Now that the dust has settled from Dallastown's dramatic YAIAA baseball tournament championship win, it's time to look ahead to the PIAA District 3 playoffs.
The district tournament starts Monday, and the YAIAA will be well represented with seven teams. And Christian School of York also advanced to the postseason. Dallastown (seeded fourth in Class AAAA) and Northeastern (seeded third in Class AAA) will host first-round games while the rest of the York-Adams contingent heads on the road.
Let's take a look at the hypothetical crystal ball for some predictions:
Which team has the best chance to make a deep postseason run?
Dallastown may be the best team in the York area overall, but Northeastern has a better draw and therefore a better chance to make a run. Why? Because they're on the opposite side of the bracket as the No. 1-seeded team, unlike Dallastown. The Wildcats could see the top team in the semifinals if both teams make it that far. The Bobcats (seeded third) face No. 14 Hamburg (12-8), then the winner of No. 6 Daniel Boone vs. No. 11 East Pennsboro, so a path to at least the semifinals is favorable. The Bobcats have been one of the area's hottest teams, winning 13 of their last 14 before surrendering a late lead to Dallastown in the YAIAA title game.
The Wildcats and Christian School of York are both capable of making deep postseason runs as well. Keep an eye on all three teams as the playoffs open this week.
Who has the best chance of pulling off an upset?
Give me West York (No. 12 in Class AAA) in this category. Some of the other lower seeds have solid cases for this, too. Delone Catholic (No. 10) in Class AA has already beaten their first-round opponent, Biglerville (No. 7), and Spring Grove has talent to win a district playoff game despite a late-season slide that dropped them to No. 13 in AAA. But West York is the most likely to pull off an early upset. After some uncharacteristic struggles early in the season, the Bulldogs adjusted and quietly won five of their last six games entering the playoffs. They're playing well and their first-round opponent, Palmyra, is good but not unbeatable. And wouldn't the West York fan base enjoy upsetting another team after being knocked out in the first round as a No. 1 and No. 3 team the last two seasons? Keep an eye on the Bulldogs.
Who will be the biggest impact player?
Pitching is even more important in the postseason, so extra pressure will be on the guys on the mound to perform at a high level. This category could go to Spring Grove's Matt Brooks, but with his playing status up in the air, guys like Kody Reeser (Northeastern), Riley Hamberger (Dallastown), Brenden Kennedy (York Catholic), Brandon Knarr/Colby Shimmel (Eastern York) and Ben Bills (Christian School of York) could all determine whether their teams advance or go home early.
How many York-Adams area teams will still be standing after Monday's first-round action?
There are guaranteed to be at least two since four York-Adams teams play each other in the Class AA bracket — York Catholic faces Fairfield and Biglerville faces Delone. Three other teams — Dallastown, CSY and Northeastern — will be favored, bringing the York-Adams area to five likely winners. The other three teams (Eastern York, Spring Grove, West York) are seeded No. 12 or lower in their brackets.