Tag Archives: Portland Pickles

Pickles turn series opener sour for Heat

The Chico Heat were looking to stay perfect on the road but a late inning rally by the Portland Pickles resulted in the Heat’s first road loss of the year.

Matt Starcovic’s third hit of the night, a line single to right center plated two runs in the bottom of the 9th giving the Pickles a come-from-behind 8-7 win over Chico.

Chico had scored in six of the first seven innings but their inability to tack on runs proved to be their undoing. Justin Watari got the Heat on the board in the 1st with a solo home run. Jake Davison would hit a solo shot in the 3rd. Chico was scoring but also leaving a lot of runners on base as they left the bases juiced in both the 2nd and 5th innings. With that said, Chico led 7-3 going to the bottom of the 7th inning. That’s when the tables turned as the Pickles got to the Heat bullpen.

Portland would score three runs in the 7th. The rally was aided by a dusk-aided pop up double that was lost in the high sky by Heat fielders. Portland was also fortunate to see a popped up bunt land untouched on the wet turn between first and second that extended the inning.

The Heat still took a 7-6 lead to the bottom of the 9th but Tanner Clark walked the first two hitters in the 9th, after a SAC bunt moved the runners into scoring position, Clark would walk Bobby Kinne to load the bases setting the stage for Starcovic’s heroics.

Watari went 3-for-4 for the Heat with a double and a home run driving in two. Cole Lemmel went 3-for-5 and drove in a run.

Mikey Wright pitched great for Chico. The Chico State product twirled six innings scattering six hits giving up three runs while walking no one and striking out 7.

Chico and Portland will play game two of this three game series tonight at 7:05pm with our pre-game coming your way at 6:45pm on the KpaySports app and right here on KpaySports dot-com. Just hit the listen live tab to hear all the action

Heat face pivotal series finale versus Pickles

After two tough one-run losses on their sojourn to Portland the Chico Heat face as close to a must-win game as they’ve had all year. With a victory tonight the Heat will be sitting 2.5 games up on Portland with 8 games left to play, but a loss would mean the Pickles will have moved to within a half-game and will be even in the loss column.

What adds to the pressure for Chico is the Pickles clearly have the easier schedule in their final nine games. Chico will play two at home against Sacramento (7-30) and then three at home against Lodi (19-28) but Chico’s final three games will come on the road against the Medford Rogues (35-12) who have won an amazing 17 of their last 18 games.

Portland will play three games on the road starting Wednesday against the Marysville Gold Sox, who suddenly can’t win a game. Then the Pickles will host Sacramento for three and Lodi for two to round out the regular season.

Medford           35-12

Chico                  27-21

Portland           25-22

Gold Sox          24-24

Lodi                    19-28

Sac                        7-30

The winner of tonight’s game has to be considered the favorite to garner that second and final playoff spot. Chico Heat loyalists entered this four-game gauntlet saying a record of 4-2 would put Chico in control of their own playoff destiny. After a sweep against Marysville, the Heat have suffered two one-run losses, including last night’s walk-off defeat.

Chico is having to do a lot of this short-handed, either because of injury or some of their players having to go back to school. The core group is still in-tact but Chico’s playoff fate may ride on these new acquisitions who are trying to put the Heat over the top.

Tonight’s series finale is the biggest game of the year and could very well determine who will play Medford for the inaugural Great West League crown. Game time is at 7:05pm and the Loerke Insulation pre-game will come your way at 6:45. John Potter has the call on the KPAY Sports app and right here on KpaySports.com

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*Photo courtesy of Chico Heat at ChicoHeat.com

Playoff format changes as Chico Heat begin two week sprint to the finish line

Tonight begins a two week sprint to the finish line for the Chico Heat in their inaugural season in the Great West League. Chico enters play tonight tied for second place with the Marysville Gold Sox  at 24-19 just a half-game clear of the Portland Pickles for the second and final playoff spot.

During the recently completed All-Star Break the league office completely changed the playoff format in the GWL. The hope was to have 4 of the 6 teams get into the post-season. But, upon further review this “plan” was deemed unfeasible for the first year league. Too many players on all of the teams need to be back at their respective schools. The school schedule was in direct conflict with the GWL’s playoff schedule and so an adjustment needed to be made.

As the league looks to expand in the 2017 season they will also be looking at how to best determine a champion next year as well. Remedies include shortening the regular season by a few games and lengthening the playoffs, doing away with the All-Star Game thereby allowing for longer playoff series’. Possibly instituting a Super Regional feel to the playoffs and having one site host the entire thing. *I should note these are not options I have heard from anyone with the league, these are simply ramblings from your friendly neighborhood play-by-play guy.*

With that said, the “feel” of these final two weeks takes on a different tone. With Medford comfortably in first place it appears there is a three-way race for one playoff spot.

Medford          30-12     .714     —-

Chico                 24-19     .558     6.5

Marysville      24-19     .558     6.5

Portland          23-19     .548       7

Chico plays three games against Marysville beginning tonight at Nettleton Stadium and that will wrap up their season series against the Gold Sox. Marysville has done a lot of their damage against the Heat this season but they are not nearly the same squad the Heat encountered earlier in the season. The Gold Sox have struggled after a blistering 15-2 start. Portland will host the Heat for a three game series early next week in what figures to be a fantastic series with a playoff berth possibly at stake.

The Heat’s fortunes changed when they finally got their the full complement of players. The rotation is probably the deepest in the league with UW’s Adam Davenport and Arizona’s Luke Soroko. Chico State’s Stuart Bradley has been tremendous in the 3rd slot and Ryan Byrd has been a stalwart all season long.

