant Valley Elementary (4 p.m.). Mapletown will play Jeannette in the game following Monessen at 6 p.m. Jefferson-Morgan, the No. 5 seed, plays Rochester at Trinity Middle School Tuesday (4 p.m.)
One section champion bumped out of a top-four seed was Trinity. Despite losing only two section games, the Hillers were dropped down to the fifth seed in Class 5A after losses in their final two regular-season games to South Fayette and Connellsville, which earned the fourth seed. Trinity will play Gateway Tuesday at North Allegheny (6 p.m.). South Fayette will open the first round against Albert Gallatin at Trinity Middle School (6 p.m.). The winner will advance to play top-seeded Penn-Trafford.
In Class 4A, ninth-seeded Ringgold will play eighth-seeded New Castle Wednesday at North Allegheny (4 p.m.). The winner advances to undefeated top seed Mt. Pleasant.