Moms are the first to know that their children are something special. Probably every mother thinks their children are born to do something special. Very few mothers are willing to go all-in with their children and drop everything to support them.
Not the case with Roswell Intermediate shortstop and pitcher Isaac Loya’s mom, Eliza. Eliza knows that after the team’s run in the Little League World Series is over with, that she will come back and have to pay monthly bills. Undaunted, she is betting on her son and herself that everything will be all right.
Last season, Isaac was selected to the Lions Hondo All-Star team and helped lead his team to state before running into a buzzsaw pitcher Mack Mabry, who led Carlsbad Shorthorn to a victory over Lions Hondo with a 73 mph fastball and an array of pitches as a dominating lefty, as Lions Hondo came in second place. Shorthorn would end up going to play in the World Series and being featured on ESPN.
Maybe that is why this year’s Intermediate manager, Kyle Stokes chose Loya again to be a member of his team. “He has a cannon of an arm,” Stokes said. “He is also a power hitter.”
Loya is coming off of an All-Star season when he won the Home Run Derby at Lions Hondo’s closing ceremonies last season. Loya dominated the competition in the Little League last year.
Loya led his travel team the Aces to the USSSA state championship. If that wasn’t enough, he competed and won the regional championship in the Hit, Pitch and Run.
In last year’s interview with RDR sports, Loya said that he wanted to attend Albuquerque Academy and play for the University of Florida, and to make it to the Major Leagues like his favorite player Houston’s Alex Bregman. Loya’s other favorite player is San Diego Padres’ third baseman and shortstop Manny Machado. Loya likes Machado because he plays clean and is a shortstop like him.
One of the reasons Loya plays baseball is because his mother, Eliza Loya, encourages him to play sports. Being able to compete against the best in competitions such as Hit, Pitch and Run as well as the All-Star competitions has gone a long way in developing his confidence.
One of the key moments of the All-Star games was when he took the hill and was ineffective against Texas East, giving up three runs in the first inning. Roswell coach Kyle Stokes went to the mound and told him, “It wasn’t on today, and they need to live to fight another day. Let’s put you at shortstop where you can play good defense.”
Loya kept his head in the game and ended up hitting a two-run home run to bring the Intermediates back and make the score 3-2, before Ross Stokes hit a grand slam to give them a 6-3 lead as they won, going away 10-3, to go to the World Series.
Eliza Loya quit her job to follow her son, Isaac Loya. She was a caseworker. She told her employer that she needed to be off on July 18-26 and needed the travel time to watch her son play baseball. She was told at her job she could have July 19-24 off.
Eliza was unable to reach an agreement over time off and resigned her position on July 10. Her last day she worked was July 12. Eliza will be going to school full-time and is expected to graduate in December with a degree in criminal justice, and is in great spirits as she was getting ready to go to California.
“I have no regrets about resigning,” Eliza Loya said. “I’m moving on to bigger and better things. There will be other opportunities. This is a once in a lifetime thing that I will never give up. I believe in this team and my son. I didn’t even think about it. I will pick my son every time. I know he’s going somewhere someday.”
The team is in Livermore, California, where they drew a bye in the first round. They flew into California, flew out of George Bush International Airport in Houston at 6:10 a.m., they were picked up at the San Francisco International Airport with the Australian baseball team as their travel buddies.
If not for the generous support of the Roswell community, with donations over $20,000 — that money was used to help buy uniforms and pay for travel expenses — they would not have been able to make it this far. The money was also used to house the kids in Houston at hotels and pay for their meals.
At the World Series, the kids are fed and housed for free. Friday, the team had their uniform fitting that says Southwest, which was sponsored by Adidas. The team received shoes, hats and jackets they will get to keep. They also took team pictures and got to go for a swim.
For dinner, the kids ate at Baer Fields where they were treated to different tacos. After they were done doing what they were doing, several different taco trucks pulled up and the kids were told to eat all they wanted.
Today the team will have opening ceremonies at the Oakland A’s field and they will get to go and watch the A’s play the Texas Rangers. The team was so worn out that three of the players were asleep by 6:30 p.m. on Friday.
Roswell/Southwest will play at 3 p.m. Monday against the winner between East and Southeast.
On Sunday, RDR sports will have reflections from each team member on their All-Star season. RDR sports will ask each kid if it has been worth it, giving up their summer vacation. Win or lose, their summer vacation is over and school is about to start.
This is one summer the team members will remember the rest of their lives. We will have analysis from manager Kyle Stokes about each team member and maybe a reflection on the turning point of their season. We will also get his thoughts going forward and see if he will reveal his game-one starting pitcher.
Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or email@example.com.