Behind a dominant pitching performance from Gabe Golob ’16 and an impressive first inning offensive outburst, the varsity baseball team cruised to a victory in a pre-season scrimmage, defeating Duk Soo High School from Seoul, South Korea 7-2 in a six-inning friendly matchup between the two squads Jan. 28.
Golob, who has not pitched in a varsity regular season game in his career, proved that he was ready to contribute to the revamped pitching staff, which lost its top three throwers from a year ago in Jack Flaherty ’14 (drafted 34th overall in 2014 MLB Draft by St. Louis Cardinals), Michael Vokulich ’14 (playing for New York University), and Logan Simon ’14 (Bowdoin University). Golob threw the first three innings of the afternoon for Harvard-Westlake and allowed no hits or walks, as his only baserunner came via an error by Cameron Deere ’16 on a tough short-hop ground ball to third base.
Offensively, the Wolverines took control early, introducing the Duk Soo squad to the American pastime. Oregon commit and recent BaseballNews.com preseason second-team All American Ezra Steinberg ’15 opened the game with a deep triple to the right-center field wall, and was knocked in by a single from recent USC commit John Thomas ’16, catalyzing a five-run inning for the Harvard-Westlake squad. Two more runs in the second inning put the Wolverines up 7-0 early in the match, although the Duk Soo pitchers settled down after that, actually only allowing six total hits in the game.
After Golob was removed, McCabe Slye ’16 and Ben Geiger ’17 combined to finish the last three innings, getting some valuable experience for the first-time varsity players. Slye pitched two innings and allowed one earned run, while Geiger gave up one run in the final inning of the game.
According to players, Duk Soo’s campus was hindered by severe cold weather, and the squad flew to California hoping to play some elite competition to prepare for their own season. The teams posed together for a picture posted on the @HWBaseball Twitter account, showing class and sportsmanship between the international squads.
The Wolverines, who finished 22-7-1 in the 2014 season and ranked 32nd in the nation by Perfect Game despite being upset in the second round of the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs by Edison, will continue to play in winter league pre-season ball, next taking on perennial powerhouse Santa Ana Mater Dei on Saturday morning. Their regular season will begin on Saturday, Feb. 28, when the team takes on Village Christian in pool play of the Easton Tournament, which the team won last year with a championship win over West Ranch.