By Hector Longo
---- — Two of the participants in this week’s Lawrence Invitational Baseball Tournament, Tewksbury and Lawrence, have already qualified for the upcoming state playoffs.
Another, North Andover, can do so with a victory in Thursday night’s opener vs. the Redmen.
The fourth, Methuen?
Well, this is it for the Rangers. The Lawrence Invitational is now their season.
Momentum and area bragging rights are on the line at Devlin Field as the traditional event hosted by Lawrence High kicks off tonight.
Here’s a look at the four participants:
Lawrence (14-6): The clear cut favorite in this event. Lawrence High has already locked down an MVC small division title tie with Billerica.
The surprising Lancers will send MVC small MVP Joan Vargas (4-2, 2.16 ERA) to the hill on at least one of the two nights.
Dazzling sophomore shortstop Elvis Peralta and slugger Jose Abreu power the attack (.328, 17 runs, 22 RBIs).
Methuen (5-11): Nothing to lose here for the Rangers, who snapped a five-game losing streak on Monday with a win over Dracut.
Leadoff man Evan Lacroix (.304) has to find a way to kick-start a slumbering offense.
Don’t be fooled, though.
With Cam Cyr, Enrique Veras and Brian Reyes, the Rangers have enough to pull off the unthinkable and win this thing.
Tewksbury (5-13): Freshman Brett Morris (3-1, 2.26) will get the ball in the opener. He’s already beaten North Andover twice this season.
League all-stars Mike Casey in center, Zak DiRocco at first base and designated hitter Cam Olivera hope to carry the Redmen offense. Tewksbury has already qualified for the Division 2 North tourney via the Sullivan Rule.
North Andover (5-13): North Andover clinches a Division 2 tourney berth via the Sullivan Rule with a win over Tewksbury in the opener or later in the weekend against Pentucket.
The Knights have gotten an all-conference season out of first baseman Tyler Whitley and should expect a strong closing kick from the senior slugger.
Top gun Jake DiSalvo will be rested and ready to pitch against the Redmen.
Lawrence Invitational Schedule
At Devlin Field, Lawrence
Lawrence vs. Methuen, 7 p.m.
North Andover vs. Tewksbury
Consolation 4 p.m., Championship 7 p.m.
SPOFFORD TOURNEY AT GEORGETOWN
Defending champion Triton is back, but if history means anything, you simply do not repeat in the Bert Spofford Memorial Tourney at Georgetown.
Four familiar Seacoast foes are ready to tee it up, and nobody will be hungrier and nastier than the host Royals, who dropped the CAL Small title this week with a tough loss to Amesbury.
Spofford Memorial Schedule
At Georgetown High
Ipswich vs. Triton, 12 noon
Newburyport vs. Georgetown, 3 p.m.
Consolation, noon; Championship, 3 p.m.
CLANCY TOURNEY AT LYNN
A year ago, quiet North Reading bats were awakened by Lynn Classical in the Clancy Tournament.
“They came in hitting about .230 as a team and came out and killed us,” said Classical assistant coach Jeff Waldron.
“We got them going at just the right time for them.”
The rest was history as the Hornets rolled on to the state Division 3 championship.
R.J. Warnock (7-1), Ryan McAuliffe (8-0) and the rest of the 17-1 Hornets look to gather up the momentum again with a title at Frasier Field.
Clancy Memorial Schedule
At Frasier Field, Lynn
North Reading vs. Lynn Englsh, 4 p.m.
Lynn Classical vs. Saint Mary’s, 7 p.m.