Central’s Hoppe, Fruita’s Bridges sign their college letters of intent

Drew Bridges of Fruita Monument High School and Brittany Hoppe of Central High School signed letters of intent at their respective schools Wednesday to play collegiate athletics.

Hoppe, a softball middle infielder whose .658 batting average this season was fourth in Class 5A, signed to play for Scott Peterson at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

“He’s an outgoing, talkative guy like me,” Hoppe said of Peterson. “I’m excited to meet new people and start a new chapter in my life.”

Her mother, Cindy Hoppe, is happy to see her go to school away from home.

“I’m just happy she’s leaving,” she said. “She needs to spread her wings.”

Hoppe, who has a 4.0 GPA, plans to study pre-med at UCCS.

Lanny Paulson, Hoppe’s club team coach since Hoppe was 11, was at the signing ceremony.

“She’s always been one of those kids who’s talented and passionate for the game,” Paulson said. “You just knew she’d do whatever she wanted.”

Bridges signed to play baseball at the University of New Mexico.

His coach will be Ray Birmingham, who in 2005 coached New Mexico Junior College to a JUCO World Series championship in Grand Junction.

Bridges, a shortstop, last spring batted .418 with eight home runs and 27 RBI.

His most notable attribute, says Fruita baseball coach Ray McLennan, is his power.

“One time at Suplizio he hit a no-doubter,” McLennan said. “It was the highest home run I’ve seen a kid hit and it went deep into the left-field stands.”

Bridges said New Mexico is in the process of building a new field that is expected to be completed in two years. Coupled with a coach he respects and the fact he’s a seven-hour drive from home, Bridges has found his collegiate match.

“Birmingham has a will to win,” said Bridges, 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds. “That’s what you want out of every coach.”


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