Mission: League

By Camille Shooshani

As Max Fried’s ’12 draft stock climbs, his team’s chances of securing the league title grow as well. As of April 10, ESPN ranked Fried the ninth-best MLB prospect, and after Loyola shut out Alemany 5-0, a repeat league title is in sight.

Alemany’s loss could amount to a Mission League title for the Wolverines if the team wins out.

The title is five wins away. In the next few weeks, the team must sweep Notre Dame, St. Francis and Loyola, all games they took last year.

“We need to stay on track and take things one game at a time in league play,” Head Coach Matt LaCour said. “Staying focused each day is the challenge.”

After Lucas Giolito’s ’12 elbow injury, Fried took the the lead role in the rotation and met the expectations as the number one left-handed pitcher in the nation, maintaining a 1.33 ERA.

“Max is doing well, really has solidified himself as one of the elite pitchers in the country,” LaCour said.

Starting pitchers Jack Flaherty ’14 and Brandon Deere ’12 and closer Hans Hansen ’13 have stepped up to secure a 16-3-1 overall record and recover from the loss to Alemany in the season opener and reclaim the Mission League title.

“Our defense and pitching has been a steady force for us this year,” LaCour said. “Our offensive production needs to solidify and be more consistent.”

The team played Notre Dame yesterday but results were unavailable at press time.

On April 20, the Wolverines topped Chaminade 10-6 in the second game of the series. First baseman Joe Corrigan ’13 went 2-3 with a homerun and three RBI’s. Flaherty pitched five innings before Hansen relieved him and allowed two runs in the sixth but closed out the seventh for the win.

The April 19 game against Westlake was a show of strength for Deere, who pitched a complete game but allowed eight hits. Although he allowed batters on base, Deere pulled through with runners in scoring position almost every time and only surrendered one run in the 6-1 win over Westlake.

On April 17 against Chaminade, Fried had to be pulled in the fourth after allowing three runs.

“I gave up a lot of walks,” Fried said. “I’m doing the best I can to give the team a chance to win.”

The Wolverines took home second place at the inaugural USA Baseball National High School Invitational in Cary, N.C. after falling in extra innings to Santa Ana Mater Dei in the championship game.

The NHSI tournament highlighted the solidity of the pitching rotation that the Wolverines will rely heavily on in the next few league games, with three out of four pitchers throwing complete games.

The Wolverines opened the four-day tournament on March 28 with a 6-2 victory over Russell County (Ala.). Flaherty struck out six and walked none in the complete-game win, throwing 72 strikes in 100 pitches.

The next day against Parkview (Ga.), Fried allowed two first-inning runs, but finished the game with eight strikouts en route to a 10-3 rout. Fried tripled with an RBI, Brian Ginsburg ’14 doubled and drove in two runs and Alex Horowitz ’13 added two hits and one RBI.

On day three, Hansen, usually a closer, pitched nine innings for a complete-game shutout against American Heritage (Fla.) 1-0. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the ninth, when Fried sent Flaherty home on a grounder to short.

“I feel great contributing to a team that has a chance to do something special,” Hansen said. “I want to help get us far.”

The Wolverines fought to the championships to face Mater Dei, but fell 2-3 in the final to the Monarchs in eight innings. Deere pitched through seven innings, but could not earn the win despite holding the lead until the bottom of the seventh. Closer Alex Rand-Lewis ’12 saw his first action of the tournament in the eighth inning and allowed a walk-off hit with two outs.

“It was a great experience and chance to play against some of the best players and teams in the country,” LaCour said. “We learned that we can play with anyone out there on any given day.”

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