District 2 Softball: WVC hopes bring top playoffs seeds brings better success

May 19—The Wyoming Valley Conference softball had three top seeds in last year's District 2 playoffs. Only one of them — Hazleton Area — played for a district championship.

The WVC has only two top seeds this year — Hazleton Area in Class 6A and Pittston Area in Class 5A.

Lake-Lehman is currently the top seed in Class 3A, leading Mid Valley for the spot by 0.0006 as of Saturday. However, Lehman plays its final game Sunday night at Dallas. Once that game is completed — regardless of the outcome — Lehman will drop to the second seed and Mid Valley will become the top seed.

Dallas is the eighth seed in Class 4A right now, but would move to the seventh seed if it defeats Lehman. In that case, Nanticoke Area would drop from seventh to eighth.

The seeds were decided by a power rankings formula, something done in districts throughout the state. So some teams with better overall records received lower seeds. Only regular-season games count toward the power rankings.


Seedings: 1. Hazleton Area (9-11); 2. Wilkes-Barre Area (10-9); 3. Williamsport (7-12); 4. Wyoming Valley West (4-10); 5. Delaware Valley (5-15)

Defending champion: Hazleton Area

Championship: Tuesday, May 28, time/site TBD

Outlook: Hazleton Area has won all six D2-6A title since the PIAA expanded to six classifications in 2017. (the 2020 season was canceled because of COVID-19). The Cougars won six consecutive D2-4A championships prior to that. Marissa Hoffman, Nanci Major and Olivia Williams are all hitting over .400. However, the team hasn't been as consistent as in the past.

Wilkes-Barre Area has been the biggest surprise in the WVC. The Wolfpack had their best season in their brief history, including victories of 6-4 and 9-6 over Hazleton Area. They won't just four games in 2023. Kayce Martin, Madalyn McGuinness and Jordan Prushinski are the top hitter on an offense which has improved dramatically from a year ago.

Wyoming Valley West has defeated Wilkes-Barre Area twice and has a pair of one-run losses to Hazleton Area. Madison Austra hit .515 to lead a fairly solid offense.

District 4's Williamsport is having a down season by its standards. Brenna Beck has five home runs for the Millionaires, who lost their first five games.


Seedings: 1. Pittston Area (16-1); 2. Wallenpaupack (15-3); 3. Abington Heights (15-5); 4. Shikellamy (12-7);

5. West Scranton (9-11); 6. Crestwood (6-14); 7. Scranton (0-20)

Defending champion: Abington Heights

Championship: Tuesday, May 28, time/site TBD

Outlook: Pittston Area has one of the best pitchers in WVC history in Gianna Adams, so the Patriots will be in every game. Adams has five no-hitters, including two perfect games, this season and 740 career strikeouts. Pittston Area will need to improve its clutch hitting because this is a very tough bracket.

Crestwood, the other WVC team, has lost six of its last seven games. The offense didn't produce much in that stretch, although it needs to be noted the schedule was quite difficult. The Comets also have four one-run losses on their docket.

Wallenpaupack hasn't won a district crown since 2011, but this could be the Buckhorns' year. They have one-run losses to D2-4A powers Valley View and North Pocono and the offense can put runs on the board.

Defending champion Abington Heights has six players hitting .350 or better, including power hitter Lauren Stalica. She has eight home runs. The Comets have lost to Wallenpaupack twice this season.

District 4's Shikellamy has the bats to match up with anyone. However, the Braves will need better pitching to make any noise in the tournament. They had a game scheduled for Saturday, but it won't affect seedings.


Seedings: 1. Valley View (17-3); 2. Tunkhannock (15-5); 3. North Pocono (15-5); 4. Berwick (13-7); 5. Wyoming Area (10-9); 6. Scranton Prep (6-11); 7. Nanticoke Area (6-14) or Dallas (3-15); 8. Nanticoke Area (6-14) or Dallas (3-15)

Defending champion: Valley View

Championship: Wednesday, May 29, time/site TBD

Outlook: An all-WVC quarterfinal between Wyoming Area and Berwick should be a good one. The teams split a pair of one-run games in the regular season. Berwick senior Gabby Starr is hitting over .500. Wyoming Area freshman Addison Gaylord is part of a promising core of young players.

Just about all the pieces from Tunkhannock's 2022 district championship team are gone. Erin Van Ness and McKenzie Hannon are two holdovers on team which will return just about everyone in 2025.

Nanticoke Area and Dallas, the other WVC teams, have monumental tasks in the quarterfinals.

Valley View lost two of its last three games, but those setbacks were to D2-5A top seed Pittston Area and D2-5A second seed Wallenpaupack. Abbi Call has 13 home runs and Kalli Karwowski has eight. Call is one of the top pitchers in the bracket.

North Pocono handed Pittston Area's only loss, 2-1 in eight innings. The Trojans had seven hits against Pittston Area's Gianna Adams, who had surrendered 16 total in 15 other starts. They've lost by one run to Lackawanna League powers Valley View and Wallenpaupack.


Seedings: 1. Mid Valley (19-1); 2. Lake-Lehman (16-2); 3. Holy Redeemer (12-8); 4. Riverside (11-8); 5. Carbondale Area (10-10); 6. Western Wayne (8-12); 7. Hanover Area (2-14);

Defending champion: Mid Valley

Championship: Wednesday, May 29, time/site TBD

Outlook: Lake-Lehman leads Mid Valley in the power rankings by 0.0006 entering its Sunday night regular-season finale with rival Dallas. But once that game is played, Lehman will drop to the second seed regardless of the outcome.

Before anyone declares this a two-horse race based on records, Holy Redeemer needs to be examined. The Royals played a tough non-WVC schedule which included North Pocono, Valley View and a 17-2 Loyalsock team out of District 4. They have lost five games by one run.

Plus, Redeemer bumped off Lehman in the semifinals last year and have solid pitching with Anne Carter and hitting with Abby Williams and Bella Boylan leading the offense to get back to the championship game.

Lehman's only losses were to D2-5A top seed Pittston Area and D11-3A second seed Pine Grove. Kirsten Finarelli is one of the most feared hitters in the state. Lucy Honeywell, the only senior in the lineup, also has some pop in her bat. Pitcher Hannah Chipego is among the best in District 2.

Mid Valley has won the last four D2-3A championships. The Spartans have scored 10 or more runs nine times. Natalie Barrett, Krista Cortazar and Elise Larson are power hitters in a lineup that also hits for average. Freshman Ava Hazelton has turned in a very strong season in the circle.


Seedings: 1. Elk Lake (18-1); 2. Holy Cross (13-6); 3. Dunmore (11-8); 4. Lackawanna Trail (9-7); 5. Blue Ridge (9-7); 6. Montrose (10-8); 7. Lakeland (3-15)

Defending champion: Elk Lake

Championship: Tuesday, May 28, time/site TBD

Outlook: There are no WVC teams in the bracket.

Elk Lake looks like a shoo-in for its fourth consecutive D2-2A crown. The Warriors have shut out 11 opponents, including the final five to end the season.

A side note on sixth-seeded Montrose. The Meteors have played in a couple scorekeeper's nightmares, defeating Forest City 32-17 and Lakeland 20-14.


Seedings: 1. Old Forge (14-6); 2. Mountain View (6-13); 3. Susquehanna (3-16); 4. Forest City (0-15)

Defending champion: Old Forge

Championship: Wednesday, May 29, time/site TBD

Outlook: There are no WVC teams here.

Old Forge has won the last four D2-A championships and looks like a lock for another.

Everyone else has a losing record, something that enforces arguments of opponents of the PIAA going to six classifications in 2017.