Harvard-Westlake’s Bryce Rainer fires out 92-mph fastballs in first start since 2021
When the 2021 high school baseball season ended, right-hander Bryce Rainer of Harvard-Westlake was on top of the world as a 15-year-old freshman. His team won a Southern Section Division 1 championship and he went 9-0 on the mound.
Fast-forward to Friday afternoon at O’Malley Family Field, with snow on the mountains looking toward center field. It was his first pitching start since June 15, 2021. He didn’t pitch in 2022, deciding to preserve his valuable arm.
He threw four consecutive balls to start the game against St. Francis, all 92 mph. Then he retired three consecutive batters on strikeouts. St. Francis’ first seven outs were strikeouts. He was on a 60-pitch count and switched positions with two outs in the third inning after striking out seven, walking four and giving up no hits.
Harvard-Westlake (5-2, 2-1) would come away with a 5-2 Mission League win over the Golden Knights thanks to stellar relief pitching from Holden Rath, who gave up no hits in 2 1/3 innings and adds another arm to a staff that could be scary good come playoff time in May.
You could see how much mound talent Rainer possesses, not to mention his hitting skills. It has scouts wondering what position will be his focus as a professional player. There were no scouts noticeable at the game, but come 2024, people will have trouble getting a parking space. He has 14 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings this season and has not given up a hit.
“It feels pretty good,” Rainer said about pitching again. “It’s different getting back in.”
The big news for high school baseball is just how good the Wolverines’ pitching staff might become. Junior ace Thomas Bridges is rounding into top form and another junior, Duncan Marsten, is scheduled to make his high school debut next Friday after sitting out the last two years because of injuries. He throws harder than Rainer and has been committed to Stanford. First he had a back injury, then had Tommy John surgery.
“Duncan is very good. He throws gas,” Rainer said.
Harvard-Westlake was without coach Jared Halpert, who was attending a funeral for his father, David. Pitching coach Joe Guntz ran the team.
Valencia 7, Taft 0: Richard Ojeda threw a perfect game, retiring all 21 batters while striking out 12.
Cypress 6, JSerra 3: Gabe Cobian had three hits and two RBIs, and Matthew Thomas added three hits as Cypress handed No. 1 JSerra its first defeat. Cobian struck out seven in three scoreless innings of relief.
Santa Margarita 6, Damien 2: Blake Wilson had three hits, including a home run, to lead the Eagles.
Royal 1, Camarillo 0: Trevor Hansen threw a one-hit shutout for Royal with nine strikeouts.
Villa Park 2, Esperanza 0: Left-hander Brandon Luu threw a shutout, striking out 10.
Cleveland 7, Marshall 0: Kevin Vazquez and Aiden Siritto combined on a three-hit shutout for the Cavaliers.
Long Beach Millikan 1, Trabuco Hills 0: Austin Paul struck out nine in seven innings and Brett Moody followed with two shutout innings in the nine-inning victory. Jacob Robinson had the walk-off hit in the ninth.
Westlake 3, Verdugo Hills 1: Nate Johnson had two hits in Westlake’s victory.
Narbonne 3, Marina 2: Owen Martin and Derek Bringas each had two hits for the Gauchos.
Campbell Hall 3, Brentwood 0: Tanner Mahon threw a one-hitter, struck out 10 and hit a three-run home run for Campbell Hall.
Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 9, Bishop Alemany 2: Dean West contributed two hits and three RBIs and Madden Ocko had three hits for the Knights (6-0, 3-0) in completing a Mission League sweep.
Chaminade 7, Crespi 7: The Mission League game was halted because of darkness and ended in a tie. Greg Rangel hit a three-run home run in the sixth for Chaminade to tie the score. Freshman Isaiah Hearn also homered for Chaminade.
Sierra Canyon 5, Loyola 4: The Trailblazers improved to 7-0, winning it on a walk-off single by Ethan Munoz in the seventh. He had a home run and four RBIs.
Huntington Beach 6, Gahr 3: After a 1-4 start, the Oilers served notice they will be heard from, knocking off No. 3-ranked Gahr. Aidan Espinoza and Colby Turner each had two hits.
La Serna 1, California 0: Nick Williams struck out eight and gave up two hits for La Serna.
Edison 1, Capistrano Valley 0: It took 11 innings before the Chargers prevailed.
Arcadia 2, Pasadena 1: Ian Hoffstetter struck out nine in seven innings. The Apaches won it in the eighth on a hit by Ben Cooper.
Servite 8, San Dimas 3: Roman Martin hit two home runs and finished with three hits and four RBIs for Servite.
Maranatha 10, Valley Christian 3: Brothers Eric and Dylan Zdunek supplied six hits to lead Maranatha.
Simi Valley 8, Moorpark 0: The Pioneers won behind Matthew Cuccias, who struck out six in five scoreless innings.
Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 12, Golden Valley 2: Charley Tapia, Ellayne Tellez-Perez, Alexa Miranda and Ella Parker hit home runs for the Knights.
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