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Bulldog Lopez top offensive player in WAC
Ricky Lopez was selected 2017 Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Lopez ranked first in the WAC in doubles, RBIs and slugging percentage, and second in batting average and on-base percentage. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

A three-year standout with Ceres High's varsity baseball program, senior slugger/infielder Ricky Lopez was voted Offensive Player of the Year for the Western Athletic Conference this past month.

"'I'm pretty happy," Lopez said. "It would have been great to get MVP. But I'm not disappointed. I'm proud of what I was able to accomplish. All my hard work paid off."

Bulldog teammates Adrian Magdaleno, Blane Abeyta, Dalton Durossette, Adrian Lujan and Ismael Ontiveros were all selected to the WAC First Team.

Ceres High's Zach Kommavong and Brock DeWitt both earned second-team all-conference honors.

The Bulldogs placed second in the conference standings (12-3).

Ceres High finished one game behind WAC-champion Los Banos (13-2).

The Bulldogs quadrupled their league victory total from a year ago.

"I'm happy my teammates got recognized as well," Lopez said. "They really earned it."

Patterson senior shortstop/pitcher Santiago Cantu was named WAC MVP for the second straight year.
Lopez ranked ahead of Cantu in five offensive statistical categories.

Ricky was first in the WAC in doubles (10), RBIs (22) and slugging percentage (.740), and second in batting average (.500) and on-base percentage (.561).

Lopez scored 13 runs, stole seven bases and tripled once.

The Bulldogs also beat the Tigers three times.

"He's a good player," Lopez said. "He's the MVP so hats off to him."

Ricky's main position was shortstop. He also logged playing time at second base and catcher.

"There was no pressure," Lopez said. "It's all about having fun out there. I was motivated because it was my last season."

Magdaleno, a junior pitcher, posted a 6-1 record with a 1.37 ERA, 27 strikeouts, seven complete games and one save.

Durossette, a freshman third baseman, batted .440 with one homer, three doubles, 13 RBIs, 14 runs and four stolen bases.

Dalton compiled a 4-2 record with a 2.79 ERA, 32 strikeouts and one no-hitter at pitcher.

Abeyta, a senior catcher, batted .404 with two homers, three doubles, 17 RBIs, 17 runs and four stolen bases.

Lujan, a senior first baseman, batted .356 with one triple, four doubles, 11 RBIs, 11 runs and two stolen bases.

Ontiveros, a senior outfielder, batted .289 with three doubles, five RBIs, 11 runs and four stolen bases.

Lujan and Ontiveros were also named to the WAC First Team their junior years.

DeWitt, a sophomore utility player, batted .326 with eight RBIs, 12 runs and four stolen bases.

Kommavong, a senior second baseman, batted .318 with four doubles, six RBIs and three runs.

"I always had confidence in my team," Lopez said.

Ricky earned a spot on Ceres High's varsity baseball team as a sophomore.

Lopez helped lead the Bulldogs to one WAC title, two Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs berths and 57 victories in three seasons. Ceres High amassed a 26-13 record in WAC play.

"I had a blast," said Lopez, who will continue his playing career at either Merced College or Modesto Junior College. "I matured on and off the field as a leader. I'm proud of myself. My dad got me into baseball. Since then, I've loved it. Baseball takes my mind off things."