Things have gotten pretty interesting in YAIAA Division II.
For most of the season, it appeared Susquehannock had a pretty firm hold on the division lead. The Warriors started the season 11-0 and had signature wins against Dover and Dallastown. But over the last two weeks, the race between Susquehannock and Dover has heated up.
Last week, the Warriors (12-2, 9-2 YAIAA) lost to Central York and Spring Grove, while Dover (11-4, 9-3) beat Spring Grove and New Oxford. With one week left in the season, Susquehannock holds just a half-game lead over Dover and will play the Eagles on Monday.
When the two teams played last on April 20, the Warriors barely edged the Eagles, 7-6. Susquehannock ace pitcher Maddy Staub struck out seven batters in a complete-game performance and was one of three Warriors to hit a double.
So when they meet Monday at Dover, it should once again be a very competitive game. The Eagles won Division II last season, and with a number of returning players including Alyssa Lawton, Natalie Cutright and Taylor Lamparter, they have the potential to repeat.
Susquehannock has two more division contests next week against Gettysburg and West York, while Dover has only one more against West York.
YAIAA tournament matchups shaping up
While we don't know the official semifinal matchups just yet, we do have a good idea of what they will be.
This year, the Division I champion will play the Division III winner, while the Division II and Division IV winners play. Right now, Delone Catholic has clinched Division IV outright while Littlestown has a share of Division III and will likely clinch outright early next week. Central York has a two-game lead over Dallastown in Division I and Susquehannock and Dover are still competing for Division II.
However it all shakes out, the semifinals will be very intriguing since teams from Divisions I and II rarely play teams in Divisions III and IV.
Littlestown hasn't played Central York or Dallastown this season, and the Bolts should be challenged by a team of that caliber. But Littlestown has lost only once this season — a 3-2 decision to Greencastle-Antrim — and fields a very experienced team. Either matchup there would be fun.
The other semifinal game could be a rematch, since Susquehannock beat Delone Catholic, 7-2, on April 4. But after losing in the league championship game last season, the Squirettes won't be satisfied losing in the previous round this year. Dover and Delone Catholic have not played this season.
And who knows which teams will end up playing in the league title game? A rematch between Central York and Susquehannock would be entertaining, as would Littlestown vs. Delone Catholic. Maybe we get a repeat of last season's championship match between Central and Delone. We'll have to see how it shakes out.
Plenty of teams in district playoff picture
The YAIAA tournament is going to be really fun this year, but it won't be the final destination for the teams competing.
Current division leaders Central York, Susquehannock, Littlestown and Delone Catholic are all talented enough to go on deep runs in the District 3 playoffs and qualify for the PIAA tournament. Right now, the Panthers are fifth in Class AAAA, the Warriors and Thunderbolts are third and fifth in Class AAA. The Squirettes are second in Class AA.
But there are a number of other teams comfortably in the district playoffs or still fighting to qualify. Dallastown, Dover, Kennard-Dale and Fairfield are all in at the moment while York Suburban and Spring Grove are right on the outside.
Because of the many postponements over the past two weeks, some teams have at least three games to play next week. So there's still plenty of time for teams to sneak into the playoffs or just miss the cut.