RiverHawks vs. Bandits in “Battle of the Sexes”
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January 20, 2010 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – The Rockford RiverHawks have scheduled a game against some of the best ballplayers in the world, but it might not be the ballplayers you expected. It won’t even be the ballgame you might have expected.

The RiverHawks and the Chicago Bandits of National Pro Fastpitch announced jointly Wednesday that the teams have scheduled the “Battle of the Sexes” – an exhibition fastpitch softball – game for 7:05 p.m. Thursday, June 17 at Road Ranger Stadium.

The Bandits are members of the country’s only women’s professional softball league. A number of team members have represented the United States in the Olympics. Among them is Jennie Finch, a member of the 2004 gold medalists. The RiverHawks are members of the Northern League, an eight-team independent professional baseball league that will play its 18th season in 2010.

“It’s a joint contest where we are hosting them here, but it’s benefitting both organizations, because we are doing a revenue split on our ticket sales,” RiverHawks general manager Josh Olerud said.

The RiverHawks will treat the event like a normal game day, with the regular Thursday promotion, Dollar Beer Night, and their normal in-game promos, such as sumo wrestling and the dizzy bat race.

Tickets for the game are at normal prices, starting at just $5. They can be purchased beginning immediately. To order tickets, email [email protected].

This inspiration for the event, planned by Olerud and Bandits GM Aaron Moore, was the success of a similar game last year between the Bandits and the Schaumburg Flyers, another Northern League team. The game, a 4-2 Bandits win, drew a record crowd of 8,918 to Schaumburg’s Alexian Field.

“Once that happened, Aaron and I started dialogue back when he was the GM of the Thunder and with his softball ties here locally, and with the Bandits being kind of the face of professional fastpitch, I think we’re going to have similar success to what they saw last year,” Olerud said.

Moore held the same role with the Rockford Thunder, another NPF team which has since left the Stateline.

The game takes place on what would otherwise be an off day for each team. For the RiverHawks, it takes place between road series at Schaumburg and Gary. The Lisle-based Bandits are scheduled to open their season with a series June 9-13 in Lubbock, Texas. They’ll resume play with a homestand against Akron June 20-22.

Despite playing on what would have been an off day, the RiverHawks said they will be taking the competition seriously.

“We will be signing two men’s fastpitch pitchers to join us that day,” Olerud said. “They will pitch for us, because we’re playing to win.”

The RiverHawks’ ninth season begins at 7:05 p.m. May 20 against the Schaumburg Flyers at Road Ranger Stadium. Advertising and ticket information is available by calling (815) 885-2255. Games are broadcast live on ESPN 1380 (WTJK-AM) and the internet. Fans can also visit the RiverHawks online at www.rockfordriverhawks.com.


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