Lopes helps Chargers in opener

ANAHEIM — Now that’s how you make a first impression.

In the first game for his new team, junior shortstop Christian Lopes could have been nervous Friday night, as the Edison High baseball team opened its season at the Loara Tournament against Aliso Niguel.

If he was, it certainly didn’t show.

Lopes had a three-run home run and six RBIs as the Chargers won, 10-2, at Glover Stadium. Edison is scheduled to play at Sonora in the second round of the tournament at 2 p.m. today, weather permitting.

“They showed you what they’re capable of doing,” Edison Coach Steve Lambright said of Lopes and his sophomore brother Timmy, the second baseman.

They’ve helped Edison become the top-ranked team in Southern California in the Los Angeles Times rankings, tops in the state in CalHiSports’ rankings and even top in the country, as ranked by Maxpreps. But more than that, Lambright has been impressed with how the two transfers from Valencia High have fit in with this year’s Chargers.

“These two Lopes brothers are so grounded, in terms of their character,” Lambright said. “They’re great kids. They’re not cocky, they don’t think they’re above the game. They have blended really well with this ballclub, and that to me, is more important. When you get transfer kids, you just don’t know what you’re going to get...but they’ve done a tremendous job meshing with the club. The team’s responded really well.”

Christian Lopes’ three-run homer to center in the top of the third scored Timmy and also senior third baseman Kyle Jones, giving Edison a 4-1 lead. It came on a first-pitch change-up.

Then, in the top of the fourth, Lopes came up with two outs and the bases loaded. He fouled several pitches off before connecting on a three-RBI double to center, scoring Jimmy Madden, Jones and Timmy Lopes and giving Edison an 8-2 advantage.

“I just wanted to come out and have fun,” said Christian Lopes, the Foothill League MVP last year for Valencia. He hit 15 home runs last year, a single-season record for any school in the entire Santa Clarita Valley.

“The first game, usually everybody’s going to be tense and tight,” Lopes said. “But I just wanted to do my best and contribute in any way I could. It worked out.”

Junior lefty Henry Owens went the whole way, allowing two runs on seven hits. He struck out 14 and issued no walks. His first eight outs came via strikeout.

“He got into a nice rhythm,” Lambright said. “He hit 105 on the pitch count, and he’s fine, he’s a horse.”

Senior first baseman Tanner Phillips hit a solo home run for the Chargers. Junior right fielder Jon Torres was two for two with a double and an RBI. Jones had two RBIs.

Edison will go with its No. 2 pitcher, 6-foot-7 senior Nic Hanson, in the second round of the Loara Tournament.

“I call them my twin towers,” Lambright said of Hanson and Owens, who is just shy of 6-7 himself.

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