ARCADIA — The Harvard-Westlake baseball team advanced to the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs with an impressive 13-0 win over host Arcadia on Tuesday, June 8.

The Wolverines will host Cypress on Friday. Cypress defeated Riverside King 4-2 on Tuesday.

Harvard-Westlake freshman pitcher Bryce Rainer once again showed that he is one of the top pitchers in Southern California as he completely baffled Arcadia hitters in the five innings that he worked. Rainer allowed one hit and struck out nine while picking up the win.

“Our team came out great and hit the ball early and my catcher was really good behind the plate,” said Rainer, who has committed to UCLA. “We are insanely confident right now and we know that we are going to come out here and do our thing.”

For Wolverines coach Jared Halpert, when Rainer is as effective as he was Tuesday, it makes his job as coach a lot easier.

“Things that you can’t teach in baseball are usually what makes players that much more special,” Halpert said. “You can’t teach a kid that throws the ball like that the way (Rainer) does. He is a very advanced young man.”

Arcadia starter Casey Spencer, a San Jose State signee, kept the Apaches in the game for the first three innings, allowing one run. However, the Wolverines broke the game wide open in the fourth inning by scoring seven runs.

Among the key hits in the inning were a run-scoring single by Alex Shane, a double by Alex Cintron that brought in two runs, and a single by George Cooper that scored Cintron.

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“Arcadia is a fantastic program, and their starter was tough on us early,” Halpert said. “We were able to get the lead in the first inning and give (Rainer) a chance to pitch with some momentum and a lead. We hung on long enough to put some runs on the board.”

The Wolverines (25-5) kept the offensive attack working in the fifth inning by scoring four runs and two more in the sixth inning off Arcadia relief pitchers Harrison Meyers and Julian Eskridge.

It was a tough day for Arcadia (21-3) as it failed to generate any type of serious scoring threat. One of its better chances to score came in the bottom of the first inning when Mikey Easter doubled into the gap between left and center field with two outs. However, Eskridge struck out swinging to end the scoring threat.

“That’s a good team and they can hit,” Arcadia coach Nick Lemas said. “We’re not used to it. We do not see it on a regular basis. That is no excuse, it is what it is. They kept putting the pressure on. They caught a couple of breaks, and that freshman (Rainer) was unbelievable.”

Halpert hopes his team continues to play with confidence during this playoff run.

“I like the way they are coming together,” Halpert said. “They’re having a good time, they are trusting each other, and they are getting after it.”

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Source:: Los Angeles Daily News


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