RiverHawks sign former Player of the Year
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June 28, 2010 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – The Rockford RiverHawks have signed 2006 Baseball America magazine Independent League Player of the Year and 2006 Frontier League Player of the Year Ian Church.

Church spent his first four professional seasons in the Northern League, with stints in Lincoln and Sioux City. He had a breakout season with Kalamazoo in 2006, when he hit .317 with 31 homers and 78 RBI and won BA’s Independent League Player of the Year award. The following season, he was picked up by the St. Louis Cardinals and played one year with their Florida State League affiliate, Palm Beach.

Church did not play in 2008-09; he ran a baseball academy in New York. In five minor league seasons, Church has a .277 batting average, with 44 home runs, and 190 RBI. Church has a career .984 fielding percentage.

Church signed with the Lake County Fielders in January, and appeared in one game. He went 1-for-3 at Joliet. Church was placed on the disabled list May 30, and was released on June 24.

The last BA Independent League Player of the Year to play for the RiverHawks was Jason Shelley, who won the award in 2003 when he played for Rockford.

To make room on the roster, Rockford released rookie catcher Kirk Williamson. Williamson appeared in two games for the RiverHawks, and recorded a hit in his only at-bat.

The RiverHawks are members of the Northern League, an eight-team independent professional baseball league in its 18th season. 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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