Baseball: RiverHawks rolling after All-Star break

By Bill Smith

LOVES PARK, Ill. — After taking two of three from the Evansville Otters following a four-day hiatus from baseball as a result of the All-Star break, the RiverHawks went 5-1 in a six-game homestand against the River City Rascals and the Traverse City Beach Bums before dropping the opener at the Gateway Grizzlies.

In the opener against the Rascals Monday, July 16, Rockford rallied from down 6-1 to tie the game with a big five-run fifth inning, capped off by Michael Hur’s three-run homer. River City regained the lead with a run in the seventh, but Matt Greener hit an RBI single in the bottom half to tie the game, and Evan Button’s RBI single in the eighth inning proved to be the game-winner.

Mickey Cassidy (2-1) earned his second win in relief in as many nights, while Alex Sunderland (0-1) was saddled with the loss.

The following night, the Rascals roughed up newly-acquired Nick Anderson (0-1) for five earned runs in just four innings and went on to win 10-4. Doug Sanders went a perfect 5-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs to lead River City, and Jason Patton hit a three-run homer, his sixth of the season.

Tony Marsala (3-4) pitched out of trouble and picked up the win, giving up two runs on nine hits and striking out six in 6 1/3 innings.

In the series finale, Rockford’s Cody Hallahan took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning and allowed just one hit over six innings, and Hur hit a three-run homer as the Rockford RiverHawks routed the River City Rascals 14-5 in the series finale Wednesday afternoon, July 18.

Hallahan’s no-hit bid was broken up with one out in the sixth inning as Jason Patton singled to center field. Hallahan (3-5) walked four and struck out four, throwing 58 of his 105 pitches for strikes.

The RiverHawks scored four times in the bottom of the third inning to go up 5-0. In that inning, Hur blasted his 10th homer of the season.

Rockford capitalized on two River City errors to score four unearned runs in the fifth inning and go ahead 9-0. The RiverHawks tacked on two more runs in the seventh to go up 11-0.

Tempers flared in the top of the eighth inning as catcher Greg Van Horn was ejected from the game and benches yelled at one another.

The RiverHawks outhit the Rascals 16-7 in the game. Ted Obregon had four hits for Rockford. The Rascals committed five errors.

River City’s Nick Kennedy (4-3) gave up five earned runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings to get the loss.

The RiverHawks opened another home series Thursday, June 19, with the Traverse City Beach Bums, owners of the best record in the Frontier League.

In the first game, Rockford’s Kyle Schepel (3-1) threw 7 1/3 innings of shutout ball to lead the RiverHawks to their first shutout victory of the season with a 1-0 victory over the Beach Bums.

Jet Butler knocked in the only run of the game as he singled home Button in the fourth inning. Garrett Granitz got Jose Vargas to line out to shortstop with the two outs and the bases loaded in the ninth to end the game, giving him his fourth save of the season.

Scott Dunn (1-2) was the tough-luck loser as he gave up just one run in six innings, striking out six.

The following night, Rockford’s Devin Shepherd ended his career in dramatic fashion, hitting a game-winning RBI double in the 10th inning Friday night, July 20, to give Rockford the 2-1 victory.

With Shepherd announcing he will retire to take care of his new baby daughter, he delivered in his final at-bat, driving a Matt Miller pitch into the left-center field gap, and Mike Thomas slid in safely at home plate to give the RiverHawks the victory in front of a crowd of 2,717.

Granitz (1-1) earned the win, while Miller (3-3) picked up the loss.

In the series finale, Obregon, Butler and Button each homered Saturday night, July 21, and the Rockford RiverHawks rolled 11-4 to complete the series sweep over the Beach Bums.

Rockford’s Ziggie VanderWall (5-3) allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings and struck out five to win pick up the win. Traverse City’s Reid Kelly (7-3) gave up four earned runs and struck out eight in five innings in a losing effort.

Obregon’s homer led off the bottom of the first inning and was his first of the season. He finished the game 3-for-5 with three RBIs.

The RiverHawks fell 8-5 to the Gateway Grizzlies on the road in the series opener Sunday, July 22. Newly-signed Brad Schnitzer (0-1) gave up six runs in 4 1/3 innings for the loss. Hur hit his team-leading 11th home run for Rockford.

Rockford (26-31) plays two more on the road at Gateway before returning to play seven games in six days at home from July 25-30, starting with a doubleheader with the Normal CornBelters Wednesday, July 25. The two teams play four games in three days before the RiverHawks host the Schaumburg Boomers for three games July 28-30.

From the July 25-31, 2012, issue

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