District 2 has its own baseball tournaments in Class 4A, 3A and 2A. The Class 3A and 2A events are eight-team brackets with seven teams in Class 4A where top seed Dallas receives a quarterfinal bye. With the exception of Dallas, three wins are needed to claim a title.
The Class 6A and 5A tournaments are subregionals with District 2 and 4 combined. The Class 6A subregional is a standing tradition with Williamsport as the only school from District 4 in the largest enrollment classification. The Class 5A subregional is new this year. Class 5A has a full eight-team bracket while Class 6A has just five teams with only one game needed to reach the semifinals.
In Class A, Districts 2 and 12 were combined for a subregional, but the only District 12 Class A school, Sankofa Freedom Academy, has chosen not to participate. Winless Forest City also opted out, leaving just two teams, MMI Prep and Susquehanna, to play a championship game.
SAFE AT HOME
Home fields of higher seeds will be used in every round with PNC Field in Moosic unavailable for Memorial Day weekend championship games.
The playoffs open Monday with quarterfinal games in Class 5A and Class 3A. Those two classes continue with semifinals Wednesday and finals June 1.
Class 6A, 4A and 2A have quarterfinals Tuesday, semifinals Thursday and finals June 2.
The Class A championship game has not been scheduled.
Each tournament advances the champion to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state tournaments.
The second-place team in Class 3A also lands a spot.
All state tournaments are 16 teams.
There were no spring sports in Pennsylvania in 2020 because of the pandemic, so the “defending” champions are the teams that won titles in 2019.
Those champions were: Hazleton Area in Class 6A; Pittston Area in 5A; Dallas in 4A; Lake-Lehman in 3A; Blue Ridge in 2A; and Old Forge in A.
Selinsgrove, an entry in the Class 5A Subregional, won District 4 and state championships in 2019 when it was a Class 4A team.
The number-one seeds are: Hazleton Area, 20-0, in 6A; North Pocono, 14-3, in 5A; Dallas, 13-5, in 4A; Lake-Lehman, 13-2, in 3A; Riverside, 18-0, in 2A; and MMI Prep, 11-8, in A.
Hazleton Area, in Division 1, and Lake-Lehman, in Division 2, are Wyoming Valley Conference champions. Abington Heights, North Pocono, Riverside and Lackawanna Trail are Lackawanna League champions in Divisions 1 through 4.
More than ever before, District 2 baseball is loaded with future National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I players.
The Hazleton Area team alone has seven players who have committed to Division I programs and two more that have committed to play on the Division II level.
Seniors Michael Kilker and Marcus LaBuda are headed to West Virginia and Villanova respectively.
Juniors Nick Biasi (Florida State), Bryce Molinaro (St. John’s) and Luke Russo (Fairleigh Dickinson) are early Division I commitments along with sophomores Grant Russo (St. John’s) and Brett Antolick (Arizona).
The seniors who are headed to Division II schools are Matt Shamany, to Millersville, and Ryan Verbonitz, to Mansfield.
Hazleton Area shut out six straight teams before beating Berwick, 12-1, in its last game.
The Cougars have held the last 14 opponents to zero or one run. They have outscored teams 149-5 in the last 13 games, all of which were wins by at least 8 runs. They have outscored teams 175-10 in the last 17 and 200-26 for the season.
Riverside’s closest games have come lately with its only two one-run games coming in the last eight, including the regular-season finale.
The Vikings opened the season with four straight shutouts and had their other three in succession in May.
Riverside has outscored teams 165-36.
Find out more about the District 2 playoffs with the links below.
Just the facts: Complete pairings, regular-season records and playoff ratings: https://nepasportsnation.com/district-2-baseball/.
Analysis: See how NEPA Sports Nation rates the best teams in the Riverfront Sports Super Six Power Rankings of District 2 teams. https://nepasportsnation.com/unbeatens-hazleton-area-riverside-remain-in-no-1-spots/.