Here’s a look at the WPIAL baseball playoffs, which begin Tuesday and conclude May 29 at Wild Things Park.

North Allegheny’s David Posey and Pine-Richland’s Sam Heckert are two of the top players on two of the top teams in WPIAL Class 6A. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)


Defending champion: Mt. Lebanon

No. 1 seed: Mt. Lebanon

Player to watch: David Shields, Mt. Lebanon. The last time we saw Shields take part in a WPIAL playoff game, he tossed a no-hitter to help Mt. Lebanon beat North Allegheny in last year’s championship. A senior lefty, Shields is expected to be drafted in the first few rounds of this year’s MLB draft.

Sleeper: Seneca Valley. It has been a decade since Seneca Valley last won a WPIAL title. And while the Raiders enter this postseason as the No. 5 seed and with a record of 10-8-1, it wouldn’t be all that shocking to see them make a deep run. Catcher Creed Erdos is a James Madison recruit who has caught a pitching staff that gives up just 3.1 runs a game. Figuring out how to win tight games will be key, as the Raiders are just 1-6 in one-run games.

Best first-round game: Hempfield vs. Seneca Valley

The lowdown: Mt. Lebanon (16-4) is the two-time defending champion and will try to become the first team since Pine-Richland (2004-06) to win three consecutive titles. Shields is the headliner and will have dozens of scouts in attendance each time he pitches, but the Blue Devils have some other talented pieces, as well, among them pitcher-first baseman Graham Keen, who is ranked as the No. 1 freshman in the state. The Blue Devils had won 10 games in a row before losing their regular-season finale. … While Mt. Lebanon won the Section 2 title, No. 2 Pine-Richland (16-4) captured the Section 1 title after taking two of three games from North Allegheny to close section play. Catcher Sam Heckert is hitting .392 and Keegan Deihl is 5-0 with a 0.82 ERA. … North Allegheny (14-5), the No. 3 seed, reached the final two of the past three seasons. Owen Schall paces the Tigers with a .436 batting average and 20 RBIs, while David Posey leads a strong pitching staff. … No. 4 Hempfield (14-6) began the season 11-0 but has since lost six of nine. Carson Shuglie, a Seton Hill commit, is hitting .423 and has knocked in 20.

Championship picks: Mt. Lebanon (Brad Everett), Mt. Lebanon (Steve Rotstein)

Bethel Park junior shortstop Ryan Petras is a three-year starter who leads the Black Hawks in hitting this season. (Matt Freed/Pittsburgh Union Progress).


Defending champion: Shaler

No. 1 seed: West Allegheny

Player to watch: Ryan Petras, Bethel Park. Petras is having another big season as Bethel Park’s shortstop and leadoff hitter. A junior who is a three-year starter, the speedy Petras leads the Black Hawks with a .425 batting average and has shown some pop, too, evidenced by his home run against Chartiers Valley earlier this week.

Sleeper: Shaler. Remember the 2023 Titans? All-everything star Miguel Hugas graduated from last year’s WPIAL and PIAA championship squad and the Titans finished third in their section this season, but hopes for a repeat title are alive and well. The Titans (15-4), who are the No. 8 seed, have suffered four losses on the season, with each of them coming by one run on the road. Outfielder Brady Alexander, an Ohio recruit, is one of eight seniors on the team.

Best first-round game: Shaler vs. South Fayette

The lowdown: Pick a team, any team. This bracket appears to be wide open. There was certainly a lot of parity in the regular season, with every team suffering at least three section defeats. Oh, and then there was Penn-Trafford, Fox Chapel, Plum and Franklin Regional finishing in a four-way tie for the Section 1 title. … No. 4 Bethel Park (12-6-1) was the only outright section champion. The Black Hawks, who won back-to-back PIAA titles in 2021 and 2022, have advanced to at least the semifinals three years in a row. … West Allegheny (14-3) and North Hills (12-4-1) split the Section 3 crown. West Allegheny has won five consecutive games and 10 of its last 11. Senior shortstop Brady Miller is an Oklahoma recruit. Jake Pollaro, a Delaware recruit, is one of the top players for North Hills, which is seeking its first playoff win since 2018. … Penn-Trafford (15-3), the No. 7 seed, had won 13 games in a row before dropping two straight to Franklin Regional to close section play. Senior first baseman Chuck Fontana is hitting a team-best .410. … Franklin Regional (12-7) has gotten strong pitching from the likes of Max Bernadowski and N.J. Ramchandran.

