NOTEBOOK: Upper Dublin, Upper Moreland set to decide SOL American

Upper Dublin and Upper Moreland will play for the second time in seven days Monday afternoon to decide the Suburban One League American Conference championship.

Last week’s game lived up to and surpassed expectations when Upper Dublin scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh to walk off 6-5 winners and take a two-game lead in the loss column over the Bears.

The league title picture become less clear when the Cardinals lost at home Thursday afternoon to Wissahickon, 9-7, in nine innings and Upper Moreland won its other two games in the week.

Monday, Upper Dublin (10-1) will travel to Upper Moreland (10-2).

The Cardinals likely have the league title locked up, but what’s left to be seen is whether they will have the crown to themselves or share the title with the Bears.

In the last meeting, both teams pitched their aces, who would each have a full week of rest if their coaches decide to throw them again.

Upper Dublin’s Cole Swiger allowed five runs in five innings on five hits. Upper Moreland’s Joe Bates went 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits. Before the bottom of the seventh inning, Bates had only allowed three hits in the game. Neither of the starters earned a decision.

Both teams are in great position for the District 1 playoffs. In the latest unofficial power rankings, the Cardinals were No. 4 in the AAAA rankings, where the top 26 teams make the playoffs. The Bears are listed No. 2 in the AAA ranks, where the top seven teams advance to the postseason.

District 1 Class AAAA

Wissahickon was ranked No. 20 in the latest power rankings. Since the rankings were released, Wissahickon went 2-1, sandwiching wins against Norristown and Upper Dublin around a loss to Plymouth Whitemarsh. The win against Upper Dublin lifted the Trojans to 9-3 in SOL American play. Coach John Bernhardt believed nine wins would be enough to secure a spot in the postseason.

Elsewhere in the SOL American Conference, Cheltenham is making a late-season push for the playoffs, but it may be a little too late. The Panthers were No. 42 in the latest rankings and would need to jump 16 teams to extend their season. They have gone 2-1 since, but even if they win the rest of their games it would be tough to expect a playoff berth.

The SOL Continental Conference has six teams pushing to make the field of 26. Central Bucks South was No. 10 in the latest rankings and appears to have a spot locked up. Pennridge was No. 15, Souderton No. 23, Central Bucks West No. 25, Quakertown No. 27 and North Penn No. 35. Since the rankings were released, Pennridge has gone 2-2, Souderton 1-1, West 1-2, Quakertown 1-2 and North Penn, the defending state champs, 3-0.

As for the SOL Continental championship race, South has a 1.5-game lead over Pennridge and two-game lead over North Penn and Souderton. South’s remaining league games are against West (6-6) and Hatboro-Horsham (5-7).

In the SOL National Conference, Abington is right on the edge of making the postseason. In the latest unofficial rankings, the Ghosts checked in as the final playoff team at No. 26. They went 1-1 this past week and still have league games against Neshaminy, Council Rock South and Harry S. Truman to help their postseason bid.

Class AAA

Lower Moreland has a long way to go to earn an AAA playoff spot, but it’s not out of the question. Lower Moreland had a 2-6 record when the last rankings were released and they were ranked No. 10, needing to climb to No. 7 to earn a postseason bid. The Lions are now 3-7 and trying to catch No. 7 Radnor, who was 4-8 at the beginning of the week.

Class A

Jenkintown is currently No. 2 in the A rankings, where the top six teams make the postseason. The Bicentennial Constitution leaders have a playoff spot locked up and it’s just a matter of whether they will be the No. 1, 2 or 3 seed come tournament time.

Catholic League

Archbishop Wood and La Salle College High School are both in position to make the Philadelphia Catholic League playoffs.

Wood sits in second place with a 9-2 record after losing to top-seeded Father Judge Wednesday. The Vikings have not yet clinched the second seed and close out their regular season against Cardinal O’Hara (7-4) at home Monday afternoon.

La Salle is tied for fourth in the league with O’Hara at 7-4. The Explorers travel to Roman Catholic (third place, 8-3) Monday afternoon to finish the regular season and try to jump up in the standings.

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