TOP SEEDS: Shaler first, Hempfield second, Peters Township third, Norwin fourth.
THE WINNER WILL BE: Hempfield. The Spartans have proven themselves with wins against No. 1 seed Shaler and also a strong North Allegheny team. Hempfield doesn't have a dominating pitcher, but the Spartans have a top-notch offense, scoring 10 runs or more in six games. Alyssa Bates is one of the top hitters.
SLEEPER: North Allegheny. The Tigers split two games with No. 1 seed Shaler, and their offense has been strong at times this season.
THE SCOOP: Shaler has one of the WPIAL's top players in catcher Lauren Hackett, a Robert Morris recruit. Sydney Smyers is not a dominating pitcher but certainly capable of leading the Titans to a title. ... No. 4 seed Norwin tied Hempfield for the Section 1 title, but Norwin is not playoff tested. ... Watch for Peters Township. The Indians have two Division I college players -- pitcher Tara Konopka (13-4 with 1.02 ERA) will attend Drexel, and catcher Morgan Matetic (.412 batting average) is a George Washington recruit. ... Canon-McMillan could make some noise with a solid battery of pitcher Alayna Astuto and catcher Giorgiana Zeremenko. ... Latrobe is the defending champion but finished third in Section 1."