RiverHawks pick three in league draft
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May 5, 2008 - MARION, Ill. – The Rockford RiverHawks selected three players, two of them left-handed pitchers, in Monday’s Frontier League tryout draft.

The RiverHawks took lefty Kyle Rapp ninth overall. Rockford, which had two picks in the second round, also took catcher Josh Leroy and pitcher Ross Black. The draft took place at the end of the two-day league tryout at Rent One Park, the home of the Southern Illinois Miners.

Southpaws were prominently featured in the draft. The Midwest Sliders took lefty Drew Bigda No. 1 overall. Six total left-handers were picked in four rounds.

Each of the RiverHawks’ picks are true rookies. Rapp pitched last season for the University of Cincinnati, where he was 1-1 with a 16.76 earned-run average in limited use.

“No one knew he was hurt,” said RiverHawks hitting coach/defensive coordinator J.D. Arndt, who represented the RiverHawks. “He’s 84-86 (miles per hour). I look at him situationally as a lefty out of the pen. With all the (left-handed hitters) in our division, we need someone to get them out.”

Arndt said he saw Rapp in the pitcher’s junior-college days while on a recruiting trip, and was impressed with Rapp’s stuff enough that he had kept tabs on him over the last couple of years.

Rapp, drafted as a center fielder by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of high school in the 48th round in 2003, also saw use in the outfield. He hit .304 with no home runs and 11 RBI in 56 at-bats last season.

Leroy hit .198 with no home runs and 16 RBI last year for the University of South Florida. He hit .306 as a junior in 2006. Black was 7-7 with a 4.06 ERA, a save and a 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio last spring at the University of Mobile.

Players report on Tuesday and spring training begins on Wednesday. The exhibition schedule starts with a noon doubleheader Thursday against the independent Northern League’s Joliet Jackhammers at Road Ranger Stadium.

Opening Night is at 7:05 p.m. May 21, when the RiverHawks host River City at Road Ranger Stadium. 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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