Cabrillo softball is starting another new era under new coach Dale Lopes, and after having a handful of coaches come and go over the last few years, the Jaguars who have been part of the program are excited to play under Lopes.
“We’ve made a lot of progress with our new coach,” Cabrillo senior Rosaleen Morales (pictured) said. “He makes us work well together and that’s gotten us a lot closer as a group. We do everything as a team and that’s better for us.”
Lopes is a Long Beach native who is in his first year as a high school coach, but has a long history of coaching travel softball and men’s fast pitch softball where he took his team to national tournaments.
“My goal in taking this job is to raise some eyebrows with this group and show that Cabrillo is going to be a program on the rise,” Lopes said. “In the five months I’ve been working with these kids I’ve seen tremendous progress. Are we going to compete for Moore League? No. But part of the process is progressing and we can’t wait to start that.”
The Jaguars have already matched last year’s win total by beating Whitney 6-4 last week.
“I think our main goal is to score more runs and not let (the top teams) score as many runs and just slow them down and get better,” Morales said.
Lopes and Morales both said that having a bunch of utility players in the lineup will allow the Jaguars to stay fluid and flexible during this tone-setting season. Morales could end up playing shortstop, pitcher, second base and third base this season.
Morales is a self-admired quiet leader by example and fellow senior team captains Ray Morales and Valerie Corona are the same way, according to Lopes. They are the only three seniors on the roster. Ray plays up the middle and is a good athlete who plays multiple sports. Corona will play in the outfield and at first base.
Freshman Valerie Quintero will be a ket addition to the lineup. She can play almost every position on the field, and is very familiar with Lopes because he coaches her travel ball team. She will be at the top of the lineup.
Fellow freshmen Lailani Coyazo and Sophia Fabrigas will also be in the starting lineup as Lopes tries to build a core group of players for the future. Coyazo is very good with the bat and will play second base. Fabrigas has a good arm and will be at third base or in the outfield.
Lopes added that he wants to make sure his program is one that creates good people and not just good softball players.
“A lot of the principles I teach on the field they can take into their every day life once softball is done for them,” he said.