Gamble is One of the Guys

In the life of a minor leaguer, you spend countless hours and days on the road on a cramped bus with 35 people and bags. That is where Dale Gamble, from Middlefield, comes in to play.

Gamble has been the bus driver for the Lake County Captains for the last 4 seasons, starting following the 2010 Championship Season.. He has been a driver for Precious Cargo for the past ten years and is now the senior driver for the company.

Gamble has a hand in a lot of local activities with Precious Cargo. On top of driving the Captains throughout the Midwest League, Gamble drives various Lake Erie College Storm teams to destinations throughout the country. He has driven the baseball team throughout the East Coast on their annual Spring Break trips. He also has taken Lake Erie coach Bob Booher and his women’s basketball team to GLIAC contests in Michigan.

The hockey teams for John Carroll University and Kent State University request Gamble’s services for trips as well as his hometown Chagrin Falls Tigers baseball team.

Following the 2010 season, Precious Cargo asked Gamble if he would like to take the Captains throughout the Midwest League. With baseball being his favorite sport, he jumped on the opportunity.

From the beginning, Gamble vowed to make friends with the players and coaches and make sure they are as comfortable as possible. He offered to take them wherever they want to go when not at the hotel or the ballpark.

“The biggest reward is to watch the members of each team move up throughout the system,” said Gamble about the best part of the job.

Throughout the trips that Gamble has made to other stadiums in Akron, Columbus and Cleveland, players still tell him thank you and wish that he was the driver there as well.

When the Captains swept the Fort Wayne Tincaps to advance to the Midwest League Championship this month, guess who was in the locker room throwing champagne around? None other than Gamble.

“It was exciting to be there in the locker room, they make me feel so welcome. It is rewarding to see the way they treat me.”

Gamble spoke highly of the staff and organization as well, “They are all great to me in so many ways. They have always been a great bunch to me.”

At the end of the season, to show how much respect the players have for Gamble, every single player in the locker room shook Dale’s hand, gave him a hug and genuinely thanked him for everything he has done.

Gamble lives in Middlefield, is married, with a daughter and two grandchildren.

For five months out of the year, he is just simply one of the guys.

Dale Gamble (Credit: Tim Shirer/The Lake County Sentinel)

Posted in Lake County Captains, Midwest League | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

9/13: Cougars sweep Captains to win Midwest League crown

EASTLAKE, OH – The Kane County Cougars showed that they were the top team in the Midwest League on Saturday night.  They swept the Lake County Captains in three games by a final score of 7-2 to become the 2014 Midwest League Champions.

“Kane County played better in all facets of the game. They flat out beat us in all three games. They put pressure on you everywhere. They played well from start-to-finish,” said Mark Budzinski on the Cougars.

The Captains opened the first inning with back-to-back hits. Shortstop Ivan Castillo lined a single to left field and center fielder Clint Frazier doubled into the right center field gap. Castillo scored easily but Frazier was thrown out going to third base.

Kane County tied the game in the top of the second. First baseman Jacob Rogers led off with a walk and advanced to third on a single deflected off the pitcher Anderson PolancoCarlos Penalver doubled down the right field line, scoring Rogers from third.

One inning later, the Cougars jumped out in front by two runs 3-1. Third baseman Jeimer Candelario singled and came around to score on a two-run blast by Rogers.

Polanco pitched into the fifth inning as the Captains walked the tightrope. Candelario singled with one out and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Right fielder Yasiel Balaguert singled to move Candelario to third base. Captains manager Mark Budzinski hooked Polanco and brought in reliever Robbie Aviles.

Rogers singled home Candelario for his third RBI of the night. Catcher Cael Brockmeyer singled to load the bases with one out and Aviles escaped further damage with a double play. Kane County led 4-1 at the halfway point.

Polanco took the loss, with four runs allowed in four and one third innings on seven hits. He walked two and fanned five.

With a three run lead, the Cougars doubled the lead to six with a three-spot in the sixth inning. Penalver reached on an infield single and moved to third on a fielding error by third baseman Paul Hendrix. Deisgnated hitter Mark Zagunis singled home Penalver. Dunston, the runner that reached on Hendrix’s error, went to third on a caught stealing error by Hendrix. Candelario plated Dunston with a sacrifice fly to  left field.

Justin Brantley entered in relief and gave up a RBI single to Balaguert. Aviles allowed three unearned runs on four hits in one and one third innings.

Daury Torrez got the win as he shut down the Captains with one run in five innings. He scattered five hits, and struck out three. Michael Heesch entered for the sixth inning.

The Captains broke the seven run unanswered streak with a run in the seventh inning. Left fielder Dorssys Paulino singled and went to second on a wild pitch. Designated hitter Brian Ruiz singled home Paulino for the 7-2 score.

Brantley threw one and two thirds innings of scoreless ball. Carlos Melo and Trevor Frank gave up one hit in one inning , respectively.

