Category: 2020 Season

CRBL League Schedule Remains, But “League Play” Dismissed

After an emergency league meeting among the Chippewa Rivers Baseball League (CRBL) managers and officers, the CRBL has decided to dismiss “league play” for the 2020 season. The decision was due to a CRBL player testing positive to Covid-19 and the potential of further exposure to other players, coaches, fans and umpires.

The CRBL schedule released on June 27th will remain in place, however, the games will not be considered Chippewa River Baseball League games. Additionally, each CRBL team manager will have the authority to cancel or postpone games for safety concerns.

Local media members should contact each individual manager for coverage of games. Please visit information below for each managers contact information. Scores and schedule adjustments will not be updated via league website in the 2020 summer.

Scores and schedule adjustments will not be updated via league website in the 2020 summer.

The Chippewa River Baseball League is hopeful for a full return to traditional league action in the summer of 2021.

CRBL to Get Season Underway in Early July

The Chippewa River Baseball League (CRBL) managers and officers have come to an agreement to begin a baseball season early July. The league schedule will be tailored so that every team plays each other in one 9-inning game. Divisions will be eliminated for the 2020 CRBL season and a total of nine teams will participate in the season.

The following CRBL teams elected not to participate in the 2020 season:

  • Whitehall Wolves
  • Eau Claire Cavaliers

As a whole the CRBL is very grateful to be able to play games this summer. The season will wrap up in time for the Wisconsin Baseball Association (WBA) state tournament in mid August. The CRBL will operate with nine teams this season giving each team eight regular season games.

Rick Danielson – CRBL League President

With the shortened season there will be no CRBL All-Star game or postseason.

Stay tuned to www.crblbaseball.com for updated scores, standings and schedule changes.

Chippewa River Baseball League (CRBL) Season Suspended

After a league meeting among the Chippewa Rivers Baseball League (CRBL) managers and officers, the CRBL season has been suspended until further notice. Due to uncertainty of on-going social guidelines, restrictions of field availability and concern over public safety, the league felt it was the best to suspend league play until a yet to be determined date.

Related to this decision, the 2020 CRBL All-Star game, 2020 Hall of Fame induction, and the 2020 CRBL playoffs have all been cancelled.

The CRBL Hall of Fame Class of 2020 will be acknowledged and inducted with the CRBL Hall of Fame Class of 2021 at next year’s all-star game, which is slated to be hosted by the Eau Claire Cavaliers. 

The Wisconsin Baseball Association is still planning on having its state tournament in mid-August, with tournament details to be determined at a later time.

The league officers will revisit a potential short season in the upcoming weeks. Any of the updated or new social guidelines in Eau Claire, Chippewa and Trempealeau county will help determine if a season is a possibility.

The last interruption of CRBL, or league versions, competition was between 1942-1945 when no league games were played. Presumably due to the region’s involvement in World War II.

League Apparel Available for Purchase

The Chipppewa River Baseball League (CRBL) unvieled a new logo in 2019 and has expanded into offering apparel for the 2020 season. Along with SquadLocker, the CRBL is offering over 100 clothing options in both mens and womens.

Visit the storefront and see what gear works for your summer support of the CRBL.

A couple other CRBL teams also offer gear. The fresh, new look Chippewa Falls LumberJacks, who are re-entering the league in 2020, and Eau Claire Bears. See links below for ordering options of all CRBL gear.

CRBL Schedule Revised to 10 Game Season Starting Early June

On the heels of Governor Tony Evers extension of Wisconsin stay-at-home order until May 26th, the Chippewa River Baseball League (CRBL) has cancelled all scheduled games in April and May. Additionally, the league has revised their orginial 20 game season season schedule down to a 10 game season beginning on June 7th.

The revised schedule will have each team complete in one 9-inning against every CRBL opponent. The league schedule drops from 110 total league games to 55.



Due to the ongoing pandemic the CRBL has decided to reduce the league schedule to ten regular season games starting June 7th. This is dependent on the social guidelines and could change again in the future. We felt this was in the best interest of the league for our players and fans. We are just hoping to get some kind of a baseball season in at this point.

Rick Danielson – CRBL League President

Noteable Schedule Dates:

  • Season Opener – Sunday, June 7th
  • Jon Soiney Memorial Field Tripleheader (Osseo, WI) – Saturday, July 18th
    • Eau Claire Rivermen vs. Whitehall Wolves – 1pm
    • Beef River Bullfrogs vs. Osseo Merchants – 4pm
    • Eau Claire Cavaliers vs. Eau Claire Bears – 7 pm
  • All-Star Game – Sunday, July 5th hosted by the Eau Claire Cavaliers at Cinder City Park in Altoona.
  • Wildcard Wednesday – July 29th hosted at the winner of the North and South Divisions
  • Championship Saturday – August 1st hosted by the highest remaining seed

The last interuption of CRBL, or league versions, competition was between 1942-1945 when no league games were played. Presumably due to the region’s involvement in World War II.

