Sabates, James homer as ‘Hawks straighten skid
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August 13, 2009 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – Robert Sabates and Jason James each hit early home runs on Thursday to support two moonlighting pitchers as the Rockford RiverHawks beat the Washington Wild Things, 9-6.

Sabates (above, file photo) broke a scoreless tie in the first inning with a three-run homer, his fifth of the year, and was 3-for-5 with four RBI. James hit a solo shot to the opposite field, his 10th of the season, in the third inning. James was 4-for-5 with two RBI and moved into the top 10 on the Frontier League’s all-time hit list.

Fill-in starter Fabian Gomez struck out a career-high six for the win. Brett Durand got the final five outs, two nights after his last start, for his first professional save.

Washington’s Jacob Dempsey hit two home runs and Brett Grandstrand also left the park as the Wild Things rallied in the late innings.

The RiverHawks snapped a four-game losing streak and salvaged the finale of the three-game series, in front of a sellout crowd of 3,324. Rockford gained a game in the standings on each of the two teams it trails in the race for the final playoff spot. River City, which holds the fourth and final postseason spot, lost 5-4 at Kalamazoo. Southern Illinois lost, 4-1, at Lake Erie. The Rascals lead the Miners by a game and the RiverHawks by four games.

Gomez (4-2), who filled in for Tanner Watson, scratched because of a sore shoulder, gave up two runs on five hits and two walks over six innings for the win.

Washington starter Chris Ingoglia, making his first start after Sunday’s trade from River City, took the loss. Ingoglia (5-8) gave up eight runs on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings. After he spotted the RiverHawks a 4-0 lead on the home runs by Sabates and James, Ingoglia was touched for two runs each in the fifth and sixth innings. Sabates doubled home a run in the fifth and James singled home a run in the sixth.

James, with 396 career hits, passed Beau Blacken (394) for 10th place on the FL’s all-time hit list.

Washington rallied for four late runs. Grandstrand homered in the seventh inning. Dempsey led off a two-run eighth inning with a home run and hit his 24th homer of the year with two outs in the ninth.

Durand entered with two on and the RiverHawks in front, 9-5, in the eighth inning and finished the game. He went seven innings in an 8-2 loss to the Wild Things on Tuesday.

The RiverHawks host the Florence Freedom at 7:05 p.m. Friday. It’s another installment of the FatWallet.com Friday Night Fireworks Series. In addition, Members Alliance Credit Union sponsors RiverHawks Logo Window Cling Night. Everyone in the park receives a free RiverHawks static window cling.

The RiverHawks are members of the Frontier League, a 12-team independent professional baseball league in its 17th season. Advertising and ticket information is available by calling (815) 885-2255. Fans can also visit the RiverHawks online at www.rockfordriverhawks.com. Most games are broadcast live on ESPN 1380, and on the team website.


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