The PIAA District 1 softball playoffs will resume Wednesday, and Central Bucks South, West Chester East and Upper Perkiomen are the favorites in their respective classes.
Central Bucks South is the No. 1 seed in Class 6A after a 16-3 season. The Titans went 9-3 in the Suburban One League Continental Conference to clinch at least a share of the league title for a second consecutive year. They finished tied for first with North Penn.
Senior shortstop Alex DeLeon, junior outfielder Alexa Ortman, sophomore outfielder Maddie Rowley, and sophomore second baseman Katie Hines lead the way on offense for the Titans, who posted a team batting average this season of .339. DeLeon, who picked up her 100th career hit earlier this month, posted a team-best .471 average to go along with 22 RBIs, 19 runs and one homer.
Junior Kylie Kenney is the ace of a pitching staff that has a team ERA of 2.43. She went 11-3 with a 2.54 ERA, 122 strikeouts, 14 complete games, three shutouts and three saves.
According to head coach Kevin Rosini, Central Bucks South will continue to rely on its solid defense and pitching staff while doing the little things offensively to make a deep playoff run.
Team chemistry will also play a big factor in the Titans' success.
"Our players always talk about having each other's backs, and that has been evident throughout the season," said Rosini. "No matter what the score or the inning, this team is always believing that they will find a way to win that day."
The Titans received a first-round bye and will play Central Bucks West on Wednesday. The Bucks defeated Owen J. Roberts, 3-2, in the first round on Monday.
West Chester East battled through injuries all season to earn the top seed in Class 5A. The Vikings went 16-4 overall and 15-4 in the Ches-Mont League to finish second behind Avon Grove in the National Division.
"Throughout our 20 games this season, we've never had a lineup that looked the same," said East coach Bobby Swier. "We had multiple injuries, which gave the opportunity for other players to see the field. From our seniors all the way down to our freshman, we have managed to come together and continue to play as one team."
Freshman Jess Gomez has been a force in the circle and at the plate. In addition to going 12-2 with a 3.01 ERA and 68 strikeouts, she posted a .410 batting average with six doubles, two triples, 18 RBIs and 10 runs.
The Vikings are also led by sophomore outfielder Paige Olson, who played in only 12 games due to injury. Freshman outfielder/third baseman Amanda Gomez, junior outfielder Kinzie Thompson and junior second baseman Kelsey McLaughlin also played big roles. Amanda Gomez recorded a .508 batting average with 26 RBIs, five doubles, one triple, one homer and 14 stolen bases.
"As we prepare to start the playoffs, the biggest key to our success will be playing unselfish softball," said Swier. "We look to have great plate discipline and continue to play solid defense."
East opened the playoffs with a 16-1 victory over Marple Newtown on Monday. The Vikings will face West Chester Henderson in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Upper Perkiomen will try to repeat as Class 4A champions. The second-seeded Indians went 15-4 overall and won the Pioneer Athletic Conference Frontier Division with a 14-2 mark. The PAC softball playoffs were washed out due to last week's rain.
Taylor Lindsay (.508 BA, 26 RBIs, 6 HRs), Morgan Lindsay (.517 BA, 31 RBIs, 29 runs, 7 HRs), Karlee Fretz (.536 BA, 20 RBIs, 14 runs), Alyssa Sullivan (.373 BA, 18 RBIs, 20 runs, 3 HRs), and Jenna Sullivan (.418 BA, 18 runs, 28 hits) highlight a powerful lineup. Taylor Lindsay (8-3) and Fretz (6-1) also shined in the circle during the regular season.
"Our team's success [in the playoffs] will be how we approach our plate appearance," said Upper Perkiomen head coach Dean Sullivan. "We have a very powerful and aggressive lineup, but pitch selection sometimes is not the greatest."
Upper Perkiomen hopes to build off a memorable 2017 season, which included the program's first district title and state playoff win. The Indians beat Villa Maria for the District 1 crown before falling to Bangor in the state quarterfinals.
The Indians start the playoffs on Wednesday against Nazareth.