Raber’s walkoff single beats Kings, 7-6
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June 14, 2008 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – Walkoff magic returned to Road Ranger Stadium as Chris Raber delivered the clutch hit that has eluded the Rockford RiverHawks much of the season.

Raber singled in the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning on Saturday as the RiverHawks beat Kalamazoo, 7-6, in front of a near-capacity crowd of 3,042. Rockford snapped a three-game losing streak and ended a string of six consecutive losses at home.

The victory was the first walkoff win for Rockford since the 2007 regular-season finale, last Sept. 2, when now-retired Matt Sauls singled in the winning run to beat the Kings, 2-1, in a head-to-head showdown for the final Frontier League playoff spot.

Greg Burrows homered for Rockford. Brandon Murphy and Simon Williams hit home runs for Kalamazoo.

The RiverHawks entered Saturday with seven losses in their last 10 games. They had been hitting just .226 with runners in scoring position. Kalamazoo won Friday’s series opener, 5-3, when Rockford left the tying runs in scoring position in the eighth inning.

On Saturday, the RiverHawks had two key two-out hits. In the fifth inning, Burrows hit a two-out, two-run homer to right center. In the ninth, after Matt Borman singled with one out and went to third on Burrows’ two-out blooper, Raber broke a 6-6 tie with an opposite-field single to left field off Sam Mann (1-1), a moonlighting starter.

The RiverHawks also used a pitcher in an unusual role. Closer Roy Bringleson was used as an emergency starter in place of Jason James, who was scratched because of a sore arm. Bringleson scattered two runs on five hits over five innings in his first career start and left with a 6-2 lead.

Kalamazoo rallied for three runs in the sixth, two on Williams’ fifth home run of the season and third in the last nights, and tied the game on Murphy’s run-scoring forceout in the seventh.

Shawn Balteff (1-1) pitched a perfect ninth inning and struck out two for the win.

The rubber match of the three-game series is at 6:05 p.m. on Sunday, another Family Night. OSF St. Anthony’s and WREX sponsor Youth Glove Night. Kids can play catch with their dad on Father’s Day 5-5:30 p.m. Following the game, kids can run the bases and players will sign autographs.

The RiverHawks are members of the Frontier League, a 12-team independent professional baseball league in its 16th season. 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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