Funderburk on fire |

Funderburk on fire

Mike Traum

Chico Heat officials are the first to admit it – they never should have let Levi Funderburk go.

The 6-foot, 6-inch right-handed slugger missed the first few games of the 1997 Western Baseball League season, having been cut in favor of a more speedy player. But the Heat started cold and Chico decided to rehire the 26-year-old South Tahoe High graduate.

“It’s one of those things that you say, ‘Why did we ever do that?'” said Bob Linscheid, Heat general manager. “He’s doing really well now – and we love it when he comes up with the bases loaded.”

Funderburk, now playing first base, is earning the praise by swinging a heated stick. He’s second on the team with a .364 average, with 20 hits in 55 ABs, including five doubles and a grandslam, in 14 games. Last Wednesday night, he missed another base-clearer by less than one foot.

“All in all we’re trying to improve the offensive output of our club,” said Linscheid, whose club is hovering around the .500 mark. “We’re very pleased with Levi’s output. And there’s not a nicer guy on the face of the earth.”

The Heat will be in Reno to face the Chukars, Funderburk’s former club, for a three-game set beginning Friday night at Moana Stadium. For ticket information, contact the Chukars at (702) 829-7890. Late-night radio surfers may find Chico Heat games on either 1060 or 1290 AM.

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