By: Ryan Wallace - www.vandaliabutlerbaseball.com
VANDALIA - The
walk-up song for Butler batters has been a part of the Aviator’s game day experience
Former Aviator and 2008 graduate Zach Dumler easily holds
the distinction for most unique song however, being welcomed to each plate
appearance by the Zulu chants that precede the Lion King’s Circle of Life.
“Zach was a character,” said head coach Trent Dues. “He made coming to the ballpark enjoyable
Unique as it might have been, when translated to English it
couldn’t have been more perfect.
bagithi baba [Here comes a lion, Father]
Sithi uhm ingonyama [Oh yes, it's a lion]
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba [Here comes a lion, Father]
Sithi uhm ingonyama [Oh yes, it's a lion]
Ingonyama [It's a lion]
Siyo Nqoba [We're going to conquer]”
Whether it was opposing pitchers while at the plate, or
bearing down on batters from the mound, like a lion, Dumler conquered the
competition throughout his career at Butler.
His biggest conquest however, was a major battle that he would have to face off of the field. Dumler was born with a heart defect that limited the flow of blood to his heart.
As a third grader, Dumler underwent angioplasty to increase
blood flow. Despite the procedure, the
young Dumler was still restricted when it came to sports.
“As a child I wasn’t allowed to play many contact sports or
sports that required a lot of running,” Dumler said. “It didn’t interfere with my baseball career
though. I fell in love with baseball,
probably because it was the only sport I was able to play without being singled
In July of 2006, at the age of 17, Dumler would undergo a six-hour open heart surgery. While he was in and out of the hospital in just an incredible three days, the cracked sternum he received from the surgery kept him down for two months.
Down, but not out. With a successful surgery behind him, Dumler got the greenlight to play basketball, a sport that he had previously been forced to give up as a child. That winter Dumler tried out for and made the Butler varsity basketball team.
"It was probably the happiest day of my life when I finally got the OK to play. I've always loved sports and just hoped for the chance to compete." said Dumler.
Dumler though, his first love would always be baseball.
He made his varsity debut around tournament time of his
freshman season, and became a regular by the time his sophomore year rolled
around, spending the bulk of his time as a pitcher and first baseman.
“I played anywhere that I was told and that would benefit the team,” Dumler recalled.
Versatile as he was, and
the 6-foot-1, 210 pound southpaw quickly made a name for himself on the mound
for the Aviators.
“Zach was a bulldog on the mound,” said Dues. “He always had really good stuff from the
Good stuff indeed.
Dumler enjoyed his breakout season as a junior. That year he finished with a 7-2 record and
sported a 2.15 ERA. A mark that would
earn him a First-Team GWOC North designation.
As a senior, he came on even stronger, touting a fastball
that reached speeds north of 90 mph. Dumler would have his most successful season from the bump, striking out
84 batters, en route to a 6-1 record and 1.22 ERA. The lefty also had three shutout wins to his
As dominant as he was on the mound, he was equally as devastating to opponents at the plate.
“Zach also swung the bat very well,” recalled Dues.
As a senior, Dumler led the Aviators in most all offensive
categories. Boasting a batting average of
.485, 35 RBI, 2 HR and 6 doubles.
The impressive campaign earned Dumler First-Team GWOC North
honors for the second year and saw him named the GWOC North Athlete of the
While the Aviators finished an uncharacteristic second place in 2007 and 2008, Dumler was a key part of Butler’s successful post-season run, netting a District Title in 2008.
When looking back, Dumler recalls the importance of the team
first attitude that carried the Aviators to a deep tournament run.
“For current Aviators, I stress the importance of building relationships with each other and
having each other’s back,” stated Dumler. “Buy in to what Coach Dues is preaching, because his knowledge and
understanding of the game has given him the success he has today.”
After an improbable tournament run and District crown, the
Aviators would eventually fall in the regional semi-final to Lakota East, by a
score of 4-3.
“That game sticks out the most in my mind,” said
Dumler. “I really wish I could go back
and relive that moment and I wish things would have worked out differently.”
was the starting shortstop for Lakota East, Dumler recalled. “He hit the game tying home run in the bottom
of the seventh inning and they went on to win the game in extra innings.”
And while the sting
of that defeat remains, the triumphs are abundant as well. When asked about the good times, Dumler’s
mind quickly took him back to a clutch performance against a familiar foe.
“It was my
junior year and we played Northmont during a crucial time in the season, with
tournament approaching,” Dumler remembered. “I started on the mound and went the distance beating them. It felt great because not only did it give us
momentum going into the tournament, but also because they were such a big
In looking back
at his achievements as an Aviator, Dumler is quick to credit the Butler
“We were, and still are really lucky to have a group of coaches who care about the players and live for the game,” said Dumler.
successful high school career, one that seemed nearly impossible so many years
ago, Dumler was about to realize a lifelong dream.
Three schools came calling, but it was Ohio
Dominican University in Columbus that Dumler would officially sign with.
Dumler spent the
2009 and 2010 seasons as a pitcher for the Panthers, before transferring to the
University of Rio Grande, where he would finish his collegiate career.
He played a
number of positions for the Redstorm, and wrapped up his career with a .321
batting average, 8 doubles and 34 RBI and finished 2-0 from the mound in 8
from the University of Rio Grande in 2013, and returned to the baseball team
the following year as a member of the coaching staff.
In 2015 he left
the Redstorm to attend Ohio University, where he would go on to earn a Master’s
Degree in Coaching and Leadership.
While at OU, Dumler joined the Bobcats baseball staff, winning a MAC Championship during the 2014-2015 season.
After graduating from Ohio University, Dumler left coaching
and returned to Columbus, Ohio where he currently resides with his fiancé Meg
Cummins and is a professional in the mortgage industry, working for JPMorgan
Reflecting on it all, Dumler emphasized the importance of
having the love and support of his parents along the way.
“I’ve been incredibly blessed to have my parents and my younger brother Ben by my
side,” Dumler said. “I appreciate them always
being there and leading me in the right direction throughout my life and
It’s only fitting that this article ends similarly to how it
began – with another reference to the opening sequence to the Circle of Life.
The happy couple recently learned that they are expecting. It’s now time to conquer that thing called parenthood – here comes a lion.