Softball: Bearcat alum Lopez gets opportunity with professional team


For Paetynn Lopez, home has been the West Coast.

Playing travel ball and high school softball for W.F. West was just the beginning. She stayed in the PNW all four years collegiately playing for Portland State.

So when the chance to play softball professionally came to the forefront in a part of the country Lopez had never been before, she admitted a feeling like never before.

“It was uncomfortable,” Lopez stated. “For me personally, I just had to jump into it and not think about what I’d be missing (out on). Whenever an athlete ends their career, it is kind of an identity crisis.”

That leap of faith allowed the former member of the Bearcats 2017 state championship team to sign a contract with the Hub City Adelitas of the Women’s Professional Fastpitch (WPF) league.

The team based out of Lubbock, Texas is one of four teams in the league.

“It definitely surprised me a little bit,” Lopez said. “My college career ended and I thought that was it. I thought I retired from softball.”

Quite the contrary.

A bond between former Class 2A District 4 foes and then teammates at Portland State was the igniter to Lopez heading down south.

Olivia Grey, who prepped at Woodland, has been a close confidant of Lopez for nearly a decade. The two were teammates for travel ball and despite being separated in age by a year, have expanded their friendship.

Grey signed with the Adelitas and through conversations with Lopez and the coaching staff, there was the potential of the two being teammates once again.

“She reached out to see if I was interested and I said ‘Yes,’” Lopez recalled.

Within three days of Lopez talking with the staff, she was signed and en route to Lubbock.

A handful of months after helping Portland State reach the title game of the Big Sky Tournament, the catcher was back in her gear and in the batter's box.

“Really quick turnaround,” Lopez admitted. “I didn’t have to try out or anything. They (watched) a lot of film on me.”

And her conversations with the people in her circle solidified the decision.

“My support system was like ‘You have to do it, it’ll be a great experience regardless,’” Lopez remembered them saying. “I had plans with my family and partner this summer. They were very supportive.”

Lopez committed to the Vikings her junior year at W.F. West despite offers from Power 5 programs. Amidst the transfer portal era of college sports, she remained loyal to the program.

One of the main factors was the culture surrounding PSU.

“When I was growing up, I didn’t quit things I started,” Lopez said. “They were very personable and cared about the players. All of my teammates were great to each other and pushed each other to be better.”

Her best year came as a sophomore when she launched eight home runs, notched 25 RBIs and had just one error behind the plate and over 200 putouts.

Yet even though the stats say that year was out in front of the rest, Lopez viewed her final conference tourney as when she truly grew as a player.

“I felt I grew tremendously,” Lopez said. “I already had (a lot of) energy and command over the field, but this was different for me. Standing my ground and even more communication with the defense and my pitcher. I was speaking in the circle and trying to be a leader. 

“I felt like I had a voice.”

Statistics are thrown out the window now that Lopez has reached the professional pinnacle of softball. Her top priority is to take it all in.

Still, even she felt like this contract was on the table when she started playing more competitive softball.

“I hope at that time I’d have enough confidence in myself to be like ‘Yeah, I can do that’ I would be in shock, but I wouldn’t doubt myself,” Lopez said. “The big thing for me is to just have fun and love the game.”