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Sierra High grad hot in Fires league debut
Before the start of race 2. Buddy came on in the third grid and helped Fire earn a point. - photo by Photo Contributed

BERKELEY — The San Francisco Fire burst onto the National Pro Grid League scene on Thursday night, defeating the road weary Philadelphia Founders.

The Fire won 9 of the 11 races in front of about 3,000 fans washed in red at Haas Pavilion on the campus of UC Berkeley.

Fittingly, the Fire, buoyed by a local face, took the Founders to school.

The match was decided in Race 8 with three competitions left on the docket. Final score: 21-13.

The Fire was sparked by Buddy Hitchcock, a 5-foot-9, 180-pound stick of dynamite. Hitchcock partnered with Alessandra Pichelli in the opening race and sealed the two points with a series of 36-inch box jumps.

Boosted by a large contingent of #YeahBuddy fans, the Sierra High graduate — easily the smallest male competitor on the grid — was at his best in body weight events.

His 25-foot rope climbs in Races 5 and 6 rallied the Fire. In both races, Hitchcock finished with 10 and 5 165-pound ground-to-overhead lifts.

“I have only one speed,” Hitchcock said.

Later, he closed a five-rep deficit in Race 8 with 21 consecutive handstand push-ups with a 10-inch drop. With momentum in their corner, the Fire burned wild, closing out the race and match with a final flurry of freestanding push-ups.

That’s not to say the final three races were a wash; more like a show of force by the hometown club and the 24-year-old drafted out of Manteca’s CrossFit Excel.

Hitchcock completed 10 muscle-ups and 20 burpee-over-box jumps in Race 10, and then finished his  sparkling season debut by calling on his basketball prowess.

With the crowd cheering him all the way, Hitchcock completed nine burpee-to-ring set at 10 feet — the equivalent of a slam dunk.

The Fire host Boston on Sept. 7.