Mother Nature may have other ideas, but if the rain holds off, Thursday’s slate of District 9 playoff games features plenty of intriguing matchups across three classes in both baseball and softball.
Down at Showers Field in DuBois, the fourth-seeded Bradford Owls travel to face top-seed Punxsutawney in the Class AAAA semifinals. Bradford, which posted a 5-13 record in the regular season, was competitive in both regular season matchups against the Chucks.
The Owls opened up its regular season with a 4-3 defeat against Punxsy before dropping a 6-2 decision to the Chucks at home. In that second game, Bradford held a 2-1 lead going into the seventh inning before Punxsy surged ahead for five runs to win the game.
Bradford enters the postseason with a 2-9 mark over its last 11 games, but lost four of those games by two runs or less.
First pitch in DuBois is set for 4 p.m. with the other semifinal matchup between St. Marys and Clearfield to follow. The winners face-off in the title game on Wednesday, May 29 with a trip to the PIAA tournament on the line.
Elsewhere on the diamond, Coudersport and Johnsonburg battle in the Class AA semifinals at 4 p.m. at Berwind Park in St. Marys. The two teams have matched up twice already this season, with the Falcons earning 7-3 and 2-0 victories. The top-seeded Falcons earned a bye in the quarterfinals, while Jburg edged Brockway for a 5-3 victory Tuesday. The Rams had just three hits in that game, but the fourth-seeded Johnsonburg’s Daunte Allegretto hit a 3-run homer to send them onto the next round. Johnsonburg is the defending Class AA champion, while Coudy was upset in the first round last season.
The other semifinal contest in Class AA pits second-seed Moniteau against third-seed Karns City at 6 p.m. at Pullman Park in Butler.
The semifinal winners will play next Tuesday in the title game at Showers Field.
In Class A, the Otto-Eldred Terrors, still brimming from their walk-off victory over Port Allegany on Tuesday, will face Clarion-Limestone at 4 o’clock at the Wilcox Legion Field. The two teams did not meet in the regular season. The third-seeded Lions edged Clarion County foe North Clarion 11-4 in the first round on Tuesday.
Clarion-Limestone lost to eventual Class A champion DuBois Central Catholic in the consolation round last season, while Otto-Eldred missed the playoffs altogether in 2018.
Awaiting the winner of that game will be the victor of this afternoon’s other Class A semifinal matchup between Elk County Catholic and DuBois Central Catholic.
The two teams faced just last week, with DCC pulling off a 10-0, five inning victory. The top-seeded Cardinals had a bye in the first round, while the fifth-seeded Crusaders needed eight innings to top Clarion on the road, 2-0. ECC’s ace Hunter Cashmer went the distance in that game, striking out 10 batters and allowing just two hits.
The Class A baseball title game is also set for next Tuesday at Showers Field.
The afternoon slates are just as busy on the softball field.
Otto-Eldred, the top seed in Class A, begins its postseason against DuBois Catholic at 3:30 at Benzinger Park in St. Marys. The Lady Terrors earned a first-round bye with their impressive 17-2 regular season mark. DCC, the fifth seed, dismantled Coudersport 15-3 in the first round of the playoffs on Tuesday. The Cardinals, which haven’t lost a played game this year, instead had to forfeit nine contests because they used an ineligible player. Otto-Eldred won its last four regular season games by a combined 54 runs
On the other side of the Class A bracket, second-seeded Clarion will face third-seeded A-C Valley for a shot at the title game set for next Wednesday at Heindl Field in DuBois.
A state playoff berth will also be granted this afternoon, as top-seeded Punxsutawney and second-seed St. Marys grapple in the Class AAAA title game in DuBois. First pitch is set for 3 o’clock. The Lady Chucks, of course, are the defending state champions in Class AAAA, and outscored St. Marys 16-2 in the two regular season meetings.