In his hometown, Max Fried will have the chance to send Braves to World Series

LOS ANGELES — Braves ace Max Fried will start on Thursday in what could be the game to send Atlanta to the World Series.

And it happens to be against the team he grew up cheering for.

Fried was born and raised in Santa Monica, California. Just 15 miles from Dodger Stadium, Max Fried grew up playing baseball at one of the most prestigious prep schools in Los Angeles.

“Max’s athleticism is off the chart, so when you put him on the field, he could do things not may high school kids could do,” coach Matt Lacour told Channel 2′s Alison Mastrangelo.

Fried transferred to Harvard-Westlake for his senior season after his original high school Montclair Prep shut down.

“In the middle of summer to scramble for a school and to have them be able to kind of take me in when I had nowhere to go, it obviously meant a lot, and giving me a place to go and everyone was so welcoming. So for me it was a really nice experience,” Fried said.

Lacour said he immediately noticed Fried’s incredible baseball talent.

“I still to this day believe if he wasn’t a pitcher he would’ve been drafted really high as an outfielder. He could hit, run, he could really show the tools in the outfield,” he said. “High-end athlete right from the beginning and when he wasn’t pitching for us he was in our line up batting second, third for us all year.”

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In school, Lacour described Fried as a quiet, reserved and hard-working player; however, he did share a funny memory about Fried and another classmate who is also an All-Star pitcher.

“Max and Lucas Gilito are infamous in our cinema studies class of being a little bit of the goofballs who did their critique work but also needed to be reigned in a little bit. So Mr. Walsh has some memories of those two but they weren’t exactly the teachers pet that year,” Lacour said.

Lacour told Mastrangelo that he is always keeping tabs on Fried, watching him on TV or catching him live in a game at Dodger Stadium when he can.

[RELATED: Can’t make it to LA? Braves hosting NLCS watch parties at the Battery]

Fried still comes back to Harvard-Westlake to workout and catch up with teachers and coaches. Lacour said he has really enjoyed watching Fried develop into the strong and confident professional player he is today.

“It’s just fun to see his maturity. Max has gotten to the point that he understands how good he is,” he said.

With Fried on the mound for Game 5, there will be plenty of familiar faces in the stands. Mastrangelo asked how many ticket requests he has received.

“It’s a decent amount. I haven’t gotten the exact number, but I’ve been definitely having to try to ask around for some extra tickets,” he said.

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