The Colonial League lacked a clear North Division favorite when the high school baseball season began.
No one has managed to separate from the pack yet.
With just over one week left in the regular season, the Colonial League North features the tightest race in any of the area's leagues. The Lehigh Valley Conference tournament field, meanwhile, is set, with the qualifiers left to jockey for seeding.
The scramble for District 11 berths also continues for a few teams that won't be in their league tournaments. Here is a look at some of the most interesting postseason races as the regular season winds down.
Colonial League North/second wild card. Four teams — Catasauqua, Bangor, Northwestern and Pen Argyl — are within one game of one another in the North Division standings. Those four teams are also within one game of Notre Dame-Green Pond in the battle for the league's second wild-card slot.
The tiebreaker scenarios are numerous, especially with the possibility of ties between three or more teams. A few key games on next week's schedule could eliminate the need for complex tiebreakers.
Bangor and Northwestern meet in Monday's top North Division matchup. Wednesday's schedule features Northwestern taking on Catasauqua and Pen Argyl facing Bangor.
No matter how the North Division and second wild-card race end up, the winners will be seeded no higher than third for the four-team Colonial League tournament. Salisbury is one win or Southern Lehigh loss away from locking up the South Division title and the No. 1 seed. Southern Lehigh can finish no worse than the No. 2 seed.
LVC top seed. Whitehall, Emmaus and Liberty all had wrapped up spots in the LVC tournament entering play Thursday. Parkland joined them Thursday, blasting Nazareth 15-0 in three innings.
Whitehall can claim the No. 1 seed for the LVC tournament by winning out. The Zephyrs own the head-to-head tiebreaker with Emmaus and could also nab the head-to-head tiebreaker against Parkland by completing a sweep of the Trojans next week.
The team with the most favorable schedule, however, is Emmaus. The Green Hornets face Dieruff and Central Catholic, two teams that have already been eliminated from district contention, next week as well as Parkland. Parkland has the toughest remaining schedule, with games against Emmaus, Northampton and Whitehall next week. The Trojans also play Easton on Friday.
District 11. Northampton lost to Whitehall on Thursday, leaving it in need of two wins in its final three games to qualify for the District 11 4A field. The Konkrete Kids play Parkland, Nazareth and Pocono Mountain West next week.
Pen Argyl missed a chance to nab a District 11 2A spot Wednesday when it became the first Colonial League team to lose to Northern Lehigh. The Green Knights need to win one of their final three games to qualify for districts, with a nonleague game Friday against North Schuylkill up first. They also face Palmerton and Bangor next week.
Easton is on the ropes in trying to nab a 4A spot. The Red Rovers have to win all three of their remaining LVC games, two of which are against LVC tournament qualifiers (Parkland and Liberty).
Bethlehem Catholic also has to win all of its remaining LVC games to qualify for the District 11 3A playoffs. The Golden Hawks upset Liberty on Thursday to stay alive. They now must beat Freedom and Easton next week.
• Shippensburg's Pat Kregeloh (Pleasant Valley) has enjoyed a monster sophomore season. He leads the Raiders with 13 doubles, six home runs, 47 RBIs and a .576 slugging percentage. Kregeloh, The Morning Call's 2011 high school pitcher of the year, is also 7-3 with a 3.96 ERA in 12 games (nine starts).
• DeSales earned the No. 2 seed for this weekend's Freedom Conference playoffs. The Bulldogs will open the double-elimination tournament Friday against FDU-Florham (7 p.m., Quakertown's Memorial Park).
• Moravian wound up as the No. 3 seed for the Landmark Conference tournament and will face the second-seeded United States Merchant Marine Academy on Saturday (2:30 p.m., Catholic University). The Greyhounds have won 20 games for a fifth straight season and are in the league playoffs for a fifth straight year.
• Southern Lehigh will hold an alumni night Wednesday when it hosts Salisbury in its Colonial League finale (7 p.m., Limeport Stadium). Former players who would like to attend Wednesday's game or who are interested in future Southern Lehigh baseball alumni functions can contact coach Todd Miller at email@example.com.
• The 28th annual Howard E. Deppe All-Star Baseball Classic will be played June 1. The game is part of the American Cancer Society's Coaches vs. Cancer campaign.
HIGH SCHOOL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Salisbury's season-long dominance of the Colonial League had not featured many home runs heading into the last week.
Mason Kresley changed that.
The senior outfielder and first baseman belted a two-run home run in Wednesday's win over Notre Dame-Green Pond to extend his power binge to three games. He also homered against Palisades and Saucon Valley as part of a week in which he went 4-for-8 with three runs scored and eight RBIs.
Kresley is now hitting .432, with nine of his 19 hits going for extra bases. He has knocked in at least one run in 13 of Salisbury's 17 games and leads the Falcons with 27 RBIs.
COLLEGE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
FDU-Florham will have the first crack at DeSales in this weekend's Freedom Conference baseball tournament.
The Devils will have to deal carefully with DeSales first baseman Brian Mauro.
The senior continued to crush the baseball over the last week, going 14-for-18 with six doubles, 12 runs scored and 10 RBIs over a six-game stretch.
Mauro has mashed a DeSales single-season record 27 doubles while also leading the team in batting average (.511), runs (51), home runs (five), RBIs (53) and slugging percentage (.827). He has done that damage while striking out just six times in 133 at-bats.
Mauro's production has helped the Bulldogs take a 30-10 record into the Freedom Conference playoffs.
STANDINGS AND TOP 10
Team, League, Overall
x-Emmaus, 9-1, 13-2
Central Catholic, 3-8, 5-11
Dieruff, 3-8, 3-12
Allen, 1-10, 3-11
z-Whitehall, 10-1, 15-1
Parkland, 8-1, 12-2
Northampton, 5-6, 8-8
Nazareth, 3-8, 7-10
x-Liberty, 9-2, 13-3
Freedom, 5-6, 9-8
Easton, 4-6, 6-9
Bethlehem Catholic, 4-7, 5-9-1
Team, League, Overall
Catasauqua, 8-6, 9-7
Northwestern, 7-6, 11-6
Bangor, 7-6, 8-9
Pen Argyl, 7-7, 9-8
Palmerton, 2-10, 4-10
Northern Lehigh, 1-11, 2-13
z-Salisbury, 14-0, 17-0
z-Southern Lehigh, 12-2, 14-3
Notre Dame-GP, 8-6, 10-7
Wilson 5-8, 6-10
Saucon Valley, 5-9, 6-12
Palisades, 4-9, 6-9
Team, League, Overall
z-Stroudsburg, 8-1, 13-3
z-Pleasant Valley, 7-2, 11-4
PM East, 6-3, 9-7
Lehighton, 5-4, 9-6
ES South, 2-6, 6-10
PM West, 2-7, 3-11
ES North, 1-8, 5-9
x-division champion; y-wild card; z-clinched league playoff berth
Team, Record, Last
1., Whitehall, 15-1, 1
2., Salisbury, 17-0, 2
3., Emmaus, 13-2, 3
4., Parkland, 12-2, 4
5., Liberty, 13-3, 5
6., Stroudsburg, 13-3, 6
7., Southern Lehigh, 14-3, 8
8., Pennridge, 9-4, 10
9., Pleasant Valley, 11-4, 7
10., Tamaqua, 11-4, NR
Dropped: Notre Dame-GP (10-7, No. 9). Others to watch: Freedom (9-8), Lehighton (9-6), Northampton (8-8), Northwestern (11-6), Pocono Mountain East (9-7). Records through Wednesday based on games reported to The Morning Call. Send corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org.