Watson honored by Baseball America
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October 10, 2007 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – Baseball America magazine has honored Rockford RiverHawks pitcher Tanner Watson as one of the top players in independent baseball.

The trade publication released its annual All-Independent Leagues Team on Wednesday and made Watson a first-time selection.

Watson, a veteran right-hander from Arnprior, Ontario, is the RiverHawks’ single-season and career wins leader. This season, Watson was a team-record 11-3 with a 2.17 earned-run average, the best by a Frontier League starter. Watson gave up just 64 hits in 103 2/3 innings. He struck out 77 and walked just 31. In addition, Watson pitched two shutouts, tied for the most in the league. Opposing batters hit just .176, also a team record.

The former Seattle farmhand has 23 wins since he joined Rockford in June 2005.

“No one deserves this honor more than Tanner,” general manager Josh Olerud said. “He pitched unbelievable during our playoff run and carried our staff to another postseason. It’s great that Baseball America has recognized his performance.”

Watson was the only Frontier League player to make the first team. Former RiverHawk Justin Dowdy, who closed for United League champion Alexandria and signed with Oakland this fall, was also on the first team. Baseball America named 38-year-old Calgary outfielder Darryl Brinkley its Independent League Player of the Year. The 17-year veteran was the first player in Northern League history to bat .400.

Three Frontier League players – Chillicothe shortstop Travis Garcia, the league’s Most Valuable Player, Gateway first baseman Mike Breyman and Gateway outfielder Johnathan Armitage – were named to the second team.

Watson is the first RiverHawk honored by Baseball America in three years. In 2003, staff ace Jason Shelley was named Player of the Year. In 2004, outfielder Rich Austin was a first-team all-indy selection.

The RiverHawks are members of the Frontier League, a 12-team independent professional baseball league that will play its 16th season in 2008. Advertising and season-ticket information is available by calling the box office at (815) 885-2255. Most games are broadcast live on WNTA (1330 AM) and the internet. Fans can also visit the RiverHawks online at www.rockfordriverhawks.com.


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