Once an injury-riddled, middle-of-the-pack baseball team, Frankford is two wins away from its third consecutive Public League title.
"We were slumping in the middle of the season," senior Tim DiGiorgio said after the visiting Pioneers topped host George Washington, 7-4, Friday to claim the league's Class AAAA championship. "We weren't doing much right. All of that has changed."
Frankford struggled when regulars Kevin Montero and Carlos Ramirez were sidelined with ankle injuries. Also, Eduardo "Cheese" Sanchez couldn't pitch because of what coach Juan Namnun termed a case of "dead arm."
"Having these guys back changes the dynamic," Namnun said. "This is only our third time with this lineup in the last month or month and a half."
Next for Frankford, at 1 p.m. Monday at Ashburn Field in South Philadelphia, is a Public semifinal vs. Class AA representative Prep Charter.
Against Washington, the Pioneers, with the aid of five errors, rallied from a 4-1 deficit. After forging a tie with two fifth-inning runs, they added two more in the sixth and one in the seventh.
DiGiorgio, who started the game in center field, came up huge in relief of Sanchez. The 6-foot-4, 180-pound lefthander pitched three innings of hitless relief, striking out six.
"I'm OK with any role the coach gives me," DiGiorgio said. "Coming in as a closer, it feels like the game is in your hands. I like being in that position."
DiGiorgio, who was a top quarterback in football and will be a preferred walk-on in that sport at Temple, returned to the diamond this spring after a two-year layoff.
The score was 4-4 entering the home fifth. After Sanchez issued a walk and yielded a bloop single, Namnun called on DiGiorgio to douse the fire.
DiGiorgio promptly whiffed two batters, and got the third out on a fly ball to right.
"I kind of felt like I was in a zone," DiGiorgio said. "Anything in foul territory made no noise. I just tried to keep the ball down and work the corners."
In the sixth, after DiGiorgio's sacrifice fly produced the go-ahead run, Montero followed with a shot to center that was bobbled and then dropped, allowing Kidanny Cumba to score and make it 6-4.
Washington managed only two hits after its four-run outburst in the third inning.
DiGiorgio "came in and shut us down," Eagles coach Ken Geiser said. "He threw a nice fastball, and we struck out on some high fastballs."
Frankford 001 122 1 - 7 10 0
George Washington 004 000 0 - 4 7 5
WP: Tim DiGiorgio. LP: Roger Hanson. 2B: GW-Corey Sharp.