As the baseball season winds down and the state championships are only three days away, Riverside is the only WPIAL team standing.
Riverside will play in the PIAA Class AA final Friday at Penn State, and the Panthers are the only WPIAL team to make it to the finals. Is this unusual, only one WPIAL team making the state finals? Is WPIAL baseball on a downward trend? Not really.
Just because only one team from the WPIAL has made it to the state finals doesn't mean there is not talent in the WPIAL. This is actually the second time in three years that only one WPIAL team made it to the state finals. In 2010, it was only Serra.
But it was only three years ago that three WPIAL teams made the state finals. In 2009, it was Chartiers Valley, Serra and South Fayette. So, things do indeed go in cycles.
There have been four classifications in PIAA since 2005. The PIAA had three classifications from 1999 through 2004. Since the start of three classifications in 1999, this is only the third time the WPIAL has had only one team in the state finals. Besides this year and 2009, the other time was 2000, when only North Allegheny made it.
Only one in softball
In softball, Neshannock is the only WPIAL team that has made the state finals. The Lancers are in the Class AA final Friday at Penn State.
Rider the hero
There will be a former WPIAL player in the College World Series. It's not often you can that.
Peters Township graduate Jim Rider is the starting shortstop for Kent State, which defeated Oregon, 3-2, Monday night to gain a CWS berth.
Rider was the hero for Kent State, driving in the winning run with a bloop single to left field in the bottom of the ninth. Rider, who was a 26th-round draft choice of the Pirates last week, had two hits in the win.
Rider is the all-time hits leader in the Mid-American Conference. Kent State will begin play in the College World Series Saturday against Arkansas.