Heesch gave up one run in three innings on two hits. Francisco Carillo pitched a scoreless ninth inning to lock Kane County’s first championship since 2001.

Ivan Castillo had two hits as the Captains were outhit 15-7.

“I was extremely proud of the way this team improved from the beginning of the season. Everyone learned a lot throughout the journey,” said Budzinski on his team.

2015 Opening Day will take place on April 10th in Lansing.

Posted in Kane County Cougars, Lake County Captains, Midwest League | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

September 13th Minor League Daily

Thanks to everyone for following along this year with the Minor League Daily! I look forward to it returning better than ever in April!

Low-A Lake County: Fell to the Kane County Cougars 7-2 (Swept in the Midwest League Championship Series 3-0)

  • Ivan Castillo (SS): 2-4, 2 1B, R, K
  • Clint Frazier (CF): 1-3, 2B, RBI (4), BB, K
  • Brian Ruiz (DH): 1-3, 1B, RBI (1), K
  • Justin Brantley (RP): 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 K
  • Carlos Melo (RP): 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K
  • Trevor Frank (RP): 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K

Up Next: Season is over

Minor League Player of the Day: Clint Frazier

Posted in Lake County Captains, Midwest League | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

September 10th Minor League Daily

Every night throughout the 2014 minor league season, I will post this to recap the games that occur that day. I will look at some of the best performances, announce a player of the day and give the next day’s pitching matchups. Follow @IndiansSystem on Twitter and Like the Indians System on Facebook for up-to-date scores and stats! 

Low-A Lake County: Fell to the Kane County Cougars 4-3 (Trail the Midwest League Championship Series 1-0)

  • Bradley Zimmer (RF): 2-2, 1B, 2B, BB, HBP, R, 2 SB
  • Claudio Bautista (2B): 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI (3), K
  • Nellie Rodriguez (1B): 1-4, 2B, RBI (7)
  • Caleb Hamrick (RP): 4 IP, 1 H
  • Robbie Aviles (RP): 2 IP, 2 H

Thursday’s Matchup: Lake County Captains (0-1) @ Kane County Cougars (1-0) at 7:00 PM

Thursday’s Pitching Matchup: Captains RHP Jordan Milbrath (3-12, 3.95) vs. Cougars RHP Duane Underwood (6-4, 2.50)

Birthdays: INF Justin Toole

Minor League Player of the Day: Bradley Zimmer

Posted in Lake County Captains, Midwest League | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

9/10: Captains fall in championship series opener, 4-3

GENEVA, Ill- The Kane County Cougars (1-0) took the lead in the bottom of the second and made it stick behind a great outing by Jen-Ho Tseng. The Cougars took game one from the Lake County Captains (0-1) 4-3 on Wednesday night. The Captains went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.

The Captains jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Right fielder Bradley Zimmer lined a two-out double to left field. First baseman Nellie Rodriguez followed with a RBI double to left field, scoring Zimmer from second.

Kane County gained back the lead in the bottom of the first inning. Left fielder Shawon Dunston opened the inning with an infield single. Designated hitter Mark Zagunis drilled a two-run home run to right field to take the lead. A single and a walk against Captains starter Mitch Brown put runners on the corners but the Cougars could not put any more runs on the board.

Two singles and a missed catch error on a fielder’s choice loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning for the Captains. Second baseman Claudio Bautista plated two runs with a bases-loaded double to put the Captains on top 3-2.

A horrible defensive inning by Lake County led to two runs in the second inning for Kane County. Center fielder Trey Martin walked, stole second and went to third when Brown threw the pickoff throw into center field. Dunston struck again with an RBI single.

Dunston then stole second base before Brown committed his second error of the game on an infield base hit by third baseman Jeimer Candelario. Dunston advanced to third on the error and then a  walk loaded the bases. With the bases loaded and two outs, third baseman Paul Hendrix committed the third error of the inning allowing Dunston to score and the Cougars led 4-3.

Brown only went two innings before leaving the game. He allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits with three walks and two punchouts in the loss. Caleb Hamrick entered for the third inning.

After the first two innings, Cougars right-hander Jen-Ho Tseng settled down and kept the Captains down a run. He went five innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits. He walked one batter and fanned eight. Ben Wellscame in and pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh inning.

Hamrick retired 11 of the 12 batters he faced across four innings. He gave up a single and that was the only base runner he allowed.

Robbie Aviles took the mound for the seventh inning and he danced around some baserunners to keep the game at one run. Dunston singled for his third hit of the game, stole second and was thrown out on a fielder’s choice. The other runner that reached on the fielder’s choice made it all the way to third but was stranded there.

In the eighth Jasvir Rakkar walked the leadoff batter and threw two wild pitches, moving the runner to third. Rakkar struck out the final two batters to strand the tying run.

Aviles threw two scoreless innings in relief for the Captains.

Francisco Carrillo retired the Captains in order to secure the game one victory for the home team.

