Briefly noted …

Pony Web Site: Rockford Pony Baseball now has a new way for fans and past participants to stay connected with the organization—a Web site of

The site includes historical information, photo albums and a guest book where experiences at Roy Gayle Park can be shared.

The organization also is using the site to raise money so Roy Gayle—the league’s home for 42 years—can be bought. Service Corporation International, an international cemetery and funeral home company based in Houston, owns the park at U.S. 20 and South Meridian Road, which is adjacent to SCI’s Willwood Burial Park.

SCI is selling the seven-diamond ballpark and has given Pony Baseball until the end of the 2005 season to raise the money to buy it.

To contribute, write checks to Rockford Pony Baseball Inc. and send them to AMCORE Bank, 501 Seventh St., Rockford, 61104, or take them to a nearby AMCORE Bank. For more info, call capital campaign chairman Mike Broski at (815) 399-5664, extension 407.

More than 80 teams and more than 1,000 youths ages 5-16 play ball at the facility from late April through August 1.

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Sayers, Starr Coming: A pair of NFL legends from the Bears and Packers will be coming to Rockford later this year, reported WTVO-TV-17. Gayle Sayers and Bart Starr will be special guests at The Mill’s 13th annual Celebrity Celebration Sept. 22 at Giovanni’s in Rockford.

The Mill helps at-risk youths develop appropriate attitudes, behaviors and skills that will help them lead responsible and productive lifestyles.

Tickets for the Celebrity Celebration can be purchased for $75 each at Giovanni’s, B. Sanfield, The Mill or online at

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Running Practices: The Rockford Wildcats youth running team (ages 6-18), affiliated with the Rockford Road Runners, are in their eighth year this spring. Practices are held Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m. on the path just north of the YMCA Log Lodge. For more info, call (815) 654-3252 or go to

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Youth Cage Tourney: North American Youth Sports will hold its annual spring youth basketball tournament April 16-18 at Byron High School. There will be 10 brackets for boys’ and girls’ teams from grades 5 through 12.

Entry fee is $115 per team. Teams will get a minimum of two games. Call Ray Bielskis at (815) 234-8435 or the NAYS hotline at (800) 787-3265.

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Half-Marathon Planned: A half-marathon is scheduled for Rockford this spring. The Literacy Council 13-mile road race/walk will be held Saturday, May 8, starting and ending at Jefferson High School. It will take runners and walkers through three forest preserves and back.

Entry fee is $30, $40 after April 30. To register online, go to or

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New Gladiator Coach: Eliseo “Sal” Saldivar, who led the Kane County Eagles to the North American Football League title and a national championship last season, has signed as the Forest City Gladiators’ new head coach.

Saldivar told the local daily the 2-year-old Forest City franchise is at stage similar to Kane County’s before he spent six years coaching it to a 76-12 record and two national titles.

Saldivar, who teaches at and previously coached at William Rainey Harper College under junior college victories record-holder John Eliasik, said he likes to run a wide-open offense, depending on the type of talent he has and the type of talent he and his coaches develop.

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Auction Successful: The Rockford IceHogs raised $47,700 in their recent fifth annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Jerseys Off Their Backs Auction. This year’s jerseys featured Super Hammy.

The No. 8 jersey of Kenzie Homer brought $5,000 while the No. 35 of Ronnie Vogel sold for $4,000. Dan Davies’ No. 62 brought $3,000.

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‘Hogs Draft Six: The Rockford IceHogs picked six players in the 2004 UHL amatuer draft. Here are their selections: Dylan Rochon, defenseman, Metro Fighting Moose (CEHL), 14th overall; Peter Rynshoven, defenseman, Mercyhurst College (Atlantic Hockey), 25th overall; Derrick McIver, forward, Ferris State (CCHA), 36th overall; Brian Sipotz, forward, Miami of Ohio (CCHA), 47th overall; Simon Mangos, defenseman, Ferris State (CCHA), 48th overall; and Aaron Gill, center, Notre Dame (CCHA), 58th overall.

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New Lightning GM: Michael Neville, 26, is the new general manager of the Rockford Lightning. He started in sports management as director of ticket sales for the Lightning in 1999 and joined the Rockford IceHogs three years ago as group sales manager, working up to corporate sales manager. He also has worked as a marketing specialist for WIFR-TV-23 for the past eight months.

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To Play in Venezuela: Rockford Lightning players Ronnie Fields and Muntrelle Dobbins are headed for Venezuela to play for Trotamundos de Carabobo. Already under way, the Venezuelan league runs for another two months. Both Fields and Dobbins are signed for the remainder of the season.

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Hunter in USBL: After starting 47 out of 48 games for the Rockford Lightning and averaging more than 20 points per game, Jimmie “Snap” Hunter hopes to continue his success with the Adirondack Wildcats of the United States Basketball League.

The USBL is a professional league that plays throughout the months of mid-April through June. Many CBA players use the USBL as a way to continue to showcase their skills throughout the summer. Former Lightning players that have played in the USBL are Ronnie Fields, John Jackson, Tim Kisner and Tim Wynn. Many players have used the USBL as a step to the NBA.

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Wizards Win CBA: The Dakota Wizards captured the 2004 CBA title with a 132-129 victory over the Idaho Stampede in front of 5,130 fans at the Bismarck (N.D.) Civic Center.

The win gave the franchise its second CBA championship in three years (2004 and 2002). The Wizards got to the title game by beating the Rockford Lightning, three games to one in their best-of-five series.

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‘Hawks Land Sponsors: The Rockford RiverHawks have signed two long-term deals with Lorden Distributing (Miller Lite) and American Bottling Company (Dr. Pepper, 7-Up and others), said RiverHawks owner Jim Ciarrachi. The two beverage companies will provide the drinks poured at both Marinelli Field and at the team’s new stadium in Loves Park.

Ciarrachi said the Lorden and Miller Lite deal is for four years, and includes a luxury suite for the first three seasons in the new park. The ‘Hawks already have received commitments for four of the seven indoor-outdoor suites for 2005. No length of the American Bottling deal was announced other than multi-year.

Construction of the new stadium at Interstate 90-39 and Riverside Boulevard is scheduled to begin this spring.

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Two Cage Openings: At least two NIC-9 schools will be looking for new basketball coaches.

Frank Haney stepped down as Machesney Park Harlem’s boys basketball coach after the school asked him to resign as a social studies teacher, the local daily reported.

Haney didn’t resign as a teacher. The Harlem School Board was to act upon the recommendation to dismiss him Monday. He planned to speak on his own behalf at the meeting with hopes of a reversal in the decision.

Haney had an 18-38 record as Harlem’s coach, improving to 13-15 this season after a 5-23 year in 2002-03.

Teresa Kruger resigned as girls’ coach at Belvidere, partly to work on a doctorate at Northern Illinois University. She was in charge three seasons, posting a 41-37 overall record.

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Football Plans: Rockford Boylan tight end Michael Krogh signed a letter of commitment to attend and play football this fall at the United States Air Force Academy, according to the local daily. Krogh, a first-team All-NIC-9 performer last season, will have a minimum five-year military commitment after gradua

tion, 10 if he chooses to become a pilot.

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