The buzz

It's several weeks into the baseball season, and after rain, sun, plenty of errors, poor baserunning and sloppy fundamentals, it's time to survey the scene.

And, no, I'm not writing about the Phillies. They have their own page.

Not everyone can hit a Kyle Greenwalt fastball or an Anthony Cafagna curveball, but each and every varsity player should know to block a ground ball, go from first to third, and lay down a bunt.

Now that that's off the chest, it's time to take stock of the area leagues with less than two weeks of the regular season remaining.

In the Catholic League, the race is as open as Tony Batista's stance. In both the North and South Divisions, it's essentially six teams vying for four playoff berths.

In the North, Archbishop Ryan (12-3) and North Catholic (11-3) have the best records, but watch out for La Salle, winner of nine of its last 10 games.

Cardinal O'Hara (10-4) looked poised to win the South - and perhaps even the overall title - but the Lions hit a rough patch and St. Joseph's Prep (12-3) assumed the top spot. Monsignor Bonner (11-4), Archbishop Carroll (10-4), and Roman Catholic (9-5) are in the mix.

The Inter-Ac is close to sewn up, with Chestnut Hill Academy set to win its first league title since 1989, according to the school. However, the Blue Devils will have to make do without Cafagna, who has been shelved with a broken bone in his left (non-throwing) hand.

The Public League has too many teams, too many playoff games, and too many classifications left to decide before a champion is crowned. Somehow, I suspect, a young but talented Frankford team will give departing coach Bob Peffle his fifth championship.

The most intriguing chase is in the Suburban One League National Conference. Pennridge leads (7-2), but Harry S Truman (8-3) is right up there and Pennsbury (6-3) a game back. Oddly enough, Pennridge's two losses were to Pennsbury, two of Truman's defeats were by Pennridge, and Pennsbury dropped both meetings with Truman.

"We need Pennridge to blow two games," Truman coach Jeff Vitale said. "And I don't see that happening."

In the Suburban One Continental, Souderton took a two-game lead with its Greenwalt-led win over Central Bucks East on Thursday. The South Carolina-bound hurler appears to be rounding into top form.

After winning its first eight games, Quakertown seemed a mortal lock in the Suburban One American. Despite a recent stumble, the Panthers still have a two-game cushion.

The Ches-Mont became slightly more interesting after West Chester Henderson (8-3) nipped West Chester East (9-1), 5-3, on Tuesday. But the Vikings still hold a game-and-a-half lead and are arguably the deepest team in District 1.

"We just have to take care of our own destiny here," East coach Dean Owens said. "But everybody knows that in the Ches-Mont there aren't any given wins."

Conestoga distanced itself from the field in the Central League by winning three games this week. The Pioneers' remaining games are against the bottom four teams in the league.

Monday's best game pits Holy Ghost Prep and Lower Moreland, undefeated teams in the Bicentennial League Independence Division. If you can't make that game, the two meet a week later.

Sun Valley's 1-run victory over Interboro 10 days ago has the Vanguards alone in first place and a game ahead in the Del-Val League. The rematch is a May 14 season finale.

In the Pioneer Athletic Conference, it's either Spring-Ford (11-2) or Owen J. Roberts (10-3). The teams split already, but Spring-Ford has a one-game edge.

Great Valley stands alone atop the Southern Chester County League standings. The Patriots have a loss, which should bode well come District 1 playoff time (see: basketball season).

OK, boys, hit the grass for another round of fielding practice.

Contact staff writer Jeff McLane

at 215-854-4745

or jmclane@phillynews.com.