Baseball: The Max Fried effect
Going for No. 1 in the nation. That's going to be the goal for Studio City Harvard-Westlake next spring now that former Montclair Prep pitcher Max Fried has joined Lucas Giolito in the pitching rotation. Add sophomore-to-be Jack Flaherty, and the Wolverines' pitching staff will be as good as it gets.
Over the course of the season, Harvard-Westlake should be the best in Southern Section Division 2. But that doesn't mean the Wolverines are a guarantee to win the title. The playoffs are a one-game situation, and there will be a team that has a top pitcher who will be capable of matching the Fried-Giolito-Flaherty challenge.
And that's where Coach Matt LaCour will try to earn his big bucks. Harvard-Westlake must improve its hitting attack if it wants a title. Relying on its pitchers to throw shutouts in every game is no way to win a title. But the potential is there for improvement, with catcher Arden Pabst, an improving Joe Corrigan, Flaherty and Fried as promising hitters.
Harvard-Westlake is working on improving its schedule, with games during the winter scheduled against Division 1 power JSerra.
Alemany is probably the only team in the Mission League that will give the Wolverines a run with pitchers Cody Thompson and former Montclair Prep standout Nick Suniga, among others.
The big winner will be the professional scouts. They'll be hanging out at Harvard-Westlake games en masse next spring.
-- Eric Sondheimer