JOURNEY BEGINS: District 9 Baseball, Softball Teams Launch State Title Quests on Monday
On Friday, teams learned what road they will need to take to get there when the PIAA released the playoff brackets.
Five District 9 baseball teams and four D9 softball teams will begin what they hope will be a long ride.
The defending state baseball champions in Class A, DuBois Central Catholic, will square off against District 6 champion Bishop Guilfoyle at Vets Field in Altoona. The first pitch is 4:00 p.m.
The Cardinals stormed through the state bracket a year ago, winning games by finals of 15-5, 7-1, and 12-2 to reach the final. There, DCC thumped Halifax, 12-2, for the championship.
This year, DuBois Central Catholic got off to an inauspicious start.
The Cardinals were 0-3 out of the gate, but won 17 of their next 18 to reach the District 9 championship game, where they were beaten thanks to an epic seventh-inning rally by Clarion.
In Class 2A, D9 champ Redbank Valley will play the first game of a tripleheader at Showers Field in DuBois, taking on Burgettstown, the third-place team out of the WPIAL. Game time is 1:00 p.m.
It was the first district title for the Bulldogs since 2010.
Last year, Redbank stunned undefeated Serra Catholic in the first round of the state playoffs.
Fresh off its first-ever district crown, Clarion will play District 6 runner-up Harmony in the middle game at Showers Field at 3:30 p.m. in the Class A bracket.
Class 3A champ Punxsutawney gets the final game at Showers when the Chucks take on WPIAL runner-up Neshannock at 6:00 p.m.
In softball action, DuBois Central Catholic is hoping to begin its journey back to the Class A title game with a win over WPIAL runner-up Carmichaels at Heindl Field in DuBois. The first pitch is 4:00 p.m.
Last year, the Cardinals lost in the PIAA Class A final.
Here is the breakdown of each first-round game (all games are on Monday):
9-1 Clarion (17-4) vs. 6-2 Harmony (12-3) at Showers Field in DuBois, 3:30 p.m.
9-2 DuBois Central Catholic (17-5) vs. 6-1 Bishop Guilfoyle (16-7) at Vets Field in Altoona, 4:00 p.m.
9-1 Redbank Valley (18-4) vs. 7-3 Burgettstown (15-4) at Showers Field in DuBois, 1:00 p.m.
9-2 Karns City (15-7) vs. 7-1 Seton La Salle (17-4) at North Allegheny, 5:00 p.m.
9-1 Punxsutawney (18-2) vs. 7-2 Neshannock (18-5) at Showers Field in DuBois, 6:00 p.m.
9-1 DuBois Central Catholic (18-3) vs. 7-2 Carmichaels (18-1) at Heindl Field in DuBois, 4:00 p.m.
9-2 Elk County Catholic (17-5) vs. 6-2 West Branch (19-4) at West Branch High School, 4:00 p.m.
9-1 Cranberry (13-7) vs. Greensburg Central Catholic (14-3) at Cranberry High School, 4:00 p.m.
9-2 Moniteau (13-10) vs. 10-1 Sharpsville (18-3) at Allegheny College, 1:00 p.m.
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