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Frawley's walk-off secures first-half title
First-year Midwest League team Lake County snares crown
06/20/2010 9:15 PM ET
Casey Frawley's walk-off home run was his first hit of the day.
Casey Frawley's walk-off home run was his first hit of the day. (Lake County Captains)
It didn't take Lake County long to make an impact in the Midwest League.

The Class A Indians affiliate earned the first-half title in the league's Eastern Division with a walk-off home run by Casey Frawley and a 3-2 victory over the Lansing Lugnuts.

"It was a great finish for a good half for these guys," said the team's first-year manager, former Major Leaguer Ted Kubiak. "This group of guys I've had here is pretty special. They've had a good time together. They seem to like each other."

The Captains, playing in their first season in the Midwest League, began the season with a nine-game winning streak, but their division dominance came into question when the Great Lakes Loons went 11-4 in June entering the first half's final weekend.

Facing Lansing reliever Brian Slover with the score tied, 2-2, and two strikes against him, Frawley wasn't thinking walk-off homer.

"[The count] got to 2-2. I was just trying to get on base with two strikes," Frawley said. "I just wanted to get on base somehow and help the team win."

The 23-year-old Tribe prospect did the Captains one better.

"I was just trying to react," he said of his swing on Slover's slider. The ball landed on the other side of the fence in left-center field, turning around what had been an 0-for-3 performance. "I had a fun day."

From his spot coaching at third base, Kubiak had a perfect view of the shot.

"I was ... trying to figure out if he had enough juice to get it out over the left-field fence," his skipper said. "He got enough wood on it and they all went crazy."

Even though Lake County had secured a playoff berth a week earlier, Frawley and Kubiak admitted the victory was special.

"We wanted to get first place," Frawley said. "It was a big deal to us."

"We've had so many comeback wins," Kubiak added. "They never gave up, they kept battling and battling. We were only out of first place for one day. There was a lot of improvement in a bunch of 'em, which is our main goal. Winning it, I'm very content and happy that I did my job, but they did it; I didn't do it."

Kubiak also credited the coaching staff -- hitting coach Phil Clark and pitching coach Mickey Callaway -- for the success.

"Cleveland's got a lot of great coaches, but these guys did a great job of keeping them together, keeping them on an even keel, keeping them focused, and they responded," he said.

And now that the Captains have claimed the title, they have no plans of letting up in the second half.

"As a team, we just want to stay consistent and win ballgames," Frawley said. "We took first place in the first half, [but] we still want to take first place in the second half."

Josh Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. Daren Smith, an editor at MLB.com, contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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