Each team had seven hits in the game. Zimmer reached base four times, including two hits, a walk and hit by pitch.

The Captains and Cougars will face off on Thursday before making the trip east to Eastlake. RHP Jordan Milbrath(3-12, 3.95) will start for Lake County against RHP Duane Underwood (6-4, 2.50) for the Cougars. First Pitch is at 7:00 PM from Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.

Posted in Kane County Cougars, Lake County Captains, Midwest League | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

September 7th Minor League Daily

Every night throughout the 2014 minor league season, I will post this to recap the games that occur that day. I will look at some of the best performances, announce a player of the day and give the next day’s pitching matchups. Follow @IndiansSystem on Twitter and Like the Indians System on Facebook for up-to-date scores and stats! 

Low-A Lake County: Defeated the Fort Wayne Tincaps 5-4 (Won the Eastern Division Finals 2-0)

  • Nellie Rodriguez (1B): 2-4, 1B, HR (2), 3 RBI (6), 2 R, K
  • Bradley Zimmer (RF): 2-4, 2 1B, 2 R
  • Dace Kime (SP): 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K
  • Justin Brantley (RP): 1.1 IP, 2 BB, 2 K
  • Trevor Frank (RP): Sv (1), 1 IP, 1 BB, 2 K

Lake County will open the Midwest League Championship Series vs. Kane County on Wednesday. Games 3, 4, 5 will take place in Eastlake on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Player of the Day: Nellie Rodriguez

Posted in Fort Wayne Tincaps, Lake County Captains, Midwest League | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

9/7: Captains off to MWL Championship with 5-4 win

EASTLAKE, OH- The Lake County Captains (2-0) scored the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning as they clinched a spot in the Midwest League Championship Series on Sunday night. An error by the first baseman led to the winning run. The Captains defeated the Fort Wayne Tincaps (0-2) 5-4. The Captains will face Kane County starting on Wednesday.

“I am excited for these guys. They came together and impresses down the stretch. Nellie has been out MVP all year, he has been a team leader this season,” said Mark Budzinski on the team.

The Tincaps broke the scoreless tie in the fourth inning. Designated hitter Fernando Perez lined a one-out double down the left field line. Two batters later, third baseman Dustin Peterson put a RBI single between first and second base to score Perez.

Right-hander Ronald Herrera held the Captains without a hit through the first three innings. Centerfielder Clint Frazier broke the no-hitter up with a single to left field. Right fielder Bradley Zimmer followed suit with a single, moving Frazier to third. First baseman Nellie Rodriguez launched a three-run homerun deep over the left field bleachers.

Herrera pitched into the fifth inning before leaving the game. He walked the designated hitter Brian Ruiz with one out. Michael Collins brought in Colby Blueberg. Shortstop Ivan Castillo beat out a potential double play at first base. Castillo stole second and moved to third when the throw went into center field. Blueberg struck out the final batter.

Herrera went four and one third innings with three runs allowed. He gave up three hits and one walk.

Captains’ starter Dace Kime shut down the Tincaps across five and one third innings. He scattered four hits and gave up one run. He walked one and fanned six batters. Justin Brantley entered and finished the sixth inning.

“Kime had command all night with all of his pitches. He gave us five plus innings in a pressure situation,” Budzinski said of Kime.

The Captains added an insurance run in the sixth inning. Zimmer singled to open the inning. Two wild pitches by Blueberg moved Zimmer to third base. Blueberg walked a batter and left the game when Jason Jester came in. Left fielder Dorssys Paulino plated Zimmer with a sacrifice fly to center field.

Blueberg allowed one run on one hit in one inning of work.

Brantley walked two batters in the seventh inning before Brantley left the game. Right-hander Carlos Melo entered and got the final out of the frame.

Brantley tossed one and one third inning of relief work.

Lake County got two singles in the seventh against Jester. Eric Yardley entered and walked a batter to load the bases. He got the next batter to ground out to extinguish the threat.

Three runs in the eighth inning tied the game for Fort Wayne. Melo walked two batters before catcher John Nester doubled home a runner. On a groundball back to the mound, Melo airmailed a throw to the first baseman. The error brought home two runs and the game was tied at four.

In the eighth, Rodriguez opened the inning with a single to left field. A groundout to second base moved Rodriguez to second base. Yardley walked catcher Richard Stock to face third baseman Grant Fink. Fink hit a groundball to short, the shortstop made the throw to first and the first baseman missed the catch. Rodriguez scored from second base to score the run.

Melo picked up the win, with one earned run allowed in one and one third innings.

Yardley took the loss with one run given up.

Trevor Frank entered and shut down the Tincaps in the ninth inning. The Captains defeated the Tincaps and they advance to the championship round.

The Captains had seven hits in the win. Zimmer and Rodriguez had two hit games. Rodriguez added three RBI to his record. He has six for the postseason.

Posted in Fort Wayne Tincaps, Lake County Captains, Midwest League | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment