Freshman Klopp defying expectations for SDSU

by Antonio Morales

File Photo

Before the San Diego State softball team started its season, freshmen utility Lorena Klopp wasn’t expecting to do much.

“I didn’t expect to be playing a lot,” Klopp said.

But this season, Klopp has found her way into the lineup as well as the SDSU record books.

Even though she is merely a freshman, Klopp has already broken the Aztec single-season record for home runs with 14 this year.

With her 14 round-trippers, Klopp finds herself third on the all-time home run chart for SDSU softball. She is just three behind record-holders Megan McDonald (2005-08) and Erryn Gutjahr (1996-1999).

Klopp’s play even caught head coach Kathy Van Wyk off guard.

“She’s been a pleasant surprise for us,” Van Wyk said. “We had to find a place for her in the lineup.”

Sometimes it’s hard for a freshman to earn the respect and admiration of the seniors, but Klopp’s performance this season has done just that.

“I’ve been very impressed,” senior shortstop Jen Wisneski said. “I wish I could have had as much success when I was a freshman.”

The scary thing is that despite all of the gaudy power numbers Klopp has put up in her first season as an Aztec, she still hasn’t reached her peak as a player.

Her batting average, .252, shows there is plenty of room for her to grow.

“She’s maybe reached about 30 to 40 percent of her potential,” Van Wyk said. “She’s still only batting .260, we’re hoping to get her up in the .280s.”

“She’ll grow offensively and defensively,” Wisneski added. “She’s going to be a great leader too.”

Typical of a first-year player, Klopp has had to do a lot of learning this season.

She had to figure out how to play a new position along with finding the proper mindset to bring to the game.

“She had to learn how to play left field,” Van Wyk said. “She was willing to work hard though.”

“I learned a lot about focus,” Klopp said. “It’s not just a game anymore, there’s a lot more that goes into it now.”

Van Wyk sees endless possibilities for Klopp. The coach thinks her star freshman will be successful on the mound in the future, on top of the success she’s already having at the plate.

“She’s going to be a very good pitcher,” Van Wyk said. “She throws harder than any pitcher we have right now.”

Whether she’s pitching or hitting, Klopp has high expectations for herself for the future.

“I just hope to keep on progressing and keep on getting better,” Klopp said.

Klopp is looking to build on her already impressive freshman season as SDSU takes on BYU at 4 p.m. tomorrow in Provo, Utah.

AT A GLANCE:

When: 4 p.m. tomorrow

Where: Provo, Utah

Why to watch: The Aztecs are looking to knock the Cougars out of first place in their first of the three games this weekend.