Three local high school baseball teams have already advanced to the quarterfinals WPIAL playoffs without having to play a game.
Ringgold, South Fayette and Carmichaels each earned first-round byes when the WPIAL released its baseball pairings Friday afternoon for the postseason, which is scheduled to start Tuesday.
Third-seeded South Fayette is the highest of all local teams despite finishing in second place in Class 4A Section 2 behind Blackhawk, which received the top seed. The Lions are seeded higher than Class 4A Section 3 champion Ringgold, which is the No. 4 seed.
Since returning to Pennsylvania from their spring trip to Florida, the Lions have only three losses, two by one run to Blackhawk. They have won seven of their last eight games and are led by the hot hitting of their underclassmen, juniors Ryan Kokoski and Mitch Dunay along with sophomore Joey Alcorn.
Ringgold, which last season played its first WPIAL playoff game since 2005, won the section title this year by winning close games. In games decided by three runs or fewer, the Rams are 9-2. A deep pitching staff led by senior Ryan Varley, who is 4-0 with a 0.89 ERA, has benefited greatly from the Rams’ strong hitting. Seven of the regular starters have a batting average better than .300.
Carmichaels was given the fourth seed in Class 2A after winning Section 1. The Mikes, who at one point this season boasted a 10-game winning streak, won their first section title since 2013.
Each of the three teams will play their quarterfinal matchup May 21.
Another local team to earn a top-four seed was Canon-McMillan in Class 6A. The Big Macs, who were the runner-up in their section to Bethel Park, were considered one of the favorites in the classification entering the season. C-M opens with a first-round game Tuesday against Norwin at Upper St. Clair’s Boyce Mayview Park (4:30 p.m.).
Several teams used late-season winning streaks to either qualify for the postseason or improve their seeding. They hope that momentum carries over to what many coaches consider “the second season.”
Monessen put together a strong second half of the season, winning seven of its last nine to earn the seventh seed in Class A and a first-round game with 10th-seeded Western Beaver Tuesday at Burkett Park (2 p.m.).
After having played its best baseball at the end of the regular season, Trinity will face Mars Tuesday at Seneca Valley (2 p.m.) in a Class 5A game. The Hillers, who were 2-8 at one point, won their last three section games, including a 3-0 victory over Montour, to qualify for the playoffs.
A complete listing of the pairings can be found in the Scoreboard section on Page C2.