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BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Pitchers have dominated The Californian's Softball Player of the Year award in recent seasons, but second baseman Lucy Lopez was simply too dominant to ignore this season.
Lopez, a sophomore at Stockdale High, batted a Central Section-leading .630 this season (according to MaxPreps) and added an array of other offensive numbers that were off the charts when compared to everyone else.
"I don't know how I got that high," Lopez said of her gaudy batting average. "I didn't pay attention to statistics. My dad says I need to hit 1.000 next year."
A left-handed batter, Lopez isn't the typical slap-style hitter. She showed some pop with 16 doubles, three triples and three home runs among her section-leading 58 hits. She showed off her speed with eight-for-nine on stolen base attempts and defensively she had only four errors in 99 chances.
In the playoffs, she was 6-for-7, including 3-for-3 in the Mustangs' 4-0 loss to Fresno-Central in the Division I semifinals.
Lopez went hitless in only three games this season for 18-8-2 Stockdale, added 20 multi-hit games and ended the season with a 17-game hitting streak.
"It's pretty unbelievable to come in as a sophomore and have a year like that," said Stockdale coach Amanda Hockett, who said Lopez is the Mustangs' finest hitter in her five seasons as head coach. "She's doing that against some outstanding pitchers we face, pitchers with full-ride scholarships to Division I (college) programs."
Lopez had an impressive freshman season in 2012, batting .340. She struck out 19 times as a freshman but only four times this season.
She is the first non-pitcher to win the All-Area Player of the Year award since Centennial's Ashley Bailey in 2003.
"It's going to be hard for her to improve those numbers," Hockett said.
Lopez could wind up at shortstop next season, Hockett said, with the graduation of senior Baylee Boren.
Lopez is more comfortable in the outfield. She's a left fielder for her club team, the SoCal Athletics, an under-16 team based in Chino.
Lopez, 15, said she was initially unhappy about moving to second base before her freshman year but has gotten more comfortable in the infield.
"It's not too big a deal because I used to play second base when I was younger," Lopez said.
She also bats leadoff for the Mustangs, as opposed to hitting fifth or sixth for her club team.
"Batting leadoff puts a lot of pressure on you," she said. "But I'm fine either way."
Lopez admits she's an intense player, which can create some problems.
"My mentality wasn't so great this year," she said. "Every time I got a groundout or a weak hit I got mad at myself. I'd get angry and throw my bat.
"Coach Hockett even pulled me out of a game once. I need to work on that, and probably improve my defense. ...
"I get mad at myself if I cost us a run or cost us a game, but it's part of the game. Everyone makes mistakes. You've got to get over it."
Hockett said Lopez is already being scouted by potential Division I programs.
"She just has to keep up with her success," Hockett said. "She will get a D-1 scholarship somewhere. She's a pretty good student (about a 3.5 GPA)."
Lopez said she's interested in UC Davis, UCLA, UC San Diego and Fresno State.
"I'm looking things over," she said. "I'm e-mailing colleges so they can see me play on weekends. Hopefully I'll get an offer."