Frankford captured its sixth Public League baseball championship in the last nine years, edging Edison, 5-4, Thursday behind a complete game from ace Omar Cruz at Richie Ashburn Field in FDR Park.
Cruz, a junior, struck out seven and walked none in throwing 113 pitches. Edison was making its first appearance in the championship game in the program's 55 years.
But Frankford (19-4), a team with just one senior and a combined seven freshmen and sophomores, sprayed six timely singles, stranding just four runners throughout the game, in small-balling their way to the school's 12th league baseball championship.
"He's been our horse all year. We've been behind him all year," Frankford coach Juan Namnun said of Cruz. "We've got a couple other arms, but I have full confidence in that young man, since Day 1. I knew that this was his game. He told me that this was his game."
Edison (15-2) did all it could in the final two innings to try to overtake the Pioneers.
Down by 5-1 with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth inning, Owls shortstop and No. 2 hitter Nelson Coronado blooped an RBI single to shallow right field that scored Jonathan Maldonado.
But Joshua Fontanez, who began the play at first, got caught in a rundown between second and third, and that led Lender Vega to try to score from third base. Vega was tagged out at the plate, stopping the rally with the Owls' No. 3 hitter, Nathaniel Coronado, due up in what would have been another bases-loaded situation.
"I had my best hitter up next, so the last thing I wanted to do was end an inning with him standing in the on-deck circle," Edison coach Matt Fischer said. "I'd hold that guy every time."
Nathaniel Coronado went 3 for 4 with an RBI double.
"It would have been a different game if they don't run themselves out of that inning," Namnun said. "We kept saying, if this game gives you an out, take it. Somebody messes up, you've got to capitalize."
Edison then began the top of the seventh and final inning with three consecutive singles, resulting in two runs to make it a 5-4 game. But Cruz induced a timely, 6-4-3 double play before striking out Vega with a curveball in the dirt to seal the game.
"They made me work," said Cruz, a junior. "I was kind of nervous the last inning, but I knew I could pull it through. Lot of pressure. Lot of pressure."
Nathaniel Coronado was the losing pitcher, going four innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits with three strikeouts.
Leftfielder Hector Cerda led the Frankford offensive charge, going 3 for 3 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Frankford will return to Ashburn Field on Friday at 1:30 p.m. for the District 12 Class AAAA championship game against Monsignor Bonner.
For Edison, it would seem that simply making the league championship would be victory enough a year after it had to vacate all wins, going down in the books at 0-16, for using a player who was ruled ineligible.
Fischer, 25, in his first year with the club, said he considered the season a success, but it was no consolation Thursday.
"We expected to win this game, and I think everybody thinks we should have - at least every one on our side," Fischer said.
He will lose half of his roster to graduation. Meanwhile, Namnun will return all but one player, designated hitter and backup first baseman Ricardo Calcano.
"This is really, really, really a special one for me because it's been a long year," Namnun said. "A lot of youth on this team. . . . We've been here before, and hopefully, we'll be back."
Edison 001 001 2 - 4 12 8
Frankford 020 210 0 - 5 6 5
WP: Omar Cruz. LP: Nathaniel Coronado. 2B: E-Joshua Fontanez, Coronado.