LAWRENCE — Even with its third straight Merrimack Valley Conference Division 2 title locked up, the Lawrence High baseball remains an unknown commodity.
"Crowds are done, folks aren't paying much attention to us, and we are flying under the radar a little bit," said coach Brendan Neilon.
Last night, the Lancers introduced themselves to many of their LHS baseball brethren with a sparkling 5-3 win over a hungry Andover bunch on Alumni Night at Devlin Field.
"That was nice to see these guys connect with some of the older guys, and to see a lot of last year's guys come back, too," added Neilon.
The Lancers, now 12-3, continue to chug along thanks to quality mound work. Last night it was senior Yunior Vasquez, who typically struggled with his control (9 walks) but utilized the punch out (13 Ks) as his chief means of escape.
When Vasquez finally sunk in too deep, loading the bases on three free passes with two outs in the seventh, Neilon called on Monday's winner, Victor Mendez, who struck out the lone hitter he faced to end it with the tying run on second.
"That's Yunior, but we're winning, and I can't complain," said Neilon, whose club rebounded from a two-loss week with three straight wins this week.
Offensively, Lawrence did just enough with every spot in the order contributing.
Leadoff man Juan Ventura walked in the third, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on No. 2 man Jose Cedano's sacrifice fly.
Three man Edwin Brito hit the ball hard three times, singling in the fifth.
Cleanup hitter Victor Mendez led the second with a double then raced home on a Ricardo Matos' base hit. Matos later scored when the No. 8 hitter Hector Perez singled.
Finally in the fourth, it was the six-hitter, Anthony Rodriguez, who singled and scored on David Quezada's double. Nine-man Darwin Brito finished the night with an RBI hit of his own.
"Everyone is contributing and that's a good thing," said Neilon.
For the Golden Warriors, it was a matter of missed opportunities. Alex Driscoll delivered a two-run double and Greg Calabro squeezed in the third with a perfectly-executed bunt, but Andover stranded 10 overall.
At 6-6, it's an eight-game dash for the Warriors, who'll need at least a 4-4 split to qualify for the Division 1 tourney.
Lawrence 5, Andover 3
Andover (3): Cam Farnham rf 2-1-0, Sean McQuillan 3-1-0, Alex Driscoll dh 3-0-1, Andrew Deloury lf 3-0-0, Ned Deane 3b 1-1-0, Mike McQuillan 1b 3-0-2, Nathan Spellacy 2b 3-0-0, Greg Calabro cf 2-0-1, Tom Dempsey c 2-0-0, Brian Ganci c 1-0-1, Totals 23-3-5
Lawrence (5): Juan Ventura cf 2-1-0, Juan Cedano c 1-0-0, Edwin Brito 3b 3-0-1, Victor Mendez 2b/p 3-1-1, Ricardo Matos dh 3-1-1, Anthony Rodriguez ss 3-1-1, David Quezada lf 3-1-1, Hector Perez 1b 2-0-1, Darwin Brito cf 2-0-1, Yunior Vasquez p 0-0-0, Edison Urena 2b 0-0-0, Totals 22-5-7
RBI: L — Cedano, Matos, Quezada, Perez, D.Brito; A — Driscoll 2, Calabro
WP: Vasquez (6 2/3 ip, 3er, 5h, 9bb, 13k); LP: Hunt (6 ip, 5er, 7h, 1bb, 3k); S: Mendez (1/3 ip, 0r, 0h, 0bb, 1k)
Andover (6-6):0 0 2 1 0 0 0 — 3
Lawrence (12-3):0 2 1 2 0 0 0 — 5