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Tone setter

At the top of the lineup, Lopes drove Valencia to the top of the league

Posted: June 13, 2009 8:04 p.m.
Updated: June 14, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Christian Lopes invoked the sort of conversation reserved for professional athletes.

Like during Valencia’s final baseball game this year on May 22 against Vista Murrieta.

The question goes: “Did Christian Lopes hit a homer today?”

The answer: “Did Valencia play today?”

Lopes seemingly homered every game.

The final tally after 27 games was 15 — a new Foothill League and Santa Clarita Valley record.

By the way, Lopes is just a sophomore.

The jewel in the crown was his performance May 8 against then-Foothill League leader West Ranch.

Lopes was simply in the zone, battering Wildcats pitchers in a 5-for-5 performance. In that game, he hit two home runs and two doubles and knocked in six runs in a 22-6 Valencia victory.

The Vikings took sole possession of first place with the win and went on to claim the league title.

Lopes turned it on late.

In the shortstop’s final four games, he was 12-for-16 with four home runs and 11 RBIs.

During Foothill League play, there was no one better.

He was 26-for-45 with 11 home runs and 24 RBIs.

His batting average was .578.

Overall, he batted .453 with 15 home runs, 12 doubles, 39 hits, 39 runs and 33 RBIs, all from the leadoff spot in the lineup.

A majority of the home runs were leadoff blasts.

He walked 24 times, had an on-base percentage of .573 and a slugging percentage of 1.140.

If those numbers don’t do him justice, how about the fact that he probably saw less hitable pitches than any batter in the league.

How about coaches, at least three Foothill League coaches, saying he’s bound to be a first-round pick in the Major League Draft.

Teams will have to wait until 2011 for that.

Until then, he’ll have to settle for high school accolades.

Like this one.

Christian Lopes was the unanimous selection for The Signal’s 2009 All-Santa Clarita Valley Baseball Player of the Year.


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