The high school athletic year comes to a close Friday with two District 2 teams simultaneously chasing state championships.
Both the Wyoming Area baseball and Mid Valley softball teams are scheduled to take the fields at Penn State at 1:30 in Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state championship games.
Of course, as Thursday reminded us, when championship tripleheaders are involved, starting times for the second and third games are mere estimates.
Wyoming Area will face New Castle in a Class 4A meeting between what a month ago looked like two simply average high school baseball teams.
Mid Valley (22-2) takes on Mount Pleasant (20-3) in Class 3A softball.
Wyoming Area finished 5-6 and in fourth place in Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 where its competition primarily came from smaller schools.
The Warriors were 6-6 overall before embarking on the eight-game winning streak that carries them to Medlar Field at Lubrano Park for today’s game.
New Castle was also at .500 before winning its last nine to reach 18-9 overall.
All pitchers are available according to PIAA Pitch Limitation rules. That does not mean, however, that there will be no carryover from having just thrown on Monday.
Wyoming Area ace J.J. Hood threw 104 pitches. The junior, who is already verbally committed to play at the University of Connecticut, is 8-1 with a 1.71 earned run average.
Hunter Lawall threw 46 pitches while getting the win with two scoreless innings of relief in which he struck out five.
Lawall’s relief effort kept Wyoming Area within reach before it scored four runs with two out in the bottom of the seventh to defeat Monsignor Bonner-Archbishop Prendergast, 5-4. He is 5-3 with a 2.23 ERA, but 4-0 with a 1.65 ERA in his last four appearances.
Anthony Miller, New Castle’s Notre Dame-bound shortstop/pitcher, threw 105 pitches Monday in a 12-strikeout, four-hitter to beat Montour, 3-1.
Miller is 9-1 with a 1.62 ERA, 78 strikeouts and 16 walks in 56 1/3 innings. He is also a force offensively with two hits in each of the three state tournament games, 11 doubles, 25 RBI and a .420 average on the season.
Mid Valley and Mount Pleasant have combined for five shutouts in their six state tournament games.
Mount Pleasant has not been scored on in the state playoffs and is coming off a 13-0, five-inning semifinal rout of Punxsutawney in which it hit four home runs.
For Mid Valley, the state tournament rout came early when the Spartanettes blasted five home runs to beat Loyalsock Township, 12-0, in five innings.
Mid Valley was down two runs going into the bottom of the sixth in the quarterfinals.
Using clutch hits from Lindsey Jason, Kaylee Teranella and Zoe Zelinski, the Spartanettes got past North Schuylkill, 7-6, and Central Columbia, 1-0, to arrive in their first state championship game.
Mount Pleasant won a state title in 2017, beating Tunkhannock, 5-3, in the final.
After losing in their state playoff debut in 2016, the Vikings have returned for each of the four tournaments since, making it to at least the semifinals each time.
Broadcast availability: https://nepasportsnation.com/state-final-broadcast-information/.