RiverHawks finish first season at new stadium with record attendance
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September 12, 2006 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – The Rockford RiverHawks wish to thank their fans for a successful first season at RiverHawks Stadium.

The RiverHawks opened their new stadium on May 31, set an attendance record for the fifth year in a row and made their third consecutive playoff appearance.

The team opened its new home with a crowd of 4,078, the first of seven sellout nights. The RiverHawks also played host to racing star Danica Patrick on another sellout night, July 18, and on Aug. 26, played in front of a stadium-record 4,180.

“As high as we set our expectations for this season, the community exceeded our highest goals,” general manager Josh Olerud said. “Completing year one in our new ballpark, I feel that this is the platform for our continued growth to become one of the top entertainment facilities in the country.”

The RiverHawks increased their attendance by 12 percent, to 115,776. They drew 103,248 in 2005, their final year at Marinelli Field. The RiverHawks averaged 2,463 over 47 home dates.

On the field, the team won the Frontier League West Division title for the second time in three years. RiverHawks skipper J.D. Arndt managed the Frontier League West All-Stars and six of his players, Garrett Bauer, Dave Dowling, Mike Marksbury, Nick Johnson, Rico Santana and Gooby Gerlits, appeared in the league’s all-star game. Bauer was the West’s starting pitcher, while Johnson, Santana and Gerlits each made their second all-start appearance.

Johnson hit .307, fifth in the league. Santana, who will reach the league’s age limit of 27 in December, finished his RiverHawks career third on the career hit and RBI lists. Bauer and staff ace Derek Roper, who doubled as the pitching coach, were both among the league’s ERA leaders. Roper, who struck out 101, third in the league, finished the season in possession of a number of the team’s single-season and career pitching records.

“The RiverHawks continue to place a winning product on the field,” Olerud said. “We’re excited for next season and hope we can bring another divisional champion back to Rockford.”

The RiverHawks are members of the Frontier League, a 10-team independent professional baseball league in its 14th season in 2006. 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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