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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Jun. 13, 2018 2 years ago

Sports Spotlight — Windermere Observer: Derek Lopez

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Derek Lopez, 12, is a strong batter who hit two home runs during a recent game.
by: Eric Gutierrez Staff Writer

Derek Lopez plays for the Windermere Little League Brewers, as well as the Windermere Little League Majors All-Star team. He hit two home runs during a recent game against the Windermere Little League Mets. He is named after his favorite baseball player and excels in the classroom as well as on the ballfield. Playing ball runs in his family. He often practices with his parents and his sister, Gracie, who plays softball for Dr. Phillips High School.

You moved to Florida from Connecticut. How is playing baseball in Florida different from playing in Connecticut?

When we moved here, it was December, and it was like 90 degrees … The only major difference is that I got to play baseball (all) year, so I improved faster. Probably dealing with the heat (is the biggest adjustment).

How did you get started in baseball?

When I was little my dad was like, ‘Oh I’m going to sign you up for baseball.’

Did your dad play? What positions did he play?

Yes. I think he was middle-infield, second base and pitcher.

How old were you when you started playing baseball?

Five.

Do you play any other sports?

Nope, just baseball.

What is the best baseball advice that you’ve received?

When you’re up at the plate, all you (should) think about is just hitting the ball. That’s all you think about because you never know what could happen if you start (losing focus).

Who is your favorite baseball player?

Derek Jeter.

What is your favorite baseball team?

The New York Yankees.

If you could play a game of baseball on any baseball field in the country, which would you choose? 

Yankee Stadium.

What is your favorite baseball memory so far?

My favorite baseball memory actually (happened) pretty recently on this team. I hit two home runs in one game. 

Is that the most home runs you’ve hit in one game? How many home runs in total have you hit?

Yeah. (I’ve hit) six total, and five of them were out of the park and one of them was inside.

You excel in the classroom as well as on the baseball field. Can you talk about some of your recent school accomplishments?

I made the National Junior Honor Society and (I got) straight As. And I also made all-county for orchestra.

What instrument do you play? Do you play more than one?

I play the viola — a stringed instrument. … I’m working toward (learning) the cello.

What is favorite subject in school?

I would have to say orchestra. For core subjects, science (is my favorite), but orchestra is probably my favorite because playing the viola is a lot fun.

Who is your favorite teacher?

I don’t know. I had a lot of favorite teachers this year. I would say probably my art teacher (Cortney Matteson) because she has a lot of intelligence about art.

What is a good movie that you’ve seen recently?

“The Sandlot.”

Eric Gutierrez is a staff writer with the West Orange Times & Observer and the West Orange Observer. He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2015 with a double major in Journalism and Political Science. Contact Eric at...

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