NEPA Sports Nation

Today in NEPA Sports Nation, 6/14

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state semifinals are scheduled in baseball and softball Monday.

In a term that has been used frequently throughout district and state tournament play, “weather permitting,” the day will end with the 12 baseball and 12 softball finalists determined for Thursday and Friday’s championship games at Penn State University.

The 24 games around the state include 6 involving District 2 teams and 3 within district territory.

Marywood University is hosting a softball doubleheader.

Mid Valley (21-2) will District 4 runner-up Central Columbia (20-5) at 2 p.m. in Class 3A.

Tunkhannock (22-2) will face District 11 champion Bethlehem Catholic (16-8) in Class 4A at 4 p.m.

Unbeaten Riverside will go for its 24th straight victory when it takes on District 11 champion Schuylkill Haven (23-3) at the Mountain Post American Legion Field in a Class 2A game at 4:30 p.m.

The other two district baseball teams are part of a doubleheader at DeSales University in Center Valley.

Lake-Lehman (18-2) plays Oley Valley (20-5) in the 4:30 p.m. Class 3A game.

Wyoming Area (13-6) meets Monsignor Bonner-Archbishop Prendergast (16-7) in Class 4A at 6:30.

The other game is another of the early starts.

West Scranton heads to Patriots Park in Allentown for a 2 p.m. game against traditional power Lampeter-Strasburg, the District 3 champion with a 25-1 record.

Lake-Lehman and Tunkhannock are trying to advance to Thursday championship games.

If Wyoming Area, Riverside, West Scranton or Mid Valley reach the finals, they will play on Friday.

There are some common opponents in the matchups.

Mid Valley opened the state tournament by hitting five home runs in a 12-0, five-inning rout of Loyalsock Township.

Loyalsock and Central Columbia split during the regular season – a 5-3 Central Columbia win and a 4-2 Loyalsock victory – before Loyalsock won the District 4 championship game, 2-1, in eight innings.

Central Columbia has allowed just 22 runs in 25 games behind junior pitcher Mea Cosentino.

Mid Valley is batting .364 as a team with 30 home runs and an average of 8.8 runs per game. Maranda Runco leads the way with 19 homers and a .691 batting average and an on-base percentage that is at .771 and climbing as playoff opponents often refuse to pitch to her.

Both Central Columbia and Tunkhannock, which plays in the second game at Marywood, have made it through two rounds of state play without allowing a run.

Tunkhannock and Becahi, its opponent, each had to get through an extra-inning game in the first round.

Riverside’s last 11 games have included four shutouts, two times in which the Vikings have held opponents to a single run and two more where they have only allowed two.

Schuylkill Haven comes in with a hot offense, having outscored state opponents, 25-2, in just 10 innings. The Hurricanes have outscored opponents, 126-29, during their 13-game winning streak.

Lake-Lehman defeated Scranton Prep, 5-0, in the District 2 final.

Oley Valley held off Scranton Prep, 8-6, in Thursday’s quarterfinals after building a 7-1 lead.

Lake-Lehman is back in the same round it played in during the most recent PIAA tournament in 2019 before the 2020 season was canceled because of the pandemic.

Wyoming Area baseball and West Scranton softball are both trying to extend their first-ever ventures into state play.

Bonner-Prendie from the Philadelphia Catholic League is led by Auburn recruit Kevin McGonigle with seven homers, 23 RBI and a .491 average.

West Scranton faces a Lampeter-Strasburg team that is 15-5 in seven state tournament appearances since 2007, winning one championship and going to two other finals. It still has players left from the 2018 state champions and 2019 finalists.

Lampeter-Strasburg has four wins – 11-6 and 9-5 in the regular season, then 11-4 in league playoffs and 8-2 in the District 3 tournament – over Elizabethtown, the team West Scranton defeated, 6-2, in the first round of the state tournament.


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