Heat and Rogues Set to Meet Again for GWL Championship
If you’re currently experiencing an extreme case of deja vu, you’re not alone. After being handed a gut-wrenching loss just one night before, the defending GWL Champion Chico Heat punched their ticket to the 2017 GWL Championship Series where they’ll face a familiar foe, the Medford Rogues.
With seemingly equal numbers of Heat and Potters fans in attendance, Chico and Lincoln’s rivalry grew immensely throughout the elimination game. While the squads traded blows on the scoreboard early, Chico displayed a refined bullpen whose shut-down innings helped give starter, Mikey Wright a huge win.
In addition to the brilliance of the Heat pitching staff, slugger Tanner Tokunaga delivered an astonishing four RBIs while the Heat’s second baseman, Jack Walsh nabbed three. In addition to Tokunaga’s big night at the plate, the Hawaii Pacific University product recorded his one-hundredth hit of the season—a feat known to few in collegiate wood-bat leagues.
After acknowledging the significance of the hundred-hit mark for Tokunaga, Heat Skipper, Fred Ludwig noted how special the center fielder’s performance on the field and presence in the dugout have been for the Heat.
“What [Tanner] brings to the lineup is a guy who’s going to compete everyday; a guy who sees pitches and talks to other hitters about what the pitcher has,” notes Ludwig. “He makes the game fun for everyone, and that’s an unbelievable characteristic.”
Tokunaga’s display was one of many that Ludwig attributed to an energetic and locked-in Heat squad that bounced back to claim the night’s win.
No stranger to the championship stage, Ludwig also commented on the importance of what returning to a championship means for this year’s Heat squad.
“For this team, it’s unbelievable because of how young they are. They’ve learned a lot, so for this team to be here and play for a championship against a team we’ve beaten eight times is exciting,” said Ludwig. “For me, I’m just excited to be involved in it—just like I was last year. I’m lucky to be involved in the game of baseball, and I’m lucky to have these kids in my life.”
This year’s GWL Championship Series will be a rematch of the 2016 duel between the Heat and the Medford Rogues, with the Rogues holding home field advantage yet again. The Heat prevailed in regular season games against the Rogues, winning eight to Medford’s four.
The best-of-three championship series will kick off in Chico on Friday, August 11 at 7:05 p.m. before the series transfers to Medford for game two and three (if necessary).
Tickets for the series opener can be purchased online at ChicoHeat.com, over the phone by calling (530) 725-5444, or by visiting the Chico Heat Office at 1722 Mangrove Ave. Suite 24 Chico, CA 95926.