Dutton, Aussies win, but miss Olympic cut
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March 14, 2008 - TAICHUNG, Taiwan – Rockford RiverHawks shortstop Brad Dutton and the Australian national team edged South Africa, 13-11, in their final game at the Olympic qualifying tournament on Friday, but the Aussies won’t be going to the Summer Games.

Australia, who won the silver medal four years ago in Athens, needed to finish in the top three of an eight-team field to advance to Beijing for this year’s Olympic tournament. They went 4-3 and were mathematically eliminated on Thursday when Canada and host Chinese Taipei both won. Canada, Taipei and South Korea advanced this week and join 2004 gold medalist Cuba, World Cup champion U.S., Japan, the Netherlands and China, which received an automatic berth as the host nation, in the eight-team Olympic tournament in August.

On Friday, Dutton started on the bench for the first time in the tournament. He entered as a defensive replacement at shortstop in the seventh inning and struck out in his only at-bat.

Dutton, the starting shortstop in each game, was 2-for-19 in the tournament. He committed three errors.

Dutton competed this winter in the Claxton Shield, his nation’s annual baseball championship. Dutton hit .310 with no home runs and nine RBI and stole a team-high four bases in the league for his home-state Queensland Rams.

Opening Night is at 7:05 p.m. May 21, when the RiverHawks host River City. The RiverHawks are members of the Frontier League, a 12-team independent professional baseball league that will play its 16th season this summer. 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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