H.S. Softball: District 2 going to power-rating system in 2019

By John Erzar - [email protected]
Holy Redeemer pitcher Morgan Bienkowski, who has more than 500 career strikeouts, and the Royals open the District 2 Class 3A Tournament at home on Thursday against the GAR vs. Dunmore winner. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

After this season, there is no more free passes to the District 2 softball playoffs.

The district is eliminating the open-tournament format, which allowed teams regardless of record to make the postseason except in Class 5A and Class A. Those two classifications are in a subregional with District 11 and use D11’s power-rating system that takes into account not only wins and losses but who they came against. Non-conference games will count as well.

District 2 will adopt the power-rating system, which it used for basketball this past season, in 2019. That means in Class 4A, 3A and 2A only the top-eight teams will move to districts unless teams ninth or worse have an overall winning percentage of .500 or better.

Class 6A won’t change since it has three District 2 teams and District 4’s Williamsport in it. However, the seedings could look different because of the power-rating formula.

The district tournaments begin this week with two Wyoming Valley Conference teams – Class 6A Hazleton Area and Class 4A Tunkhannock – looking to get back to PIAA state championship games.

Here’s a look at all six classifications.

CLASS 6A

The district’s highest classification has been a two-horse race the last six years and looks like it will remain that way.

Hazleton Area (12-1) and District 4’s Williamsport (9-6) have met for the subregional championship every year since 2012 – last year at Class 6A for the first time and the previous years at 4A. It’s doubtful that will change. The rest of the field consists of Scranton (7-6) and Delaware Valley (4-9).

CLASS 5A

The tournament will once again be a subregional with District 11, which will be represented by Southern Lehigh (15-5).

Pittston Area (8-5) is the only WVC squad in the five-team bracket. Wyoming Valley West (2-11) failed to qualify since the power-rating system is already in place for this class. The Patriots made an improbable run from the seventh seed to the title game last year and return many players from that team.

However, the field looks a bit stronger this season with defending champ Abington Heights (12-1) leading the way.

CLASS 4A

No doubt that Class 4A will be the most competitive. Even defending champ and state runner-up Tunkhannock (10-3) isn’t safe. The Tigers have lost to two teams in the bracket – Berwick (7-6) and Wyoming Area (7-6).

Nanticoke Area (8-5) recovered from a 1-3 start to snag the third seed.

Even seventh-seeded Dallas (6-7) and eighth-seed Honesdale (5-8) could make runs at the crown. Dallas lost two games by one run and two more by two runs. Honesdale has two one-run losses and three two-run losses.

Western Wayne (0-13) opted out of the playoffs, the only D2 team in any classification to do so. Considering the record, the school district smartly saw the inevitable and saved some cash it would have cost to travel to a road game.

CLASS 3A

Holy Redeemer (14-0) and Montrose (12-0) tied for the top seed, but Montrose got it via the fourth tiebreaker — a coin flip.

After winning Class 2A state titles in 2015 and 2016, Redeemer lost in the D2-3A title game in 2017. The offense isn’t as strong as in recent seasons, but pitcher Morgan Bienkowski is one of the best in the state and her arm could get the Royals back in states.

Mid Valley (10-2) is the third seed and the defending champion.

Fourth-seeded Lake-Lehman (11-3) brings a six-game winning streak into the tournament. Hanover Area (9-5) is very young and has two one-run losses, but finished 1-3 vs. Redeemer and Lehman.

Meyers (4-9) and GAR (1-13) are the other WVC teams in the playoffs, although neither is expected to make much noise.

CLASS 2A

Northwest (7-6) and Wyoming Seminary (8-6) are the only WVC teams in the nine-team field. Just their luck, they meet in the quarterfinals.

Northwest recovered nicely from a three-game losing streak in mid-April. Seminary has a couple head-scratching losses – 13-1 and 10-0 to Lake-Lehman – but otherwise has shown it could make a run at the D2-2A title.

Holy Cross (9-3), a perennial Lackawanna League power, is the top seed and defending champ.

