2016 Preseason PIAA Class AAA Super 16

By Jacob Gill
Pennsylvania Assistant Director of Scouting

and PBR staff

Pennsylvania calls itself a Commonwealth, not a state, which means we like to eschew the norm. In that vein, our team rankings aren't a standard Top 25, but rather an effort to predict what everyone is striving for: state tournament berths. Instead of going down a rabbit hole by attempting to order teams from various parts of the state who play against vastly different levels of competition, we are going to try to compare apples to apples a bit more. Each update, we will present the schools we think are in the best position to earn state tournament berths out of their respective districts. Below are our predictions, in bracket order, for how we see the PIAA class AAA state tournament shaping up. A Watch List for each district is also included, with the teams on it absolutely in the mix to make the March to Medlar.

1. X-Y under "Berth" = [District]-[Bid]. For example, 7-2 is the runner-up from District VII.
2. If multiple districts are listed in one box, those districts will form a sub-regional to determine that bid.

2016 Preseason PIAA Class AAA Super 16
Berth School Notes
1-1 Holy Ghost Prep The defending district champs have some gaping holes to fill, and this district will no doubt be competitive, but the Firebirds have had capable players waiting in the wings and it doesn't hurt to have a potential high-round draft pick who can swing it and toe the rubber.
3-4 Greencastle-Antrim One win away from a state berth last year (falling by one run in the district quarterfinals), the Blue Devils return a deep staff led by a bona fide ace as well as the majority of their offense.
2-1 Valley View With its arch rival (the reigning 3-time district champ who ousted it from the playoffs in each season) having a lot of holes to fill, the Cougars could be poised to grab this bid behind a new coach, a trio of experienced arms (including one who may draw draft interest), and the majority of the line-up intact.
4-1 Jersey Shore Area Despite graduating six of ten primary offensive contributors, its hard to pick against the Bulldogs, who have won five straight district titles. Three experienced senior arms are back atop the rotation.
11-1 Pottsville Area While the defending district champ can't replace the offensive production of the Minnesota Twins 3rd round draft pick (and graduated the staff ace as well), the Crimson Tide still return two of the top pitchers in the district and enough offense to repeat.
3-2 Spring Grove Area
The bulk of the roster is back for the 2015 district runner-up, including a stud staff ace and eight of nine position player regulars.
12-1 Archbishop Wood The defending Philadelphia Catholic League champs return a strong offensive core and a pitching staff led by the league MVP and another college-bound arm.
3-3 Northern York
The 2014 district champ dropped a tight first round game last year to the eventual district winner, but appears poised to make another strong run at a state berth. 97% of a talented staff's innings return, as does more than half the line-up.
3-1 Twin Valley State quarterfinalist returns the entirety of its pitching staff, including one senior who will likely draw area scouts to his starts this spring. More than half of the Raiders regular line-up returns as well.
12-2 Franklin Towne Charter Coyotes have advanced to the state tournament in four of the past five seasons. Two-thirds of the starting line-up and two experienced pitchers are back.
Punxsutawney Area The Chucks have reached twelve straight state tournaments. Two college-bound pitchers along with a strong middle of the diamond return.
7-2 Montour Coming off a state quarterfinal appearance, the Spartans welcome back their top three pitchers, including one junior who will likely draw draft interest next spring, as well as a solid line-up core.
7-1 Knoch The defending state champ has some line-up holes to fill, but can again count on riding the college-bound 1-2 rotation punch that carried it to a 25-2 record. Outscored opponents 35-12 in seven postseason games last year.
Hollidaysburg Area If they can put it all together, this is the most talented team in the sub-region. The Tigers have the makings of a deep pitching staff that will be supported by a solid returning line-up foundation.
10-1 Cathedral Prep The Ramblers are poised to win their third straight district crown behind a pitching staff that returns six of seven primary contributors and a line-up that welcomes back more than half of its regular starters.
7-3 Blackhawk Lost a one-run game to eventual district and state champ Knoch in the WPIAL quarterifnals. Top two pitchers and seven position player starters are back.

Watch List
District I: Upper Moreland, Bishop Shanahan, Octorara Area
District II: Abington Heights, North Pocono, Berwick Area, Scranton Prep
District III: East Pennsboro, Eastern York, Daniel Boone Area, Donegal, Northeastern
District IV: Shikellamy, Montoursville Area, Mifflinburg Area
Sub-Region V/VI: Somerset Area, Bellefonte Area
District VII: Chartiers Valley, Indiana Area, West Allegheny, Belle Vernon Area
Sub-Region VIII/IX:
District X: Slippery Rock Area, Grove City Area, Harbor Creek
District XI: Saucon Valley, Tamaqua Area, Northwestern Lehigh
District XII: Archbishop Carroll, Bonner-Prendergast, Esperanza, Boys' Latin, Swenson

Season Preview Schedule

3/2 - PAISAA
3/3 - PIAA District V
3/4 - PIAA District IX
3/5 - PIAA District VI
3/6 - PIAA District IV
3/7 - PIAA District X
3/8 - PIAA District III (Class A & AA)
3/9 - PIAA District VII (Class A)
3/10 - PIAA District VII (Class AA)
3/11 - PIAA District II
3/12 - PIAA District XI
3/13 - PIAA District I (Class A, AA & AAA)
3/14 - PIAA District III (Class AAA)
3/15 - PIAA District VII (Class AAA)
3/16 - PIAA District I (Class AAAA)
3/17 - PIAA District III (Class AAAA)
3/18 - PIAA District VII (Class AAAA)
3/19 - PIAA District XII
3/20 - PAISAA Preseason Fab Four
3/21 - PIAA Class A Preseason Super 16
3/22 - PIAA Class AA Preseason Super 16
3/23 - PIAA Class AAA Preseason Super 16
3/24 - PIAA Class AAAA Preseason Super 16