For the first time in 12 days the Chico Heat got a day off and they certainly looked like they needed the break.
The offensive prowess they showed agains the first place Medford Rogues at Nettleton Stadium did not accompany them to Marysville as the Heat were swept in a mini two-game set by the Gold Sox on Sunday and Monday. The day off gives the Heat a chance to decompress and recharge as they get ready for a four-game showdown versus the Lincoln Potters on Wednesday night.
The Heat lost a gut-wrencher on Monday night, a 13-inning 1-0 loss where the Gold Sox managed only four hits and stranded 17 runners but cashed in a walk, hit batsman, an error and SAC fly for the win. Chico wasted numerous opportunities in losing both games and Manager Fred Ludwig could sense his team was in need of a day off before Monday’s loss.
The Heat and Potters will lock horns on Wednesday at Nettleton Stadium with the Potters hosting the games Thursday-thru-Saturday at McBean Park. Even though the Potters are the new kid on the block they do not carry themselves like newbies. The Heat and Potters have taken turns beating each other on their home fields and the games have been unpredictable and spirited. The two squads figure to be going back and forth the rest of the season, but after Saturday’s game the two teams will only play one another twice in the final 30 games of the year.
Going into Wednesday’s series opener Hawaii-Pacific product Tanner Tokunaga leads the Great West League in four offensive categories, batting average (.385) hits (42) runs (29) and stolen bases (17) he also sits third in the league in walks with 18, trailing teammates Justin Watari (24) and Marcus Wilhite (23.)
The Heat also lead the league in stolen bases with a staggering 61 steals in 26 games. Chico is the third best hitting team in the league batting .292 and they have the second best on-base percentage at .401
Chico’s pitching is improving and they now have the second best team ERA in the league with an ERA of 4.64. They have the best WHIP (walks + hits/innings pitched. Heat pitchers have surrendered the most hits in the league but they have issued the fewest walks.
GREAT WEST LEAGUE STANDINGS
Updated as of June 28
MEDFORD 18-8 –
LINCOLN 15-10 2.5
CHICO 15-11 3
PORTLAND 11-14 6.5
MARYSVILLE 9-16 8.5
YUBA CITY 8-17 9.5