2016 Preseason PIAA Class AAAA 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. 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 AAAA 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 AAAA Super 16
Berth School Notes
1-1 Wissahickon One of the most balanced teams around, the Trojans have competitive strike-throwers leading a deep staff and a strong offense led by three college-bound players.
3-3 Chambersburg Area Veteran club coming off a district runner-up finish and state tournament appearance is under new leadership for the first time in a half century. The core of the line-up returns, along with two college-bound arms.
11-1 Parkland The Trojans suffered significant losses, especially on the mound, but the three-time defending district champ remains the favorite as it always has talent waiting in the wings. Solid returning line-up core will support a staff led by two capable junior arms.
North Penn
The Knights suffer from attrition every year, but it is impossible to discount a program that has won two of the last three state titles. The pitching staff lacks experience, but has talent, while the line-up still has a solid foundation.
Wyoming Valley West The defending sub-region champ and state runner-up has holes to fill, but returns a college-bound rotation duo with a trio of college commits solidifying the top of the line-up.
3-2 Ephrata Area A couple of college-bound seniors lead an offense that returns two-thirds of its starters, while the Mounts pitching staff has a number of live arms at its disposal.
12-1 St. Joseph's Prep
Defending district champ has some question marks on offense, but returns a trio of experienced arms. Should be a three-way dogfight for this bid.
1-4 Pennridge Must replace a number of multi-year starters, but the Rams have a bat that can change a game with one swing and a top of the rotation that can hang with anyone.
3-1 Penn Manor Some big holes to fill on offense, but two college-bound arms front a Comets pitching staff that returns four others who logged double-digit innings last year.
1-5 Council Rock North The reigning district champ has a solid offensive core and returns a deep stable of pitchers that was fortified with a transfer from its arch rival. Would have been the clear district favorite had high-profile draft prospect Brandon McIlwain not graduated early to play baseball and participate in spring football practice at South Carolina.
1-2 Boyertown Area
The Bears followed up their 2014 district runner-up finish and state tournament appearance with a 2015 campaign that twice had them one win away from a state berth. Virtually the entire pitching staff and two-thirds of the line-up return.
12-2 Frankford Philadelphia Public League Division A regular-season champs welcome back top three pitchers and two-thirds of starting line-up.
7-1 Plum Return two experienced arms from a team that lost only three games last year (two to state semifinalist Shaler Area). Also have solid line-up core led by one of the top two hitters in the state, who happens to have first-round draft buzz.
7-3 Pine-Richland As with Butler Area below, the danger in picking the Rams (in addition to the fact that they missed the playoffs a year ago) is that WPIAL Section 1 is so loaded, they could just as easily miss the WPIAL tournament as make a run to state. Offense has players ready to step into larger roles, while pitching staff has three capable starters.

State College Area The Little Lions senior class is in position to earn the program's fourth straight state tournament berth behind a quartet of experienced pitchers and two college-bound sparkplugs atop the line-up.
7-2 Butler Area The Golden Tornadoes have a trio of legit arms and a solid core of returning bats that can carry the offense while newcomers get acclimated. Nonetheless, it would not be surprising to see any of the Watch List teams (or, for that matter, a half dozen other teams we omitted) slot into any of the district's three bids.

Watch List
District I: Conestoga, Owen J. Roberts, Spring-Ford, Central Bucks South, Downingtown West, Hatboro-Horsham, Central Bucks East
Sub-Region II/IV: Hazleton Area, Wallenpaupack Area
District III: Warwick, Cedar Cliff, Red Land, Dallastown Area, Red Lion Area, Manheim Township
Sub-Region VI/VIII/IX/X: Mifflin County, Central Mountain, DuBois Area, McDowell
District VII: Hempfield Area, Norwin, Central Catholic, Shaler Area, Fox Chapel Area, Canon-McMillan, Seneca Valley, Greater Latrobe
District XI: Whitehall, Stroudsburg, Northampton Area, Liberty, Pocono Mountain East
District XII: La Salle, Roman Catholic, Olney Charter, Central

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