, Newburyport, MA


October 3, 2013

A lift from Lopez

Amesbury resident bolsters Governor's Academy running game

He’s one of the best Little League baseball players in Amesbury history, and now he’s the lead running back for The Governor’s Academy football team.

Amesbury resident Brandon Lopez has at least a portion of the weight of the Govs’ 20-game winning streak on his shoulders heading into Saturday night’s game at St. Sebastian’s (1-1).

“It’s a lot of pressure, but I try not to think about it,” Lopez said. “I have a great team behind me and a great line in front of me. I like filling big shoes.”

Lopez, a junior, started filling big shoes as early as his Little League days in Amesbury, when, as a 12-year-old, he batted .960 with a .980 on-base percentage. His 70 mph fastball overmatched his opponents, as he allowed only two hits on the entire season before representing Amesbury as a 12-year-old All-Star in the Williamsport Tournament.

“He was one of the best Little League kids we’ve ever had in Amesbury,” said Governor’s Academy football coach Jim O’Leary, an Amesbury resident. “He must have thrown 70 miles per hour. He’s still a great pitcher here.”

Lopez started on the Govs baseball team as a freshman, splitting his time between the pitching mound and centerfield. He saw occasional action at the varsity level in football, playing special teams. By his sophomore year, Lopez was an All-Independent School League pitcher as well as a part-time starter at strong safety in football. He has played two years of junior varity basketball.

“He’s always been a great student, so he was a great match here academically,” O’Leary said. “As a three-sport guy, he came through the admissions office, interviewed, and everything matched up.”

Adding to Lopez’s comfort level on the Byfield campus was O’Leary’s hire as head football coach in 2011. Lopez played under O’Leary with the Amesbury Jets as a fourth-grader.

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