BRISTOL - The Bristol Blues will be getting Alex Loparco back this summer, this time for the whole season.
Last year he joined the club with just two weeks remaining in the season and played in two games. Yet Loparco made his presence felt with three hits in six at-bats and scored three runs.
He continued his strong play this season for Western New England and was rewarded by being named the Commonwealth Coast Conference player of the year after batting .391 with 43 runs scored, 30 walks, 17 stolen bases, 30 RBI and eight doubles.
“It was definitely rewarding,” Loparco said. “I didn’t really expect it, honestly, so it was kind of a shock. But it’s definitely nice knowing the work you put in definitely pays off in the end.”
Loparco believes his time spent in the Futures League last summer was beneficial for him in order to prepare for the season.
“It was a great mix of trying to have fun with the guys but also trying to win at the same time” Loparco said. “Because summer ball is more laid back, but we still want to win in the end. It helped me for sure. It’s high quality baseball in the Futures League, so seeing that pitching and having the exposure definitely helped me.”
Outside of his talent on the field, Loparco sets the tone with a winning mentality. The Golden Bears went 29-13 on the season and are currently set to face Salve Regina for the CCC Championship Series.
“I try to go out there with the same mindset every game and do everything possible to try and help the team win that day,” Loparco said.
Loparco was a third baseman for the Blues last summer. He plays shortstop for Western New England and his ability to move around the diamond gives lineup flexibility to Bristol manager Ronnie Palmer.
“We look for him to be solid defensively, while also adding some athleticism to the lineup,” Palmer said. “Alex is a speed and contact hitter who once he gets on base has the ability to swipe some bags. These types of offensive guys add some energy to the lineup.”
As the Blues’ opening day approaches, Loparco will be ready to go and should be a key player for Bristol. For him the experience was memorable.
“It was cool, I’ve never played in front of that many people before,” Loparco said. “Even when we went on the road to Worcester I think there were 5,000 people at the game. So it was a cool and different experience for me coming from a Division III program.”