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RiverHawks schedule “battle-of-the-sexes” exhibition

The Rockford RiverHawks will host the Chicago Bandits of National Pro Fastpitch in an exhibition game.The Rockford RiverHawks (independent; Northern League) have scheduled a game against some of the best ballplayers in the world, but it might not be the ballplayers you expected. It won’t even be the ballgame you might have expected.

The RiverHawks and the Chicago Bandits of National Pro Fastpitch announced jointly Wednesday that the teams have scheduled the “Battle of the Sexes” –– an exhibition fastpitch softball — game for 7:05 p.m. Thursday, June 17 at Road Ranger Stadium.

The Bandits are members of the country’s only women’s professional softball league. A number of team members have represented the United States in the Olympics. Among them is Jennie Finch, a member of the 2004 gold medalists. The RiverHawks are members of the Northern League, an eight-team independent professional baseball league that will play its 18th season in 2010.

“It’s a joint contest where we are hosting them here, but it’s benefitting both organizations, because we are doing a revenue split on our ticket sales,” RiverHawks general manager Josh Olerud said.

The RiverHawks will treat the event like a normal game day, with the regular Thursday promotion, Dollar Beer Night, and their normal in-game promos, such as sumo wrestling and the dizzy bat race.

This inspiration for the event, planned by Olerud and Bandits GM Aaron Moore, was the success of a similar game last year between the Bandits and the Schaumburg Flyers, another Northern League team. The game, a 4-2 Bandits win, drew a record crowd of 8,918 to Schaumburg’s Alexian Field.

“Once that happened, Aaron and I started dialogue back when he was the GM of the Thunder and with his softball ties here locally, and with the Bandits being kind of the face of professional fastpitch, I think we’re going to have similar success to what they saw last year.”

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