RiverHawks to host prep baseball showcase
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March 3, 2010 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – The top high-school baseball players in the Stateline will be showcased this summer at the home of the Rockford RiverHawks.

Rockford’s only professional baseball team announced Wednesday that it has scheduled the Northern Illinois Baseball Senior Classic. The game is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. June 18 at Road Ranger Stadium.

“All of us coaches all agree that it just highlights some of the great baseball that’s being played around this area,” Guilford High School coach Steve Mrizek said. “This gives them a stage to be together at one time on one field. It gives them a chance to be rcognized by the coaches, by the public and maybe even to be recognized by some of the college coaches that missed them (during recruiting).”

All players will be graduating seniors. One all-star team will represent larger area schools, and the other will represent the smaller programs. Coaches from the involved schools will be able to nominate seniors from any school. A committee of three coaches for each all-star team will make the roster decisions.

“The goal is really to have at least one representative from each school,” Mrizek said.

The area has not had a high-school all-star game since the 1980s, he said.

“We really want to do more to showcase players,” Mrizek said.

RiverHawks general manager Josh Olerud said the game has been in the works for nearly a year. Road Ranger Stadium’s centralized location, next to Interstate 90, and the date of the game, on the same weekend as a major showcase event near Chicago, will make the game attractive to college and professional scouts, who can see that event, but still be exposed to local talent.

“These kids kind of get left on the side,” Olerud said. “That’s one of the reasons we’re doing it. This also demonstrates our commitment to community involvement. We also want to help the growth of players’ careers.”

Olerud said the RiverHawks’ entire database of professional and college scouts will be invited to the showcase.

“I’m proud that the RiverHawks are able to provide a platform for the Northern Illinois Showcase,” Northern Illinois University baseball coach Ed Mathey said. “This is a special event for the seniors and I look forward to seeing them showcased.”

Scouts will have an opportunity to see players perform drills in a scouts-only pregame event.

The RiverHawks are members of the Northern League, an eight-team independent professional baseball league that will play its 18th season in 2010. 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 on ESPN1380.com. Fans can also visit the RiverHawks online at www.rockfordriverhawks.com.


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