It's safe to say that, for most of this decade, the road to a WPIAL Class A baseball championships travels through Section 1.
Three of the past five champions – Carmichaels in 2003, 2005 and California in 2006 – hail from the section. In 2004, the Mikes were WPIAL runners-up, as were the Trojans a year ago.
In 2002, Carmichaels beat Bentworth, another Section 1 team, in the third-place game.
In 2001, California won the WPIAL, while Jefferson-Morgan lost the third-place game.
This year, Carmichaels is a highly regarded team and, despite several key injuries, has not allowed a run in its first two games. Jefferson-Morgan, Bentworth and California are all powerful offensive teams.
It could be another banner year for Section 1, a group of competitive, close-knit teams.
"It's not just our section, it's the people I'm around," Mikes coach Dave Bates explained. "With Rob Cole being my assistant coach, it's kind of funny. Like I can tell him what to do. He knows the game as well as anyone I know. Two of my best friends are Rob and (Jefferson-Morgan coach) John Curtis."
Bates played for Curtis at Jefferson-Morgan.
"We get together and have breakfast every Sunday," Bates said. "Then, there's (California coach) Don Hartman. He doesn't live as close but, again, he's one of my closest friends in baseball. These are the guys that can end up breaking your heart in the playoffs. Yet, I traveled to see California make their run through states. Section 1 is something unique."