High School Softball: Lopez stepping up for Sailors

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Senior had a big day in Battle of the Bay, helping Newport Harbor continue dominance in rivalry game.

April 06, 2013|By Matt Szabo
(KEVIN CHANG / Daily…)

They are fixtures on the left side of the infield for the Newport Harbor High softball team.

Seniors Breanna Lopez and Lauren "Lou" Gandi typically play third base and shortstop, respectively. In those positions, they need to be able to communicate.

But, for Lopez, a different kind of talk that happened during the teammates' freshman year also made a huge difference.

"We were actually in the same French class together," Lopez said. "[Gandi] was just talking about how she played softball and how much fun it was. She just told me to come out and try out. That's what got me out here. It looked fun, and when I actually came out here and started playing and batting and everything, it kind of clicked for me."

Lopez has never looked back. She's now a four-year varsity starter for the Sailors.

This season, second-year coach Russell Hartman also has asked her to bat leadoff. Lopez didn't blink.


The Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week certainly looked comfortable in that spot in the Battle of the Bay game this year. On the very first pitch of the game against rival Corona del Mar, she laid down a bunt single.

She helped spring a big three-run first inning in what became a 6-0 Newport Harbor win, the Sailors' sixth in a row over the Sea Kings. Lopez finished the game three for four with two runs scored, and two stolen bases.

The players, some of whom grew up together playing for the former Pacific Coast Softball (now Newport Mesa) posed for pictures together after the final out. But make no mistake, it felt good for the Sailors to win the rivalry game.

"We've always been rivals with CdM, so it's always good to get a victory over them," Lopez said. "I guess at this point, it's like tradition. We have to win. You don't want to be that class that loses."

Lopez has been a valuable contributor this year for the Sailors, who went into this weekend's prestigious Woodbridge Softball Classic with a 3-10 record. Through Friday, she was batting an even .300 with five stolen bases. She also hit her first home run of the season March 30, in a 3-1 loss to Paramount at the Savanna tournament.

Like any good leadoff hitter, Lopez makes contact. She has struck out just three times in 40 at-bats. Last year, she struck out just six times in 85 at-bats.

One of Hartman's memories of this year's Battle of the Bay is how Lopez got drilled in the leg on one of her stolen bases. Undeterred, she got up and advanced to third base.

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