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Lopez leads Tigers to first IVL victories of season

April 23, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN

Sports Writer

Coming off two of its worst offensive performances of the season, the Imperial High baseball team went back to basics during practice and worked hours on end on hitting.

After being two-hit in consecutive games April 9 and 12 and striking out a total of 25 times, Imperial turned things around last week and not only got its bats going but recorded its first two Imperial Valley League wins of the year.

Coming through in crucial situations in both games was 18-year-old senior Brenden Lopez, who totaled three hits in the two games and recorded two RBI in each game.


His biggest hits came against Brawley Union High on April 16 as he led Imperial to its first IVL win, a 6-5 victory over then-undefeated Brawley.

"Last week we were really ready for Brawley. Going into it, we really had nothing to lose because they were in first and we were in last," said Lopez. "Coach (William Estes) was telling us that they were probably the best team in the Valley and that they were the team to beat. So that got us a little more motivated for it."

What Estes told his team paid off as the Tigers pulled off the biggest upset in the league this year.

With its momentum high, Imperial followed with its best offensive outing in the IVL so far as it crushed Palo Verde 7-2 Friday. Again Lopez played a pivotal role with a two-RBI double.

While his team has been on a roll, Lopez said the best thing that could have happened for Imperial was a 7-0 loss to Central Union High on April 12 in which the Tigers finished with two hits and struck out 11 times.

"You hate to say it, but that loss to Central really did us good. We learned from that and started working harder in practice on our hitting," said Lopez, Imperial's first baseman. "Before that game we had been working pretty hard in practice on our hitting, but for some reason it just wasn't clicking and that was kind of frustrating.

"But now everything's starting to come together. We're starting to hit and we're playing all-around as a team," said Lopez. "I think the most important thing is that now we're starting to have fun when we play. I think when we have fun and when we hit, everything just seems to work for us. And hopefully we'll be able to keep doing that the rest of the season."

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