Cesar Loya pitches Olney Charter to Public League title

The Olney Charter High School baseball team, including coach Dan Karlyn (front left), holds up the Public League championship baseball trophy.

Dan Karlyn could have turned to one of two other hurlers instead of going with ace Cesar Loya on three days' rest.

But the Olney Charter manager knew that having Loya on the mound Tuesday afternoon would give the Trojans their best shot at claiming their first Public League baseball crown in nearly five decades.

"He's just a gamer," Karlyn said. "He wants the ball, wants the spotlight. He's been our best pitcher all year."

Sticking with Loya was the right move as Olney leaned on the senior righthander to beat Frankford, 4-1, for top honors at Richie Ashburn Field in FDR Park.

Loya twirled a two-hitter with eight strikeouts in raising his record to 8-1. Frankford's only run, in the third inning, was unearned.

The Trojans earned their first league title since blanking Roxborough, 9-0, in 1969. They also gained redemption for the 9-7 loss they suffered in last year's final against Franklin Towne Charter.

"This is really special," Loya said. "It takes hard work and dedication. We practice every day and our coaches always push us to do better."

Loya, who mixed a fastball clocked in the low 80-mph range and a curveball, whiffed at least one batter in every inning except the fourth. The 6-foot, 190-pounder fanned two in the third and fifth.

"It was probably his best outing of the season," Karyln said. "He was hitting his spots and his off-speed stuff down in the zone was working."

Down by 1-0, the Trojans (16-2) gained the lead for good in the home fourth on Emmanuel Ocasio's two-run single to the right of second base. The Puerto Rico native delivered from the No. 9 hole.

"He's a terrific defensive catcher, but he's struggled at the plate all year," Karlyn said. "It was great to see him come through for us like that."

Christian Santos (leadoff single to center field), Shawn Vega (single to left), and Joseph Gomez (sacrifice bunt) set the stage for Ocasio's clutch hit.

Olney, which posted six singles, added two more runs in the fifth. Loya singled and scored on Frankford's second throwing error, and Giovanni Ortega raced home on Vega's suicide-squeeze bunt.

The Pioneers (11-6) fell short of their fourth league championship in the last six seasons and 19th overall. They won nine of their last 11 after a subpar beginning.

"We didn't hit the ball well," Frankford coach Juan Namnun said. "That was frustrating. It had a lot to do with the way [Loya] pitched."

Frankford 001 000 0 - 1 2 2

Olney Charter 000 220 x - 4 6 3

WP: Cesar Loya. LP: Edgardo Bernard.