Justin Lee, Levi Sterling pitch Sherman Oaks Notre Dame to win over Harvard-Westlake

Dean West of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame slides safely into home in the first inning against Harvard-Westlake.
Dean West of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame slides safely into home in the first inning against Harvard-Westlake.
(Craig Weston)

With a fastball that was touching 95 mph on Wednesday night, Justin Lee of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame has the kind of velocity that attracts attention from pro scouts. His future college coach, John Savage of UCLA, was sitting behind home plate for Lee’s showdown game against Mission League rival Harvard-Westlake.

Aided by increased confidence in his skills, Lee has improved his command greatly in his senior season. He struck out six, walked one and allowed two hits in six innings to help the Knights (9-1, 5-1) defeat the Wolverines 2-1 at Notre Dame.

“I know they’re scrappy, so I went right at them and trusted my stuff,” Lee said.

Notre Dame scored twice in the first inning off Harvard-Westlake ace Thomas Bridges thanks to RBI singles from Ryan Limerock and Madden Ocko.


Lee was in control. Twice he struck out Harvard-Westlake junior standout Bryce Rainer with blazing fastballs. In the sixth, though, Rainer sent a fastball over the net in right field for a home run.

“I tip my cap to him,” Lee said. “He’s a real good hitter.”

As usual in the Notre Dame versus Harvard-Westlake series, no win comes easily, so the Wolverines put the pressure on in the seventh against closer Levi Sterling. Will Gasparino, making his first appearance of the season after breaking his hand, led off with a single and ended up on third with two outs. Cade Goldstein worked the count to 3-and-2 against Sterling and kept fouling off pitches before Sterling got the strikeout to end the game and pick up the save.

The two teams resume action Thursday and Friday at Harvard-Westlake.

First-year coach Shaun Kort continues to create buzz at St. Francis. First the Golden Knights handed Harvard-Westlake a defeat and on Tuesday, they handed Sierra Canyon its first loss 3-0. Kalani Quiroz hit a two-run home run and picked up the save. Caleb Thatcher threw five shutout innings.

In the era of transfers, the Harvard-Westelake High boys’ basketball team won the Open Division state title with homegrown players.

March 15, 2023

No. 1-ranked Santa Margarita improved to 4-0 in the Trinity League and dropped defending Division 1 champion JSerra to 0-4 with a 7-1 win over the Lions. Collin Clarke struck out seven in 6 2/3 innings and Blake Wilson had three hits and two RBIs.

Mater Dei improved to 4-0 in the Trinity League with a 4-0 win over St. John Bosco. Sophomore Landon Gordon struck out seven in six scoreless innings.