Potters unable to keep Heat from repeating as champs

Two years in league, two postseason appearances
By: Aaron Jackson for The News Messenger
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The Chico Heat repeated as the Great West League champions, after beating the Lincoln Potters in two games last week.

The Potters defeated the Medford Rogues in a winner-take-all semifinal game Aug. 6 to advance to the championship.

Heat 7, Potters 1.

The first championship game Aug. 8 was in front of a home crowd of 862. Craig Schmich took the mound for the Potters coming into the game 2-0 on the season with a 1.14 ERA.

The Heat sent Blake Hannah to the hill with a 5-0 record and a .99 ERA, giving up only four runs all season.

After a scoreless two innings, the Heat caught fire in the third inning scoring five runs. Lincoln got one back in the bottom off a solo home run by JJ Santana, but got any closer.

The only other opportunity for Lincoln was in the sixth, when they had runners on second and third with no outs, but failed to produce a run.

“We have to win and battle every pitch,” said Potters manager Ryan Stevens. “Give (the Heat) credit, they pitched better and played better defensively.”

Heat 8, Potters 7

Game two of the series was in Chico at Nettleton Stadium.

On the mound for the Potters was Ryan Gil, who came into the game 3-0 on the season with a 1.42 ERA. For the Heat, it was Justin Sterner with a 7-0 record and a 3.02 ERA.

After a scoreless first, Chico got on the board with three runs in the second, two coming off a double by Trenton Stowe. Lincoln responded with one run in the third, but the Heat scored one in the fourth and the score was 4-1. This is when Lincoln fought to make it a ball game.

The Potters scored four runs in the fifth, two off a double by Zach Patterson, for a 5-4 Lincoln lead.

But the Heat responded with four runs of their own in the sixth, two off a double by Alex Crouch. Lincoln got two back in the seventh making it 8-7.

The game and the season would end with a diving catch by Tanner Roundy in center field to give the Heat the victory and the GWL title.

“The future of this organization is very bright. We have moved up from 92 to 83 in the country for most desirable places to attend a game.” Stevens said. “The Lincoln Potter’s will only go up from here and I’m excited for next summer already.” 

A very hard fought season for the Potters as they won a franchise record 37 games and made it to the GWL Championship series.

Until next year, Potter Up!