Former RiverHawk Dowdy pitching in AFL
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October 29, 2007 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – Former Rockford RiverHawk Justin Dowdy is spending the fall playing with some of baseball’s top prospects.

The Oakland Athletics, who signed Dowdy in September, moved the pitcher from instructional league to the Arizona Fall League. The AFL, in its 16th season, has been a testing ground for future major-league stars. Mike Piazza, Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra each played in Arizona the fall before their Rookie of the Year seasons.

Dowdy has allowed only one hit and has struck out four over three scoreless outings in Arizona. Dowdy has no record and no saves for the Phoenix Desert Dogs. Earlier this month, Baseball America magazine made him a first-team member of its Independent Leagues All-Star Team.

Dowdy won a pennant this summer with Alexandria of the independent United League. The lefty recorded a league-record 24 saves and went 2-3 with a 1.37 earned-run average for the Aces. He had a strikeout-to-walk ratio in excess of 4-to-1 and struck out 102 batters in just 52 2/3 innings.

Dowdy, 24, was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 18th round in 2001. He has been a farmhand in the San Diego, Seattle and Anaheim organizations.

Dowdy spent the first half of both the 2003 and 2004 seasons with the RiverHawks. He opened the ’03 season as the closer and was picked up by the Mariners at the all-star break. He returned to Rockford in ’04 and the Angels signed him at the break. He pitched in the Anaheim organization for a year and a half. Dowdy split last season between Calgary of the independent Northern League and Alexandria.

Dowdy is one of three former RiverHawks in affiliated baseball. Milwaukee signed closer Mike Marksbury at the all-star break this season and he finished the year with the Brewers’ high Class A affiliate at Brevard County of the Florida State League. Last month, San Francisco signed Can-Am League Player of the Year Olmo Rosario off the roster of the Nashua Pride.

The RiverHawks are members of the Frontier League, a 12-team independent professional baseball league that will play its 16th season in 2008. Advertising and season-ticket information is available by calling the box office at (815) 885-2255. Most games are broadcast live on WNTA (1330 AM) and the internet. Fans can also visit the RiverHawks online at www.rockfordriverhawks.com.


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