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Chico Heat returns to Nettleton Stadium

Robert Engels

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Chico Heat co-owners Pat Gillick, left, and Steve Nettleton, center, with Heat mascot Heater the Dragon. Photo courtesy of Chico Heat.

After a short lived drought, summer baseball will be back in Chico in 2016 with the reintroduction of the Chico Heat.

The announcement for return of the formerly-independent professional team was made Nov. 25th by Major League Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Pat Gillick and Steve Nettleton, the original owner of the team and main donor for Chico State’s baseball facilities named Nettleton Stadium.

Gillick, a Chico native and the current interim president with the Philadelphia Phillies, and Nettleton will run the team that will feature elite college baseball players from throughout the nation.

The team will now help current collegiate baseball players become accustom to what they can expect if they were to pursue a career in professional baseball.

“I’m thrilled we’re able to bring back such a high level of baseball to Chico,” said in a statement. “The fans deserve it and we’re going to make sure the fans come first.”

The Heat will play in the newly-formed Great West League and feature a 60-game schedule, 30 of which will be played at Nettleton stadium. The league will feature six to eight teams in California and Oregon, according to the team’s website.

Chico has been home to two professional independent teams since 1997. After the original Heat team had a run until 2002, Chico gained its second independent team, the Outlaws, from 2005 to 2011. Both teams had great success on the field and were among the best in their respective leagues in attendance.

“We truly appreciate the hard work put in by the administration at Chico State and the community to make this happen,” said league president Ken Wilson in a statement on the team’s website. .

The team’s first game will be played June 3, 2016 at Nettleton Stadium.

Robert Engels can be reached at [email protected] or @Sullayyy on Twitter.

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Chico Heat returns to Nettleton Stadium