Championship picks: Bethel Park (Brad Everett), Shaler (Steve Rotstein)

Senior J.J. Siemon and his Thomas Jefferson teammates have had a lot to celebrate this season, among the accomplishments being a section championship. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)


Defending champion: Hopewell

No. 1 seed: Belle Vernon

Player to watch: Jake Robinson, Montour. A senior shortstop/pitcher and Kent State recruit, Robinson is Montour’s top hitter (.385, 5 home runs, 20 RBIs) and pitcher (4-1, 2.12 ERA). Robinson struck out a career-high 15 in a win against Central Valley on April 30 that clinched the Spartans a fourth consecutive section title.

Sleeper: Latrobe. As the No. 5 seed last season, Latrobe made a surprising run to the WPIAL final. Now the No. 5 seed again a season later, a similar postseason ride could be in the cards. The Wildcats (16-3) finished as the runner-up to Belle Vernon in Section 2 and their three losses have come by a combined five runs — a three-run defeat to Class 6A Hempfield and two one-run losses to Belle Vernon. Riley Smith has been a standout on the mound and at the plate.

Best first-round game: Central Valley vs. Indiana

The lowdown: After missing out on the playoffs the past two seasons, Belle Vernon (13-3) bounced back in a big way to claim the Section 2 title. Adam LaCarte is hitting .431 with four homers and 18 RBIs. … Section 3 co-champs West Mifflin (16-2) and Thomas Jefferson (17-2) both have championship potential. West Mifflin, winner of four consecutive section titles, features Zane Griffaton, a senior and Bluefield State recruit who is 4-0 with a 0.66 ERA and has struck out 40 in 21⅓ innings while also hitting .426 with five home runs. Thomas Jefferson is led by a large senior class that includes pitcher J.J. Siemon (6-0, 1.57 ERA). The Jaguars average a Class 4A-best 8.8 runs. … No. 4 Montour (13-4), which has gone 40-4 in section play since 2021, aims for its first WPIAL title since 1972 after losing in the final in 2021 and 2022 and in the semifinals a season ago. Robinson and senior catcher Maddox Tarquinio started on the 2022 team that won a PIAA title. … Section 4 champ North Catholic (13-4), the No. 6 seed, is led by catcher Blake Primrose, a Saint Joseph’s recruit who is batting .480 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs.

Championship picks: Montour (Brad Everett), Montour (Steve Rotstein)

Christian Lucarelli and Riverside are shooting for repeat WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A titles after going unbeaten last season. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)


Defending champion: Riverside

No. 1 seed: Riverside

Player to watch: Christian Lucarelli, Riverside. Lucarelli, a junior right-hander and Duke recruit, has been sidelined since April 30 due to an oblique injury, but said he will be ready to go for the playoffs. Lucarelli (3-0, 0.93 ERA) was the winning pitcher in last year’s PIAA championship.

Sleeper: Avonworth. A semifinalist each of the past three seasons, Avonworth (13-8) is the No. 7 seed this year after placing second behind South Allegheny in Section 2. Avonworth handed the Gladiators their only section loss. The Antelopes have won four of their past five games, and their last five losses have come by a combined nine runs. Hunter Blackson and Jack Dolan have been two of their top hitters, while Aidan Tinker headlines the pitching staff.

Best first-round game: Avonworth vs. Greensburg Salem

The lowdown: Riverside (13-1) doesn’t enter the postseason unbeaten like it did a season ago, but the defending WPIAL and PIAA champs are still favored to win repeat titles. Winners of 38 of 39 games since the start of last season, the Panthers have given up only 20 runs this spring. Zach Hare has had a breakout season, going 8-0 with a 0.88 ERA on the mound while hitting a team-best .553. Hunter Garvin is batting .459 with 23 RBIs. … Mohawk (16-3) and Neshannock (11-9) are two other teams to watch that hail from Section 1. Neshannock handed Riverside its only loss, while Mohawk features standout hitter Jay Wrona and had won 11 in a row before dropping a pair of games to Riverside to close the regular season. … No. 4 South Allegheny (15-3) won its first section title since 1998. The Gladiators have won eight of their last nine games. … Valley (16-4) and Mount Pleasant (13-4) also claimed section titles. Valley is riding an 11-game win streak and Mount Pleasant has won nine in a row.

