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Teen on the Scene for Lowell

July 3, 2018

CHELMSFORD -- Ray Velazquez handles himself on the baseball diamond with a flair that belies his age.

Velazquez, 15, just finished his freshman season at Lowell High School, where he was an MVC all-conference selection, batting in the heart of the order on a Red Raiders’ club that advanced to the Division 1 North Sectional final.

American Legion

He hit .359 with 16 RBI for LHS. And Velazquez has continued to swing a hot bat for Lowell Post 87 this summer.

Velazquez was a double short of the cycle, going 3-for-3 at plate, with a solo home run and three runs scored, while powering Lowell past North Chelmsford Post 313, 10-1, Monday night in an American Legion game at Ayotte Field.

The win improved Post 87′s record to 8-0. North Chelmsford is 2-7.

“He really is a special talent,” said Lowell coach Bill Martel. “I haven’t seen bat speed like that in a long time for a kid his age. He’s a really strong kid. He’s really confident and aggressive on the basepaths.

“He plays a pretty good second base. He can play first base. He can play third base. I could put him in the outfield. He changes the game with his bat. He has a really bright future. Just a phenomenal player and a phenomenal kid.”

Velazquez snapped a 1-1 tie in the fourth by blasting a homer to left center.

“I got a pitch over the middle (of the plate) and I was able to take it yard,” said Velazquez, whose older brother, Edgar, plays with him at LHS and on Post 87. “I felt good up there. I just changed my bat and I was feeling it.

“It’s good to be so young and contributing, knowing I am going to be playing here for a while. We have a lot of talented hitters. I know if I can get a hit and get on base, someone will drive me in.”

Velazquez singled leading off the second inning and scored Lowell’s first run on Thomas Hassett’s RBI grounder. He started a four-run rally in the sixth with a triple and scored on a base hit by John Donovan (2 hits, 2 runs scored).

Joey Sanchez chipped in with two hits, including a bases-clearing double in the seventh, and four RBI. Aidan Foyle had a run-scoring hit, while Hassett notched a hit and scored two runs. Kyle DeRoma banged out a pair of hits.

Tim Scott was the winning pitcher, allowing four hits and one run while striking out five in four innings. Reliever Zach Gitschier earned the save by pitching three scoreless innings with seven strikeouts.

“We are 8-0 but to be honest with you we could very easily be .500,” said Martel. “It’s a very resilient team. Even when we’ve been down late in games, we’ve put together good at-bats and found ways to win. I guess that’s what good teams do.”

Vinny Eramo had two hits with a double, and RBI for North Chelmsford. John Barry had a hit and scored a run. Mike Vecchione had the other Post 313 hit. Dylan Bogacz pitched well.

“We hung tight,” said North Chelmsford coach Colin Clancy. “We battled for the first five innings. They broke it open late. We had some opportunities, but we just couldn’t get over the hump.”

Follow Carmine Frongillo on Twitter @cwfrongi