April 11, 2003

Lopez Playing a Key Role in Barons Title Quest

By John Philip Wyllie

Bonita Vista High School’s third ranked softball team won 33 games last season, but the one game they lost is the memory that players such as senior Dionne Lopez cannot put out of their minds.

“Personally, I think we should have won (the CIF Division I championship) last year, but we have a great chance once again to do it this season,” said the Barons star third baseman and catcher. Winning 14 consecutive games to start the current season before falling to Torrey Pines last weekend, the South Bay juggernaut is once again on track and picking up steam. Lopez, one of several Mexican-American players for the Barons, has taken on more of a leadership role this season serving as a team captain.

“Dionne starts at either third base or catcher and she is hitting the ball real well for us,” said Barons coach Lance Christensen. “She is very coachable and fun to work with and she’s been a four-year varsity starter. Dionne is one of our most versatile players,” Christensen added. “In addition to catcher and third, she can also play second base and outfield.” Lopez does just about everything but pitch and sell game programs. With a pitching staff that includes Emily Turner, probably the county’s best hurler, she doesn’t need to.

“Third base is probably my favorite position,” Lopez said. “I’ve played there for the past seven years, so I am more knowledgable at that position, but I also like catching when we are playing a really competitive team.” Lopez has helped the Barons topple several of the county’s best this season including defending champion Poway, Serra, Granite Hills, and Eastlake. But she knows the real test awaits in postseason CIF competition. Beyond that, she is looking forward to playing in college.

“I’d love to play Division I softball somewhere and I am hoping to go to UNLV. I’d like to get into nursing eventually,” Lopez said. Christensen thinks she is a legitimate scholarship candidate.

“She hasn’t had any inquiries yet, but she certainly has the ability to be successful at the collegiate level. If not during our season, she will probably get picked up afterward.” For now, Lopez is focused on the current season and helping the Barons achieve their goal of bringing home a coveted CIF crown.

“We are really starting to get into it now. We are getting a lot smarter at what we do,” Lopez said. That all important team chemistry is starting to kick in and Lopez believes the Barons are on a roll. “We are really close again this year. We’ve all known each other for a very long time. To go out with a CIF championship would be the highlight of my career.”

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