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


*Photo courtesy of Chico Heat at ChicoHeat.com