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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Vote for top RiverHawks catcher

FROM RIVERHAWKS PRESS RELEASE -  LOVES PARK, Ill. – Perhaps the only thing the catchers the Rockford RiverHawks have used over the years is the diversity of talent at the position. Some have been skilled with the mitt, some have had golden arms and others have had power potential. It’s up to fans to determine who was the best backstop the team has had.

In celebration of their 10th season, the RiverHawks are offering fans the chance to decide who is the greatest player in team history at each position, from starting pitcher to shortstop to outfield. Votes can be cast at the team website,

Voting will switch to a new position approximately every 7-10 days. Winners will be announced at the end of each voting period and all will be acknowledged at a game this summer with an all-time RiverHawks poster, co-sponsored by Lou Bachrodt Chevrolet, The Hemmens and Johnny Pamcakes, to be given out at a game to be announced.

The newest position is catcher. The finalists, determined by a panel of longtime members of the organization, are:

Dave Bernstine (2003-04) – Bernstine was nicknamed “The Wall” for his role in what may have been the most pivotal play in team history. In early 2003, Bernstine blocked the plate from Gateway runner Doug Schutt in a violent collision at home plate at Marinelli Field. Schutt was injured in the play and never played for the Grizzlies again. Schutt caught on with the RiverHawks later in the season and became Rockford’s leadoff hitter in the 2004 championship season.

Bernstine hit .232 with five home runs and 44 RBI in two seasons with the RiverHawks.

Kevin Ciarrachi (2002-05) – Ciarrachi returned from two shoulder surgeries to backstop the pennant-winning 2004 team. Ciarrachi, a Frontier League All-Star, threw out 25 percent of attempted base stealers that year. In the deciding game of the RiverHawks’ first-round series against the Grizzlies, Ciarrachi had a run-scoring, extra-base hit in each of Rockford’s last two offensive innings.

Ciarrachi hit .277 in his four seasons as a RiverHawk and was charged with just eight passed balls.

Gooby Gerlits (2005-06) – Gerlits, with 19 home runs, is tied for fifth on the team’s career list. In 2005, Gerlits became the only Rockford catcher to hit 10 home runs in a season. He also threw out 34 percent of attempted base thieves that year.

Bobby Matthews (2002-03) – Matthews hit .285 in 1½ years with Rockford. He also threw out 26 percent of attempted base stealers, the best career success rate among RiverHawks catchers with more than 50 games behind the plate.

Travis Scott (2010) – Scott hit .302 with five home runs and 29 RBI in his only season with the RiverHawks. He signed with the Los Angeles Angels following the season. He threw out 34 percent of attempted base stealers to match Gerlits’ single-season team record.

The Hemmens Cultural Center is located in downtown Elgin. From contemporary music and theatre to shows for the whole family, The Hemmens features popular acts in an intimate setting.

Lou Bachrodt Chevrolet of Rockford is Winnebago’s County’s premier Chevy dealer. Lou Bachrodt is located near Cherryvale Mall, just minutes from the stadium.

Johnny Pamcakes, located on E. State St. near Fairview, offers made-from-scratch breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Voters can view a player’s statistics online by clicking on the player’s name at the poll.
Opening Night for the RiverHawks’ 10th season is 7:05 p.m. Thursday, May 26, when they host Schaumburg. Advertising and ticket information is available by calling (815) 885-2255. Fans can also visit 

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