Freedom spoil Watson’s debut, ‘Hawks lose 9-5
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June 16, 2007 - FLORENCE, Ky. – On Friday, Florence played its longest game in Champion Window Field history. On Saturday, Rockford tried to make it two in a row.

Rockford scored two runs in the ninth inning to tie the game, before losing 9-5 in 14 innings on Saturday night in Florence. Joe Holland’s pinch-hit walk-off grand slam was the difference in the game, putting a damper on RiverHawks’ starter Tanner Watson’s strong 2007 debut.

The ‘Hawks jumped on the board first, scoring two runs in the third inning. RBI groundouts from Jason James and Roberto Valiente made it 2-0.

Beau Blacken (6) launched a solo homerun in the fourth to make it a 2-1 game. It was the only run Watson allowed over five innings. He earned a no-decision while fanning two.

Rockford added another run in the fifth on a James ground out. It would be the largest lead of the night for the ‘Hawks.

Roy Bringelson relieved Watson for the sixth and the Freedom rallied. Reggie Watson reached on an error, advanced to third on a single from Ryan Basham and scored on a sacrifice-fly from Blacken. Ryan Brnardic then relieved Bringelson and allowed three more runs. A two-run double from Eddie Gonzalez capped the scoring and put Florence on top 5-3.

Freedom starter Jason Bowlin carried that lead into the ninth inning, but would leave with a no-decision. After Robert Perkins singled and Sean McFadden reached on an error, Bowlin left the game. Jon Troop came out of the bullpen and allowed a single to Joe Anthonsen to load the bases. Florence again went to the bullpen, this time calling on veteran Domingo Acosta. He promptly retired Brad Dutton and but the ball got away from catcher Nick Solatti on the third strike to Jason James allowing a runner to score. Roberto Valiente then reached on an infield error, scoring Anthonsen and tying the game.

The score remained tied until the bottom of the 14th. James (0-2) took to the mound and loaded the bases on two hits and a walk. Holland (1) then lifted a 3-2 pitch over the fence for the game-winning grand slam.

Florence pitcher Brian McCullough (1-1) earned the win in relief.

The game marked the first extra-innings affair of the season for the RiverHawks. Manager J.D. Ardnt was ejected in the sixth inning, the third time this year he has been rung up. Lefty John Gragg, pitching on one-days rest, lasted 2 2/3 innings allowing 0 runs on two hits.

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. 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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