6 Franklin Co. teams reach baseball, softball playoffs
When the District 3 baseball and softball tournaments get started Monday, Franklin County - as usual in these sports - will be well-represented, and a pair of teams received No 1 seeds.
In baseball's first round, Greencastle-Antrim will host a game in Class AAA, while in AAAA, Waynesboro will play on the road.
Tuesday, when softball starts up, four teams swing into action, with Chambersburg (AAAA) and Greencastle (AAA) hosting games and James Buchanan (AAA) and Waynesboro (AAAA) having to travel to Lancaster County. This is the first year in memory that softball has allowed the higher seeds to host first-round games.
Shippensburg's softball team (12-7) had the cruel fate of finishing with the No. 17 ranking in Class AAAA, just missing a berth in the tournament.
The Blue Devils (17-1) earned the No. 1 seed in baseball in AAA and will host No. 16 Eastern York (13-7). Waynesboro (14-6), No. 10 in baseball, will hop on I-81 for a matchup with No. 7 Cumberland Valley (13-6) at 4:30.
A year ago, Greencastle won a rain-shortened game in the first round, then fell to Spring Grove in the quarterfinals. This year, its only loss was a 9-4 defeat to Muhlenberg, the No. 6 team in AAAA.
Waynesboro's last entry in the district playoffs was in 2014, when it lost in the first round. Chambersburg is a common opponent shared by the Indians and CV, with 'Boro beating the Trojans 14-6 and 10-7, while the Eagles topped Chambersburg 9-5 and 3-2.
In softball, Chambersburg (18-4) earned the No. 1 seed in the power rankings, but is 3-3 in its last six games, including a 6-3 defeat to Lower Dauphin in the Mid Penn championship game. The Trojans will host No. 16 Muhlenberg (14-8) on Tuesday at Norlo Park at 4:30.
Chambersburg has won 11 District 3 championships in softball, but the last one came in 2002 under coach Harvey Staver. In the five years since Staver retired, the Trojans lost their first game three years in a row, then bowed out in the quarterfinals in 2014 and last year, when it lost 5-0 to Daniel Boone. The program's last appearance in the PIAA Tournament came in 2009 - the top four teams in District 3 qualify for states.
Greencastle has had a great record in the playoffs recently. The Blue Devils won the District 3-AAA title in 2013, lost in the quarterfinals the next season, and last year placed fourth (only the top three move advance to states).
The AAA No. 2 seed Blue Devils (15-5) will host a familiar foe Tuesday at 4:30 - No. 15 Big Spring (11-9). G-A coach Mark DeCarli believes his team's season turned around when, in the seventh game of the season, the Bulldogs administered a 20-5 beat down of the Blue Devils. Since then Greencastle is 11-2.
James Buchanan (10-8) claimed the final spot in the Class AAA field, the No. 16 seed, and its reward is a trip Tuesday to play No. 1 seed Lampeter-Strasburg at 4:30. The Pioneers are 20-1 after being upset in the Lancaster-Lebanon League tournament by Hempfield.
The Rockets have reached the quarterfinal round of districts in each of the last two seasons.
Waynesboro's softball team is making its first appearance in the playoffs since 2010. The Maidens (13-6), the No. 14 seed, face No. 3 Penn Manor (19-3), which was defeated by Hempfield in the L-L championship game, in a 4:30 contest.
District 5 Class A opens its baseball playoffs on Wednesday, with pairings to be made official on Sunday.