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May 23, 2013

Quiroz, Lancers dodge Ranger upset bid

Quiroz, Lawrence dodge Ranger upset bid

LAWRENCE — With only three appearances as a junior, Lawrence High’s Samuel Quiroz entered the year as an unknown commodity. Folks in the Merrimack Valley Conference know who the diminutive senior is now.

Quiroz hooked up in a pitcher’s duel with Methuen southpaw Cam Cyr and proved just good enough, slaying the Rangers in a 2-1 Lawrence Invitational Tournament opening thriller.

“I wasn’t happy with last year, so I worked through the offseason,” said Quiroz. “I worked on my shoulder, and my fastball is now a lot better.”

The Lancer righty improved to 5-1 on the year, lowering his ERA to 1.62 with a four-hit complete game.

Still, the prospect of a Ranger upset hung in the most over Devlin Field for most of the night.

Evan Lacroix singled home Dicky Aziz in the third inning, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead. The crafty Cyr made that single run advantage look almost insurmountable, mowing through the Lancers with nary a scare through five shutout frames.

Lawrence, the MVC small school champ, finally solved the riddle in the sixth.

Elvis Peralta and Jose Abreu opened the frame with back-to-back singles. Peralta raced home on Jose Abreu’s one-hop RBI ground out. A sweet Cyr pickoff for the second out cleared the bases, but the Lancers weren’t done.

Elvis Batista sliced a double to right and Javier Morales tripled to deep, deep center, chasing home what was the eventual game-winner.

Quiroz came out to pitch the seventh inning, his first of the night with a lead and immediately gave up a lead single to Enrique Veras.

That sent Lancer ace Joan Vargas scrambling to get loose in the pen.

“I saw him out there, but I didn’t let it bother me,” said Quiroz. “I was focused on what I had to do, and I wasn’t coming out.”

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