Chico Heat Coaching Staff

Fred Ludwig – Field Manager


Ludwig, a former First Team Academic All American with Chico State Baseball, previously held the position of head baseball coach at Pleasant Valley High School where he earned a .729 winning percentage over a three year period. As a three-year baseball letterman at Chico State, Ludwig’s teammates elected him as their Team Captain 1991.

Fred is recognized as a community leader through his efforts with local kids. He has coached and mentored hundreds of our kids with both the Chico & Paradise American Legion baseball teams. Born and raised in Northern California, Ludwig is enshrined in the Paradise High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Ludwig was named the Great West League Coach of the Year in 2016 leading the Chico Heat to the league Championship where they defeated the Medford Rogues.

Ryan Lauer

Coach Lauer is entering his first season with the Chico Heat after spending the last 6 years coaching college baseball throughout the Midwest and New Mexico. Ryan is a native of Chico and graduated from Pleasant Valley High School in 2005. Lauer grew up playing in the Chico American Legion program, while having playing stints at Butte College and Feather River College and was a standout for the NorCal Pirates summer collegiate team from 2008-2011.

In the summer of 2015, Lauer was the Head Coach of the Springfield Sliders in Springfield, Illinois which is a summer collegiate team that plays in the Prospect League. He is currently living in Chico and working towards a Master’s Degree in Coaching and Athletic Administration. His father Jim and his mother Deedee have worked at Butte College and Enloe Hospital for over 30 years and his younger sister Alexis works as a preschool teacher in Chico.

Reece Borges


Chico baseball fans should already know Reece well – for three seasons he was one of the anchors of the Chico Heat pitching staff, and for two years Borges was the pitching coach under Anthony Fello at Butte College. As a player, the Florida Marlins drafted Reece, a right-hander from Reno, Nevada into the major leagues in 1996 after starring at Lassen Junior College. Borges spent two seasons in the Miami Marlins system and another in the Houston Astros organization.

In 2000, Reece came to Chico and immediately became the workhorse of the Heat pitching staff and was a key member of Chico’s 2002 WBL championship team. Reece retired following the ’02 season with the third most career victories (19) in Heat franchise history, and ranked second all-time among Heat pitchers in innings pitched (275), third in complete games (4) and fourth in strikeouts (174). Reece is married to Allison and has two boys, Dominic and Brayden that currently play little league baseball at Chico Central.

Kurt Laver


Kurt Laver is a Chico local who graduated from Pleasant Valley High in 2010. From there he played two years at Mendocino Community college earning All-Bay Valley Conference honors in both seasons and making the All-NorCal team as a sophomore. He transferred to Youngstown State University, a Division One school in Ohio, where he helped the Penguins storm through the Horizon Conference tournament and into the Bloomington Regional where they faced Indiana, Indiana State and Stanford. Laver came back to Chico State for his senior year where he proved himself to be the go to guy out of the bullpen and led the Wildcats with the most innings pitched of any reliever on the staff in 2015.

In 2017, Kurt graduated from MLB Scout School that is sanctioned by the MLB Scouting Bureau and is looking towards becoming a major league scout.

GWL Attendance Grows Year Two

Extreme Heat Burns Chico

September 28, 2017, Chico, CA:  Following a stellar inaugural season, Great West League overall attendance showed an increase in 2017.  "We're extremely happy with how our infant league is growing," said GWL Commissioner Ken Wilson.  "We had more fans attend our games this season than last."

Attendance in the recently completed regular season totaled 192,115, for an average of 1,076 per game.  In 2016, the league drew 191,629 in 17 fewer dates.  The 2017 post-season featured 8-games and drew 9,625, for an average of 1,203.  "With a total attendance of 201,740, it's the first time we've passed 200,000," noted Wilson.


The Portland Pickles drew 50,514 fans, an average of 1,684 per game, to lead the league.  The Pickles average attendance increased 8% over 2016 and ranked #18 in the Summer Collegiate Top 100 Per Game Average Attendance, published by Ballpark Business.

In the 2016 season , the Chico Heat lead the Great West League in both total attendance and average game attendance. The Heat also set the GWL single game attendance record with 4,415 people on the 4th of July. Nationally, in their inaugural season Chico ranked 15th in total attendance and 21st in the country for average attendance.

In 2017, due to the hottest summer in decades, Chico attendance faltered a bit. “We had twice as many triple digit temperatures at game time than we had all of last season which resulted in large numbers of people choosing to stay inside” said Heat GM Hunter Hampton. Despite the extreme temperatures of 2017, the Chico Heat finished second in the GWL attendance derby, setting a new league record for single game attendance of 4,473, averaging 1,337 per game and ranking #38 in the Top 100 ranking

ABOUT THE GREAT WEST LEAGUE: The Great West League is one of the premier summer collegiate wood bat leagues in North America, providing a professional, minor league-like atmosphere for top college players seeking professional baseball careers, while providing affordable family entertainment and enriching the quality of life in its member communities.