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Sorting out the YAIAA Division IV baseball race

With one week left in the YAIAA baseball season, there's one division race that has about the same amount of clarity it had when the season started six weeks ago.

That's Division IV, where three teams are tied for first place in the loss column. After rain wreaked havoc recently, the title picture is muddied even more because each team has a different number of games remaining.

Ever since the YAIAA went to a four-division format for baseball in 2009, Delone Catholic has won every Division IV title. The Squires won them all outright, except a split with York Catholic in 2011. This year, though, they're hardly in the driver's seat.

Entering the week, York Catholic is 9-4 in divisional play, Delone Catholic is 8-4 and Biglerville is 6-4. Oh, and if total chaos ensues, Fairfield is still in the mix at 7-6.

York Catholic has the simplest path to the title since it has only two games left. The Fighting Irish visit Biglerville on Monday and host Delone Catholic on Tuesday, and they'd clinch the division title outright with wins in both games. They beat both teams in the first meetings earlier this season.

Their path would be even simpler had they finished off a victory Thursday at Fairfield. Nick DeMarco bashed a seventh-inning single that put York Catholic up 4-3, but shoddy defense in the bottom half of the inning led to the Knights winning on a walk-off hit.

“We have to finish," York Catholic coach Joe Gurreri said. "Our defense is probably our strength, but in that last inning (against Fairfield), it wasn’t. Hopefully next time, we’ll be a little more mentally tough.”

If the Fighting Irish lose one game or both games, things get a lot more complicated. Delone Catholic and Biglerville each play Hanover early this week, before a potentially huge game in McSherrystown on Wednesday. Barring more bad weather, that will be the Squires' last game. Biglerville, though, has games on Thursday (vs. Fairfield) and Friday (at York County Tech), making for a busy week that features five games in five days.

The Division IV title isn't the only thing on the line as these teams duke it out this week. Right now, all three teams plus Fairfield are ranked Nos. 7-10 in the District 3 Class AA power rankings. The top 10 teams qualify, but No. 11 Tulpehocken is just .0003 points out of 10th and .025 points out of seventh, so every game from here on out is critical for each team's playoff hopes.