Championship picks: Riverside (Brad Everett), Riverside (Steve Rotstein)

Seton LaSalle’s Gio LoNero is having a monster season, as he leads the Rebels in hitting, home runs, RBIs and runs scored. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)


Defending champion: Seton LaSalle

No. 1 seed: Serra Catholic

Player to watch: Gio LoNero, Seton LaSalle. LoNero, a senior shortstop-pitcher, leads the WPIAL with a .644 batting average and boasts an on-base percentage of .742. A North Alabama recruit, LoNero also leads the Rebels in home runs (3), RBIs (20) and runs (34).

Sleeper: Greensburg Central Catholic. The Centurions (11-5) have dropped four of six following a 9-1 start, but this is a battle-tested team that finished behind only Serra Catholic in Section 3 (GCC lost to Serra by scores of 3-1 and 15-4). Sophomore Tyler Samide (5-2, 2.30 ERA) leads the Centurions in wins, while another sophomore, Anthony Grippo, is one of the top hitters. The Centurions won their only WPIAL title in 2015.

Best first-round game: Riverview vs. Beth-Center

The lowdown: Serra Catholic (15-1) hopes to reach the final for the third year in a row after finishing as the runner-up last season. Scoring against Serra has been a problem for opposing teams, as the Eagles have surrendered a total of 28 runs. Jake Holmes is hitting .542 and Owen Dumbrowski is 6-0 and has struck out 40 in 30 innings. … This could be the year Our Lady of the Sacred Heart wins its first WPIAL title. Champion of Section 2, OLSH (16-4) has been red hot, winning 11 consecutive games since suffering its first and only section loss at South Side. The last two of those victories were among the most impressive, as they were 8-2 and 12-4 triumphs against defending champion Seton LaSalle. Iseia Schulz and Sean Hudac tossed no-hitters in a recent doubleheader sweep of Aliquippa. … Seton LaSalle (14-3) is more than just LoNero. The Rebels are hitting .401 as a team and averaging 10.2 runs per game. … Burgettstown (11-3-1) won the Section 1 title. Brodie Kuzior is hitting a team-high .444 and has struck out 62 in 34 innings.

Championship picks: Serra Catholic (Brad Everett), Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (Steve Rotstein)

Kole Olszewski is one of several standouts on a Bishop Canevin pitching staff that hopes to drive the Crusaders to a second consecutive WPIAL Class 1A title . (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)


Defending champion: Bishop Canevin

No. 1 seed: Union

Player to watch: Caleb Emswiler, Eden Christian. Emswiler has been a walking RBI this season, as he has knocked in 37 runs in 18 games. He’s also hitting .466 to go along with five home runs. In addition, this Gardner-Webb recruit is 2-1 with a 3.40 ERA on the mound.

Sleeper: Fort Cherry. Yes, the Rangers (12-3) are the No. 3 seed, but there likely won’t be many people picking them to win a WPIAL title for the first time since 1986. Matt Sieg, who is regarded as one of the top sophomore football players in the state, is hitting a team-best .529 with four home runs and 24 RBIs for the Rangers, who claimed their first section title since 2012. Freshman pitcher Ryan Huey is 6-1 on the mound and is also hitting .478.

Best first-round game: Carmichaels vs. Carlynton

The lowdown: No team has spent more time at Wild Things Park in recent years than Union, which won back-to-back WPIAL titles in 2021 and 2022 and has reached the final four of the past five seasons. This season, the Scotties (13-3) captured the Section 2 title without losing a game for the second year in a row. Senior outfielder and Slippery Rock recruit Mike Gunn (.410, 24 runs) headlines a powerful offense that averages a Class 1A-best 11 runs per game. … Like Union, No. 2 Eden Christian (14-4) hasn’t dropped a game to a Class 1A opponent this spring. The Warriors won all of their section games by at least eight runs, which included 9-1 and 11-1 wins against defending WPIAL champion Bishop Canevin. Emswiler and Brady Hull (.509, 4 home runs, 34 RBIs) have been among the standouts offensively. … Bishop Canevin (12-4) boasts a talented pitching staff that includes Kole Olszewski (5-1) and brothers Tyler (4-2) and Jackson Maddix (3-0). Tyler Maddix has struck out a team-high 52 in 29 innings.

Championship picks: Eden Christian (Brad Everett), Eden Christian (Steve Rotstein).

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Brad Everett

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at