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Harvard-Westlake coach Jared Halpert made the right choices

Harvard-Westlake baseball coach Jared Halpert celebrates while hoisting the Southern Section Division 1 championship plaque.
Jared Halpert of Harvard-Westlake is The Times’ coach of the year.
(Devina Halpert)

Three wins over San Juan Capistrano JSerra. A Mission League championship. Relying on a freshman pitcher to win two Division 1 playoff games. Jared Halpert of Studio City Harvard-Westlake pulled off some pretty impressive coaching feats in 2021.

It culminated in the Wolverines winning the Southern Section Division 1 championship with a 3-0 win over San Juan Capistrano JSerra on a one-hitter by Christian Becerra.

Halpert has been selected The Times’ baseball coach of the year.

The Wolverines went 29-4 while navigating a COVID-19 season that left no time for winter games, practices or experiences that normally help mold a championship team.

“The restrictions that everyone had to deal with were hefty,” he said. “Trying to be safe was the challenge. This new group, we had to start over with our culture.”

There are programs that become divided when young players take spots usually reserved for veterans, but Halpert didn’t hesitate in making freshmen Bryce Rainer and Thomas Bridges starting pitchers. By the postseason, Rainer came through with two victories.

“We have an administration that believes in our coaching, being able to follow the guiding light that the best nine players will go out there and compete,” he said.

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As for relying on a freshman pitcher, Halpert said, “It’s a little nerve-wracking, but I don’t know any other freshman besides that young man that would be so trustworthy.”

Complete coverage of The Times’ 2021 All-Star baseball and softball award winners.


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