Dayton Dragons 15, Lake County Captains 4

The Lake County Captains were defeated by the Dayton Dragons on Saturday, June 5th in a game where it seemed like everything that could go wrong for the Captains did go wrong. The Captains did not have a traditional starter on the mound as Captains’ pitcher Kevin Coulter made the first start of his professional baseball career, which made me make a note to inquire about the strategy of pitcher deployment for the game. Coulter was aggressive and able to find the zone by throwing 34 of his 51 pitches for strikes, but he frequently left balls over the middle of the plate. The second inning rally that put Dayton up early was kickstarted by back-to-back bloop singles, but they frequently made optimal contact throughout the game. Every Lake County pitcher to make an appearance in the game allowed a run,.

The pitching staff had one of those nights. While that bad night was because pitchers weren’t at their best, the Dayton Dragons lineup came out ready to swing the bats. The Dragons were led by CF Quin Cotton, who had four hits (two HRs) and six RBI.

The position player group had an equally bad night, only mustering up four runs on four hits during the game. Lake County batters struck out 13 times and left a total of 12 runners stranded during the game. The youth of this Lake County position player group showed with guys looking lost at the plate and in the field after the game got away from them early. I think that rust also played a part in Lake County’s performance on the mound, in the box, and the field because a large majority of these individuals are getting back into the swing of things after not playing competitive baseball for almost two years. My metaphorical cap has to be tipped to Dayton for how their pitching staff performed by shutting down a talented Lake County lineup for a large majority of the game.

The Game Is The Game

During the postgame conference, I had a lengthy chat with Lake County manager Greg DiCenzo, and it really provided a lot of insight for the individual game, the team, DiCenzo as a manager, and baseball in general. He was very honest and forthcoming about what went wrong and focused on the team losing instead of poor individual performances. I could see and hear DiCenzo’s disappointment because they lost, but hearing him elaborate about guys not focusing and picking each other up when Lake County was trailing early helped me see the passion and intensity he still had after the game was over. DiCenzo wants his guys to play with that same passion and intensity as a team. DiCenzo held himself accountable for how things went also, which is a great sign to see.

While the box score tells the story of a bad night, the Captains manager offered more depth and stepped up on behalf of the team. DiCenzo personifies everything he wants from his entire ball club during the interview, and that really stood out to me. This is Greg DiCenzo’s first year managing a professional baseball team for the Indians organization, but it’s easy to see the 10,000+ hours he’s already given to the game throughout his life.

State of The Pen

The Lake County coaching staff will be collaborating with the Indians pitching coordinators to evaluate and determine who will be on call for Sunday’s game, and figure out how high their pitch count can go. DiCenzo has not used any bullpen arms in back-to-back games, so do not expect the five guys who pitched this game to make an appearance in the next game.

Starting pitcher Mason Hickman will be on the bump for the Lake County Captains in the final game of this current series against the Dayton Dragons. Hickman being able to go five or more innings for the Lake County ball club would be a huge boon to this banged-up and tired pitching staff.

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