Area prep teams, top prospects to play at stadium
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April 16, 2007 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – Road Ranger Stadium is becoming a mecca for area baseball teams this year.

The Rockford RiverHawks announced today that local high-school teams plan to play three games at the stadium this spring. Harlem, Rochelle and Guilford high schools will all take the field at the same site that also plays host to the Rockford RiverHawks’ 51-game home schedule and Rockford College’s entire home schedule.

Rochelle and Harlem meet in a doubleheader at 10 a.m. Saturday. At 1 p.m. Saturday, April 28, visiting LaSalle Peru plays Guilford in a single game.

All the teams are able to take the field without paying a stadium rental fee because they used the RiverHawks’ fundraising plan. Each team receives 500 RiverHawks tickets for a date designated as that team’s fundraising night. The prep team sells the tickets for the $10 face value and keeps $3 of each ticket.

“It goes to our program and we get the opportunity to play a doubleheader in the RiverHawks’ stadium,” Rochelle coach Sam Knaack said.

His team is selling tickets for the RiverHawks’ June 12 game against Traverse City. On that evening, designated as Rochelle Night, the Rochelle High players will be invited onto the field for pregame introductions and presented with a check for the money raised for the program, said Knaack, who is also the RiverHawks’ bullpen coach.

“It gives us a little extra funds to purchase some extra equipment, aluminum bats, do some upgrades to our field here at the high school and any baseball road trips we take, it helps support that as well,” Knaack said. They’re pretty excited about having the opportunity to play baseball on a professional field against Harlem.”

Guilford was ranked seventh in the state in the preseason poll at Prepbaseballreport.com. The Vikings feature Creighton recruit Cody Scarpetta, a pitcher-shortstop ranked seventh in his class by the same website. Harlem features pitcher Austin Smith, who is headed to John Logan Junior College, a juco powerhouse. Rochelle pitcher-shortstop Jon Dicus is headed to Kankakee Community College.

RiverHawks Stadium will also host the IHSA Class AA supersectional on June 4.

“This is an opportunity for Guilford to play a game on this field going into supersectionals,” RiverHawks general manager Josh Olerud said. “Second, this is Rockford’s showcase field.”

The RiverHawks are the Western Division champions of the Frontier League, a 12-team independent professional baseball league that will play its 15th season in 2007. The RiverHawks begin their sixth season on May 23 at Windy City. The home opener is at 7:05 p.m. May 25, when the RiverHawks host Windy City. Advertising and season-ticket information is available by calling the box office at (815) 885-2255. All games are broadcast live on WNTA (1330 AM). Fans can also visit the RiverHawks online at www.rockfordriverhawks.com.


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