Central Valley High School’s Gabrial Lopez and Sergio Solis returned home from Arizona Monday evening.
Lopez and Solis traveled in the same vehicle during the 10-plus hour drive to Peoria.
They also stayed in the same hotel the first night.
“It’s fun having someone around you’ve known for a while,” said Solis, a senior. “We’ve been teammates in high school for three years. We started playing together when he was a freshman and I was a sophomore.”
“We’ve been playing (travel baseball) together for the past couple of months,” said Lopez, a junior. “It’s been a good way to bond with him. It will definitely show on the field at Central Valley once we get to play.”
Lopez and Solis were both major contributors during the Hac-Man 18-and-under competitive baseball team’s top-16 finish in the Upperclass Division of the Pathway Baseball Tournament.
Lopez and Solis helped lead Hac-Man to a 3-1 record at the Peoria Sports Complex, which also doubles as the San Diego Padres’ and Seattle Mariners’ spring training facility.
Hac-Man earned the No. 1 seed for the 56-team tournament after compiling a perfect 3-0 record in pool play. Hac-Man outscored its opponents, 31-3.
Hac-Man collected wins against the El Paso Falcons (10-0), CSB Prospects (13-2) and the CBA Marlins Gold (8-1).
Hac-Man was upset by the Spokane Crew 17-and-under team (7-5) in bracket play on Sunday.
“I thought we were talented enough to go to the finals,” Solis said. “We didn’t get hot at the right time.”
“We got behind early and played catch up the whole game,” Lopez said. “They capitalized on every mistake that we made.”
Solis logged playing time at catcher and third base.
He batted 6-for-9 from the plate during the tourney with one homer, two doubles and three RBIs.
“I’m satisfied with how I played,” Solis said. “I was just trying to have fun.”
Lopez logged playing time at pitcher and first base.
He compiled a 1-0 record on the mound with eight strikeouts and two walks versus the CSB Prospects.
Lopez allowed one earned run and one hit.
“I wouldn’t say I’m satisfied,” Lopez stated. “I feel like I could have pitched a lot better. But I got the job done and I got a lot of run support. My teammates backed me up. That plays a big role in a pitcher’s performance.”
The Roseville-based team is coached by former Major League Baseball player Jeffrey “Hac-Man” Leonard.
“I thought I knew everything about the game until I met him,” Solis said. “There’s so much more to learn.”
“He makes you look at baseball in a different way,” Lopez added. “And it gets you smarter. Hopefully, me and Serg can bring that to our high school team.”