CLASS A

MMI Prep (1-13), the WVC’s only Class A team, didn’t make the field for the subregional with District 11.

Forest City (6-6) is District 2’s only representative in the bracket.

DISTRICT SOFTBALL GLANCE

DISTRICT 2/4 CLASS 6A

(one team to states)

Wednesday

Semifinals

Delaware Valley (4-9) at Hazleton Area (12-1), 4:30 p.m.

Scranton (7-6) at Williamsport (9-6), 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 30

Championship, site & time TBA

DISTRICT 2/11 CLASS 5A

(one team to states)

Tuesday

Quarterfinals

North Pocono (9-4) at Southern Lehigh (15-6), 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 29

Semifinals

North Pocono/S.Lehigh winner at Abington Heights (12-1), 4:30 p.m.

Pittston Area (8-5) at Wallenpaupack (8-5), 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 31

Championship, site & time TBA

DISTRICT 2 CLASS 4A

(Two teams to states)

Tuesday

First Round

Crestwood (4-9) at Honesdale (5-8), 4:30 p.m.

Coughlin (1-12) at Berwick (7-6), 4:30 p.m.

Scranton Prep (4-9) at Dallas (6-7), 4:30 p.m.

Thursday

Quarterfinals

Crestwood/Honesdale winner at Tunkhannock (10-3), 4:30 p.m.

Wyoming Area (7-6) at West Scranton (7-6), 4:30 p.m.

Berwick/Coughlin winner at Nanticoke Area (8-5), 4:30 p.m.

Dallas/Scranton Prep winner at Valley View (9-4), 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 29

Semifinals, sites & times TBA

Friday, June 1

Championship, site & time TBA

DISTRICT 2 CLASS 3A

(one team to states)

Tuesday

First Round

Carbondale (1-11) at Meyers (4-9), 4:30 p.m.

GAR (1-13) at Dunmore (6-6), 4:30 p.m.

Thursday

Quarterfinals

Carbondale/Meyers winner at Montrose (12-0), 4:30 p.m.

Lakeland (8-4) at Lake-Lehman (11-3), 4:30 p.m.

Hanover Area (9-5) at Mid Valley (10-2), 4:30 p.m.

GAR/Dunmore winner at Holy Redeemer (14-0), 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 29

Semifinals, sites & times TBA

Friday, June 1

Championship, site & time TBA

DISTRICT 2 CLASS 2A

Monday

First Round

Riverside (2-10) at Mountain View (2-10), 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday

Quarterfinals

Riverside/Mtn. View winner at Holy Cross, 4:30 p.m.

Wyoming Seminary (8-6) at Northwest (8-6), 4:30 p.m.

Old Forge (6-6) at Blue Ridge (8-4), 4:30 p.m.

Elk Lake (5-7) at Lackawanna Trail (8-4), 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 29

Semifinals, sites & times TBA

Friday, June 1

Championship, site & time TBA

DISTRICT 2/11 CLASS A

(one team to states)

Tuesday

Quarterfinals

Forest City (6-6) at Mahanoy Area (13-7), 4:30 p.m.

Lincoln Leadership (5-9) at Nativity BVM (14-6), 4:30 p.m.

Thursday

Semifinals

Forest City/Mahanoy Area winner at Williams Valley (18-1)

Lincoln/Nativity winner at Notre Dame-East Stroud. (16-3)

Tuesday, May 29

Championship, site & time TBA

Holy Redeemer pitcher Morgan Bienkowski, who has more than 500 career strikeouts, and the Royals open the District 2 Class 3A Tournament at home on Thursday against the GAR vs. Dunmore winner.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_TTL041118HSSB-Redeemer-Lehman_1.jpgHoly Redeemer pitcher Morgan Bienkowski, who has more than 500 career strikeouts, and the Royals open the District 2 Class 3A Tournament at home on Thursday against the GAR vs. Dunmore winner. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
District 2 going to power-rating system in 2019

By John Erzar

[email protected]

Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar

Reach John Erzar at 570-991-6394 or on Twitter @TLJohnErzar