League Team Previews

The 2020 Bloomer Fightin’ Woodticks are looking to build off the foundation of a successful year. In 2019, the Ticks went 12-10 and made the WBA playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Full Team Preview


The Cadott Red Sox are excited to be back in action for the 2020 CRBL season!  2019 was a fun year for the Sox. Cadott doubled their win total for the second consecutive year and they had the pleasure of hosting the CRBL all-star game.  

Full Team Preview


The Eau Claire Cavaliers is an amateur baseball organization that started in in 1971. The Eau Claire Cavaliers will celebrate their 50th season at historic Carson Park.

Full Team Preview


2019 represented a turning point for the Sturgeons, as Manager Nick Pitsch sought to stabilize an unsettled roster. After an 0-14 start, he led Jim Falls on an upswing, winning 5 of its last 8 to finish 5-17.

Full Team Preview


Under the direction of organizer and Manager Wayne Franz the Chippewa Falls LumberJacks return to the CRBL after a short stint on the shelf.  As a team with a storied past in the CRBL this new group of LumberJacks hopes to regain their footing quickly and begin carving (or hacking) out a spot similar to those of past Chippewa teams.

Full Team Preview


After winning the North Division and coming up short in the WBA State Championship Game, the Tilden Tigers will set their sights high for the upcoming season. They will return the core group of guys from last year’s state tournament team.

Full Team Preview


Scott “Sarge” Sorenson has officially stepped down as Manager of the Bullfrogs after 7 years. The team and it’s fans will miss his fiery and funny personality on game-day, but are looking forward to seeing where new Manager Jesse Ven Rooy will take the team in 2020 and beyond.

Full Team Preview


The Eau Claire Bears continued their run of success last year finishing another season at 17-5. The Bears made a run at the state title by winning their regional and knocking off defending champs Osseo Merchants in the first game of the State Tournament with a complete game ….

Full Team Preview


The 2019 season saw the Men win their last five league games in a row to finish their CRBL campaign 13 and 9 and grab a spot in the WBA tournament.

Full Team Preview


S 2019 was another successful season for the boys in blue, winning the CRBL South title and the league championship for the fourth consecutive year. The Merchants advanced to the WBA final 8 once again.

Full Team Preview


The Wolves finished the season 14-8 in league play, losing all eight games to the above-mentioned teams in some really good baseball games. We will need to win some of those close games this year to be competitive for a CRBL championship.

Full Team Preview

Season Preview for 2020

Welcome to another season of competitive and organized local baseball in the historical and documented Chippewa River Baseball League. It is with great pride and respect that we recognize 2020 as the 92nd season of baseball in the CRBL over a 112-year span of time dating back to 1908. It truly is incredible to consider that over 12,600 individuals have played in the CRBL over this long and storied existence. Definitively stated, very few if any baseball organizations across the United States – amateur or professional – can substantiate such a strong and rich place in America’s pastime as that of the Chippewa River Baseball.

Impressively, 2019 marked fourth year in a row that the Osseo Merchants have authoritatively ruled the CRBL landscape. Going 19 and 3, the skilled and balanced squad from Osseo captured their fourth consecutive South Division title before topping the Eau Claire Cavaliers 7-4 in the wild card game. In the CRBL title match, Osseo beat the North Division champion Tilden Tigers 12-6, staking claim to their fourth consecutive CRBL championship.

In WBA play, Osseo, Tilden, the Eau Claire Bears and Eau Claire Cavaliers made it to the Final 8 in Menomonie, marking the first time ever that four CRBL teams made it to the Finals. From this bunch, the Cavs and Tilden survived to battle one another in the WBA championship game, where the Cavs prevailed 11-3. With their first WBA crown, the Cavaliers joined the Thorp Cardinals (1953), Augusta Athletics (1994), Tilden Tigers (1995, 2004), Eau Claire Bears (2005, 2008, 2009), and Osseo Merchants (2019) as fellow CRBL franchises to become WBA champions.

Please take a few moments to page through this ad book and recognize the many generous sponsors, advertisers, and devoted supporters that permit the CRBL and its member teams to carry on the proud tradition of providing a quality amateur baseball league to the residents of the Chippewa Valley.

And once again, Old Man Winter’s dark clench of snow, cold, and ice has finally relented. Diamonds of grass, spheres of leather and cylinders of ash and maple await our arrival.

