In a season of firsts for the Captains, Casey Frawley added one more to the list Monday -- champions.
Frawley's sixth-inning RBI single broke a tie game, putting Class A Lake County ahead for good in a 3-1 victory over the Clinton LumberKings in Game 5 of the Midwest League Championship Series.
With two outs in the sixth, the 17th-round pick by the Indians in 2009 drove in Delvi Cid, who singled and stole second earlier in the frame.
"[Yoervis] Medina was throwing well all night, he was making it tough on us," Frawley said. "I was doing my best to get a hit. I took advantage of a fastball he left over the plate and hit it up the middle."
The 23-year-old Connecticut native hit .326 with six runs scored and five RBIs in 11 playoff games for the Captains. Frawley had struggled in the second half, batting .247 in 68 games after the All-Star break.
"Earlier in the second half, we had some really important guys get called up and I kinda put too much pressure on myself," Frawley said. "The coaches told me play my game and that would help the team the most, so I just kind of took a step back and let myself be a part of the team. We had a bunch of players that were good through the whole year."
Manager Ted Kubiak, a former Major Leaguer, wrapped up his first season with Lake County with the title, after managing the Indians' Arizona League team in 2009. The Captains joined the Midwest League for the 2010 season, after spending the previous seven seasons in the South Atlantic League, where they reached the playoffs twice but never won a championship.
"This whole thing was great," Kubiak said. "They all gave everything they have, every single guy. There isn't one guy ... even the guys that didn't get into the game, they were all cheering and pulling for us."
The Captains clinched the Midwest League Eastern Division in the first half with a 44-25 record. They slumped during the second half, going 33-37.
"The way we played, these guys gave me everything they had," Kubiak said. "I was hoping to finish at .500, that would have been a very good second half for us, but I kind of knew the heart that these guys had. I was just kind of hoping that what we had done to prepare them would work."
Giovanni Soto, acquired on July 28th from the Tigers for Johnny Peralta, struck out nine and allowed a run on three hits over 5 2/3 innings. He exited after Nick Franklin tied the game with an RBI single. Jeremy Johnson (1-0) got Vinnie Catricala to ground out with two on to end the frame.
"I was hoping we could get Soto through three or four, because he's been a little worn out," Kubiak said. "He went along with everyone else on this club, he just gutted it out. He came out throwing like he was earlier in the year and was just outstanding. He had his pitches working against a good club and got us to where we needed to be. He's a 19-year-old kid with tremendous poise."
Preston Guilmet earned his fifth postseason save, fanning five over three hitless innings. The former ninth-rounder pitched in six playoff games and did not yield a run while striking out 19 in 11 2/3 frames.
"He was the guy," Kubiak said. "He's the guy to go to. He was ready to pitch three or four tonight. That's his thing, he's done a great job all season for us. He was the guy we needed and he did it."
The Captains got on the board in the fifth when Chase Burnette and Roberto Perez singled to open the inning. Jason Smit hit into a double play, scoring Burnette. In the eighth, Greg Folgia lofted a sacrifice fly for his league-leading ninth playoff RBI.
Lake County became the second Indians affiliate to be crowned league champion, after the Triple-A Columbus Clippers defeated the Durham Bulls to claim the International League Governors' Cup.
Medina (1-1) went the distance for the LumberKings, allowing three runs on five hits and striking out seven.