High School : : Rankings
Tuesday, June 04, 2013

2013 High School National Champions

Todd Gold        

Perfect Game High School is proud to crown the Harvard-Westlake Wolverines as the 2013 Perfect Game High School National Champions.

The Wolverines finished the year 28-4 and won the CIF Southern Section Division I championship with a 4-0 win over Marina at Dodger Stadium.

Coached by Matt LaCour, the Wolverines used a deep lineup and found pleasant surprises on the mound to step up and contribute, allowing them not only maintain their level from a year ago when they opened the season as the No. 2 ranked team in the nation, but also graduated a pair of first draft picks, but they even surpassed the accomplishments of the 2012 squad.

In spite of moving up from Division II to Southern California's most difficult level (Division I) and losing a pair of first round draft picks, Harvard-Westlake opened the season as the tenth ranked team in the nation in the 2013 PG Preseason rankings, and outperformed even those lofty expectations.

The Wolverines' impressive performance in North Carolina in 2012 was matched again in 2013, as they again reached the championship game of the National High School Invitational. In order to reach the finals (again) they had to get through second ranked Venice (FL), besting the Indians 6-0 in a game that was a major factor in choosing between Harvard-Westlake and the 29-3 Florida 8A state champions for the sole national champion.

While the Wolverines ended up losing the NHSI title game to fellow Southern California Division I powerhouse Mater Dei, they would go on  to win the next nine straight and 18 of their final 19 games coming down the stretch to win arguably the most difficult high school baseball postseson format in the nation.

As expected, the Wolverines got a huge year out of standout 2014 prospect Jack Flaherty, who hit .360/.505/.500 while playing an outstanding defensive third base when he wasn't on the mound serving as the Wolverines' ace and compiling an 13-0 record with a 0.63 ERA and racking up 112 strikeouts to just 10 walks over 89 innings. Flaherty also threw a complete game shutout in the championship game at Dodger Stadium against Nationally ranked Marina.

After Flaherty, 2014 RHP Conor Cuse stepped up in his first full season on the varsity, and went 9-1 with a 1.96 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 68 innings. 2013 RHP Hans Hanson was also a key to the Wolverines retooled pitching staff, serving as a starter early in the year when the schedule was more crowded, and then working as a stopper out of the bullpen later in the year.

2013 C Arden Pabst was counted on coming into the year to provide power to the lineup and help shoulder the load offensively along with Flaherty, and he lived up to those expectations. Pabst hit .376/.469/.634 with five home runs and was a key component of the inexperienced pitching staff's success thanks to his defensive ability behind the plate.

2015 SS Ezra Steinberg stepped up and gave the Wolverines a boost, hitting .376/..424/.440 out of the leadoff spot and was strong defensively at shortstop. While 2013 1B Joe Corrigan was solid as expected, hitting .312/.396/.419 to give the Wolverines a well balanced team with a deep lineup.

With Flaherty and several other key players returning again next year, it will be interesting to see how the 2014 Wolverines follow up a season for the record books.

Check back next week as the final Perfect Game Top 100 rankings will be unveiled.
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