Otters end RiverHawks’ postseason, 6-3, in 13 innings
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September 10, 2006 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – The Rockford RiverHawks’ playoff run came to an early end with the longest game of the year.

The Evansville Otters rallied for three runs in the top of the 13th inning and beat the RiverHawks, 6-3, in a 4-hour, 9-minute marathon Sunday at RiverHawks Stadium in Game 5 of a Frontier League first-round playoff series.

The RiverHawks, who had won the first two games of the best-of-five series going to Game 3 at Evansville, lost three in a row. The Otters, the first team with a losing record to reach the FL postseason since 1994, advance to the finals. They will host Chillicothe on Tuesday.

The RiverHawks had not trailed in 30 postseason innings at RiverHawks Stadium, gave up a game-tying unearned run in the ninth inning and fell behind in the 13th. Dave Dowling (0-1 in postseason), who had entered the game in the ninth after the Otters scored, left after giving up back-to-back singles to start the 13th. Tanner Watson, the Game 2 starter and winner, entered and Tom Pennino greeted him with a RBI double to left to break a 3-3 tie. Watson threw a run-scoring wild pitch and Pennino scored on Dale Mueller’s two-out single.

Evansville closer Mike Bille, who got the save in Games 3 and 4, pitched five scoreless innings of relief for the win. Bille (1-0) escaped a two-on, one-out jam in the 12th and retired the side in order in the 13th.

Rockford scored in the first inning on Jason James’ RBI single and had leads of 2-0 and 3-2. The Otters erased both deficits.

Sunday’s game was the last in a RiverHawks uniform for left fielder Rico Santana, who has reached the league age limit of 27, and for staff ace Derek Roper, who said he plans to retire. Santana was 3-for-5 in his finale. Roper, who pitched a 5-0 shutout in Game 1, came back as Sunday’s starter. Roper, who pitched on three days’ rest, gave up two runs on five hits in five innings.

The RiverHawks are members of the Frontier League, a 10-team independent professional baseball league in its 14th season. Advertising, ticket and suite information is available by calling the box office at (815) 885-2255. All games are broadcast live on WRHL-FM, 102.3 – the Hub and online at www.rockfordriverhawks.com.


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