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Chico Heat recruit Wildcats

Junior outfielder Josh Falco stares down the pitcher in a game against Academy of Art. Photo credit: Lindsay Pincus

The semi-pro baseball team Chico Heat has returned and picked up two prospects from Chico State: junior right fielder Josh Falco and junior pitcher Stuart Bradley.

Falco, a transfer student from Cuesta College, has only played one year at Chico State but has become a key player in the outfield, starting 16 of the ‘Cats 17 games this season.

The team has relied on Falco’s fielding to carry the team through some of its difficult stretches. Falco has 39 putouts so far in the season, and made 42 catches with two assists and just one error.

Despite being new to the program, Falco believes the Chico State baseball team to be one of the closest team’s he has been on, which has helped him to succeed.

“The team is very close, we’re like a family,” Falco said. “We play for each other, not for ourselves.”

Junior outfielder Josh Falco loads up for a pitch in a game against Academy of Art. Photo credit: Lindsay Pincus

Falco has supported the ‘Cats at the plate with a .274 batting average and 14 runs scored. Falco has also racked up 17 hits this season and has given his team the ability to score with 13 RBIs.

Along with Falco, Bradley is also a transfer student who is playing his first year at Chico State. Bradley transferred from Yuba College and has played in eight games for Chico State.

Of the eight games Bradley has pitched in, the team has won six and lost only two. Bradley has 10 strikeouts this season and has yet to allow a triple or home run. Bradley has pitched for 11 innings and allowed five runs this season.

Bradley is hopeful that his experience on the mound will help benefit the Chico Heat.

“I’ve played quite a bit. I can provide leadership on the team and set the tone,” Bradley said.

Junior pitcher Stuart Bradley Photo credit: Chico Wildcats

While both players were excited to be representatives of the revived summer baseball team, assistant coach Jose Garcia was happy to see them have a chance to hone their skills.

“Some of the guys that may not get a lot of innings or see a lot of play time get the chance during summer ball to get better and showcase their skills. It’s a good opportunity for them to work on their game,” Garcia said.

Garcia set up the opportunity for Falco and Bradley to play summer ball with the Chico Heat. The ability to be taught by a different set of coaches on a different team helps diversify the athletes, giving them an edge on the game.

While the two teammates are excited to experience their new team, their main concern is finishing the season for Chico State. The final league game of the season for Chico State is on May 8, but its season may extend to the NCAA D-II College World Series, depending on the overall success of the team.

The Heat won’t be playing their first game until June 4, which will allow Falco and Bradley some rest before diving into another season of baseball.

Kenta McAfee can be reached at [email protected] or @KentaMcAfee on Twitter.

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    Robin // Mar 23, 2016 at 10:30 am

    **Correction….The Chico Heat is NOT a “semi-pro” baseball team. It is a Collegiate Summer League Team….there’s a big difference.