By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
Following a decade of five- and four-divisional alignments, Lackawanna League baseball will return to three divisions – each with eight teams – in the 2023 and 2024 seasons.
Lackawanna Interscholastic Athletic Association athletic directors are in the process of developing schedules or the next two-year sports cycle, the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years. The first step in that process is agreeing on divisional alignments, which the LIAA did in many sports, including baseball, earlier this month.
Under the plan, the new divisions will be aligned as follows:
|Division 1||Division 2||Division 3|
|School||Current Division||School||Current Division||School||Current Division|
|Abington Heights||1||Dunmore||3||Blue Ridge||4|
|Delaware Valley||2||Holy Cross||3||Carbondale||3|
|North Pocono||2||Honesdale||2||Elk Lake||4|
|Scranton Prep||1||Mid Valley||3||Lackawanna Trail||4|
|Valley View||1||Old Forge||3||Montrose||4|
|West Scranton||1||Western Wayne||3||Susquehanna||4|
The last time the LIAA had three divisions in baseball was during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. At that time, Honesdale was in Division 1 and Valley View was in Division 2. Carbondale was in Division 2 and Western Wayne was in Division 3.
Lackawanna baseball had four divisions from 2013 through 2016. It switched to five divisions – with three teams in each of the top three divisions – in 2017 and used that format again in 2018. It returned to four divisions in 2019 and kept that format for the 2021 and 2022 seasons after the 2020 season was canceled because of COVID.
In the new format, Abington Heights and North Pocono, which won Divisions 1 and 2 in both the 2019 and 2021 seasons, will be rivals in Division 1. Abington Heights won the 2021 District 2 Class 5A championship.
Division 2 includes Riverside, the Lackawanna Division 3 and District 2 Class 2A champion in 2021. Lakeland won a three-way playoff for Division 2 over Dunmore and Mid Valley in 2019 when Old Forge won the District 2 Class 2 Class 2A title. Those five teams will all be part of the new Division 2.
Lackawanna Trail won Lackawanna Division 4 titles in both 2019 and 2021. Blue Ridge won the 2019 District 2 Class A title. They will play the same division rivals in Division 3, plus add Carbondale to the mix.
The LIAA routinely realigns some sports divisions every two years in conjunction with the new Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association two-year enrollment cycle which determines the classifications in which teams will compete on the state and district levels.