A 20-year-old pitcher in the minor league organization of the Baltimore Orioles has died due to cancer.
The team announced the death of Luis Andrés Ortiz Soriano on Sunday, according to MLB.
“Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn the passing of Minor League pitcher Luis Andrés Ortiz Soriano,” the team said in a statement.
“We will miss his passion and love for the game of baseball, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family.”
Orioles minor leaguer Luis Ortiz was a “super competitive kid,” a “family guy” and a “hometown hero,” especially to his little brother, Ezequiel.
During his cancer battle, he showed was a “fighter,” too, and he fought “all the way to his last breath.” https://t.co/0bTP2c3OKo
— Nathan Ruiz (@NathanSRuiz) March 14, 2023
The statement praised Soriano in his battle against the disease.
“Luis was an inspiration to all who knew him, especially as he courageously battled cancer. We hope that the cherished and treasured memories of Luis will be a comfort for his family and friends during this devastating time,” the statement said.
Manager Brandon Hyde offered his condolences to the family.
“Sad news last night. From all of us here on our Major League staff and the players, we just want to give our condolences to the Ortiz family,” he said.
Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn the passing of minor league pitcher Luis Andrés Ortiz Soriano.
Luis was an inspiration to all who knew him, especially as he courageously battled cancer. Our hearts go out to his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/tTzHIghtD9
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) March 12, 2023
Soriano was a native of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, according to ESPN. The left-handed pitcher was signed by Baltimore in 2019. In 2021, he pitched at the rookie level. Soriano did not play in 2022, according to MLB.
Koby Perez, Baltimore’s director of international scouting, recalled Soriano as “a big-bodied kid, but he was still like a kid,” according to the Baltimore Banner.
“He was very goofy at times, funny. Enjoyed normal 18- and 19-year-old stuff. Listened to music, hanging out to his friends, talking to his friends back home in the DR when he was in the states. Just a big kid. His body did not resemble the way he acted because he was just a big, young teenager,” he said.
Perez said Soriano was religious and family-oriented.
“He was the guy around there, with his family members and neighbors, so much being expected from him as a high-profile signing,” Perez said.
“He was a role model in his neighborhood. Kids looked up to him. His little brother, this was his little brother’s hero. To lose anyone hurts a lot, but this kid, who in his community is seen as this guy who’s doing well and going to come back and he’s from here and he’s our guy, the community is hurting pretty bad,” he said.
Perez said Soriano “fought really, really hard” against the disease.
“He helped a lot of people in his community because he was being looked up to,” Perez said. “Being that it is what it is, at least he left an impact.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.