Precision pitching, flawless defense and basic performance drove Harvard-Westlake to a 3-0 victory over JSerra Saturday night in the Southern Section Division 1 championship baseball game in Cal State Fullerton.
Christian Becerra (11-1), who signed with California, surpassed UCLA signer Eric Silva to give Harvard-Westlake his first Division 1 championship since 2013, when Jack Flaherty threw the Wolverines to a 1-0 victory at Dodger Stadium.
Harvard-Westlake scored two races in the third round thanks to the perfect execution of a sacrificial bundle. Alex Shane, No. 9 batter in the lineup, led by a single. After George Cooper left, catcher Jacob Galloway put down a bundle, and Silva threw the ball past first baseman David Horn, with both runners scoring.
Becerra gave up one hit, a second round double from the left field wall by Luke Jewett. He struck out seven, went two and never gave the Lions a chance to get back in the game. Silva allowed three hits in six innings, and struck out eight.
“We arrived early, so when you’ve ahead early, it’s a little easy to cruise through,” Becerra said. “
Shane, who came in as a major contributor at the bottom of the order late this season, also had an RBI single on the seventh to give Wolverines an insurance run.
This game lived up to the hype No. 1 vs. Nr. 2. JSerra (27-7) got the top series to the playoffs because the Lions won the Trinity League and beat the highly regarded Orange Lutheran twice. Harvard-Westlake (29-4) owned two regular seasons over JSerra, but they happened in March and April, and led the seed committee to disregard match-to-head matchups.
Seat for Fullerton Saturday night was 1500 due to COVID-19 restrictions when it is usually 3,300.
Harvard-Westlake has chosen not to participate in next week’s Southern California regional playoffs. Coach Jared Halpert is the manager of the USA U15 national team and is on his way back east on Sunday. Other coaches and players travel to Arizona next week for summer tournaments.