Offensively Chico has thump, with league home run leader and UC Davis product Cameron Olson (5 HR’s) and BYU Freshman All-American Keaton Kringlen providing the big bats in the middle of the order. The Heat are lamenting the loss of Cal State Northridge product Clayton Hubbard to an MCL injury and are mixing and matching to replace the consistent bat he provided all year.

The big question mark for the Chico Heat, as it has been all year, is defense. If they play good defense they are a very tough team to beat. If they kick the ball around, they are in trouble. More often than not this season when Chico gives teams extra outs in multiple innings it has bitten them. Their ability to pick it, and play catch could very well determine whether they will be playing for a championship.

The sprint to the finish line begins tonight as rival Marysville comes to Nettleton Stadium. Two weeks ago we figured it would be a big series. Now, it could be a make a break series with the adjusted playoff format.

Our Loerke Insulation pre-game show is at 6:45pm right here on KpaySports.com and on the KpaySports app that you can download for free in the app store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heat pummel Pickles as pitching and pop lead the way

The Chico Heat scored early and they scored often as they trounced the Portland Pickles 12-3  in game one of a big three game set at Nettleton Stadium.

Chico scored single runs in each of the first three innings but busted the game wide open with a seven-run 5th to take Sunday night’s game going away. The Heat banged out 12 hits in the game with seven of them going for extra-bases.

For the third straight game Chico got fantastic starting pitching as Spokane Falls Ryan Byrd pitched seven strong scattering six hits and allowing only two runs. Chico’s bats have been instrumental in their recent surge, it was a big night for Chico State product Josh Falco as he went 3-for-4 with three RBI’s and three runs scored including a three-run triple in the decisive 5th.

Chico now sits at (16-16) 1/2 game back of Portland for third place in the GWL and will play 12 of their next 14 games at home as they look to make a strong push toward the finish line in their 2016 season.

The Heat’s fortunes have been buoyed by the consistency shown from their starting rotation. Chico State’s Stuart Bradley and the left-hander Byrd have consistently given the Heat strong outings. Bradley is now 4-2 with a 2.65 ERA. Byrd is now 4-0 with a glittering 1.86 ERA. Now, the Heat are leaning on their two Pac-12 arms, Adam Davenport from the University of Washington and Luke Soroko from Arizona. In five starts Davenport is 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA. The red-shirt freshman has 30 strikeouts in 29.2 innings. Soroko, who got his first start of the year after traveling with the Wildcats to Omaha and the College World Series, shined in his season opening start Friday in Marysville. Soroko went six innings giving up five hits one run and striking out five in a no-decision. Soroko has an ERA of 1.03.

This fantastic four will make the Heat a tough team to beat with 25 games left in the Heat’s inaugural campaign.

Heat wrap up home-stand knowing defense must improve….

After dropping two of three against the Portland Pickles this week the Chico Heat (2-4) learned the hard way that DEFENSE MATTERS. Chico committed 11 errors in the three game series against the Pickles hamstringing their chances at taking the three game set.

The short-handed Heat pitching staff had some good moments, but there were also other instances of fatigue. This was to be expected as Chico awaits reinforcements from some Division I schools that are wrapping up their seasons and taking finals. While Chico would have liked to win a few more games, there was a realization that this team will get much stronger in the next few weeks.

Expect some of the new faces to be in the line-up this weekend as Chico takes on the Sacramento Stealth. The Stealth are the traveling road show in the Great West League as their stadium plans were delayed and so they will be playing all 45 of their games this season on the road. They have had four days off after a season opening series loss against the Lodi Crushers last weekend.

HEAT NOTES: Chico’s Keaton Kringlen was named a Freshman All-American this week. Kringlen took over in right field for BYU after an injury and made the most of his opportunity hitting .369 with 5 HR’s and 34 rbi. Kringlen has had a great start to his 2016 Heat season banging out 7 hits in four games. Heat catcher Clayton Hubbard leads the GWL in RBI’s with 12. The junior red-shirt from Cal-State Northridge is a key piece for Chico in the middle of their order. Outfielders Jerome Hill  (Dixie State) and Josh Falco (Chico State) are nursing injuries and their status for tonight’s game against Sacramento will be a game time decision.

First pitch 7:05pm with our pre-game at 6:45pm

Heat host Pickles as home-stand continues…..

The Chico Heat continue their season opening home stand tonight against the Portland Pickles at Nettleton Stadium.

If the Chico Heat could erase the 1st innings of both Friday and Sunday’s games they would feel a lot better about the weekend. The Marysville Gold Sox scored 13 runs on 9 hits combined in the Friday and Sunday contests. When you throw in the four errors, three walks and three hit batsmen in those torturous first innings and you can see why Manager Fred Ludwig will be looking for a big bounce back performance from Chico State product Stuart Bradley on Monday night.

Bradley was a vital piece out of the Chico State Wildcats bullpen this year but will be making his second start for the Heat against the Pickles tonight.

Portland dropped two of three against the Medford Rogues over the weekend. The series was competitive with the Pickles holding a late lead in Sunday’s rubber game before falling 8-3 on Sunday.

The Heat have six more games on the home stand including tonight’s lid lifter against the Pickles. Chico will host Portland on Tuesday and Wednesday before hosting the Sacramento Stealth for a weekend series starting on Friday.

HEAT NOTES: 

-Lead off hitter and Dixie State product Jerome Hill has scored four runs and stolen three bases for the Heat.

– Cal State Northridge red-shirt junior Clayton Hubbard leads the league in RBI’s with 9. Hubbard drove in six in Saturday’s 10-1 win over the Gold Sox.

-The Heat are waiting for some of their Division I reinforcements. Many of their players are still participating in the D-I NCAA Regional tournaments including players from New Mexico, Washington and Arizona