Interview with Andy

Anyone associated with the Chippewa Rivers Baseball League (CRBL) within the last 25 years has most likely heard the name Andy Niese. Having played for four different teams throughout his 28 playing career (1993 to present) and managing two teams – Chippewa Falls Lumberjacks and Eau Claire Rivermen – he’s no stranger to amatuer baseball in the Chippewa Valley.

His infectious knowledge for baseball within the Eau Claire and Chippewa led to a rather unique project. On a September day in 2003, Niese decided to begin an endeavour that would bring a tremendous amount of historical information together in the form a league history and record book. His first edition was printed in 2009.

Question & Answer

QUESTION: What gave you the idea of putting together a history book of the Chippewa Rivers Baseball League?

ANSWER: Going back to my first CRBL season in 1993, I had heard the stories from veterans about the CRBL’s long history, and always wondered “how old” the league really was.  I originally began creating a record book for the Chippewa Falls Lumberjacks in the fall of 2003.  I quickly realized through that research that there was a treasure chest of information on the CRBL and amateur baseball in this area that had been buried by the natural passage of time.  I decided I was going to give it a shot, and see exactly what the history of the CRBL involved.

QUESTION: What did you envision this project to become? And did you think it would be done after you completed your first edition?

ANSWER: I envisioned it being a CRBL/amateur baseball version of the Baseball Encyclopedia, an awesome and vast publication of baseball stats that I grew up with.  And no, I always foresaw this being a running, continuously updated history of the CRBL’s existence.   

QUESTION: What kind of feedback did you receive from other players or coaches?

ANSWER: Early on I don’t think anyone knew how big and comprehensive it was going to become, or that it would be updated annually.  Once people started seeing rough drafts and “test runs”, the feedback was all positive and thankful. 

QUESTION: You had your book inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. How suprising or rewarding was it when you heard this news?

ANSWER: Truthfully, my wife contacted Cooperstown on my behalf.  I didn’t think they would have any interest.  Then, I received an email from Cooperstown saying they were interested.  Yes, it was extremely surprising when they notified me they wanted a copy.  I remember speaking to one of their head librarians on the phone, she was very cordial and nice.  I have the certificate of donation framed in my office at home.  It is even signed by Jeff Idleson, the Hall of Fame’s president.  Frankly, it is still an odd and humbling feeling to look at it.  

QUESTION: Who are some of the most memorable people you have met trying to collect this league information?

ANSWER: The people that come to mind right away include  Monk Solie from Cornell, Porter Popple from Chippewa Falls, George Gannon from Chippewa Falls, Roger Bergeron from Jim Falls, Ron Buckli from Eau Claire, and George Jackson from Cadott.  There have been so many people and faces over the last 17+ years of compiling info, and all of them have been so gracious and thankful for the book.

QUESTION: What were some of the biggest hurdles in gathering all the information?

ANSWER: Time and filling in the sporadic gaps in information.  The unavoidable time and focus it takes to comb through microfilm and internet searches to find miniscule box scores and game summaries can get intense.  There have been some frustrations in that process as some years and eras were much better than others in recording data and info.  In those instances, I’ve had to rely on statistical patterns or self-created, anecdotal algorithms as well a few “guesstimations” to fill in or theorize on that lost information and data.  As I’ve said for a long time — are these estimations exact?  No.  Are they close and better than nothing?  Yes and yes. 

QUESTION: Currently, you are on version 12 of the CRBL history book. How long do you see yourself updating information?

ANSWER: I’d like to think I have a few decades left to keep it going.  That said, the time and effort it takes doesn’t always jive real well with the demands of life — family, work, sleeping, etc. 

QUESTION: You were also instrumental in starting the CRBL Hall of Fame which recognizes past time players, managers, umpires and other league figures. What are some of the most memorable moments from meeting these ‘old-timers’ and even some of their family members?

ANSWER: Meeting the guys who played in the 40’s and 50’s has been truly rewarding.  Giving those guys who played 50-70 years ago their due as well some enjoyment to their families is a memorably poignant moment to be a part of.  Moreover, to see the heartfelt thanks and emotion people have — I think that as much as anything keeps me motivated to keep the book and project going.  Anyone who says this is “just a little amateur baseball league”  hasn’t spoken to a family member whose deceased dad/brother/uncle is getting honored by the CRBL — there is genuine meaning to all of this that you can’t put a price on.

And now that I’ve been around a while (2020 is my 28th year in the CRBL), I’ve also had the great privilege and honor of inducting many of my former opponents and teammates.  To give those guys proper and deserved recognition in the form of becoming a CRBL Hall of Famer is a special thing.  It allows us to share more than a few laughs, catch up on life,  and recall a lot of great memories from the diamond. 

2020 Hall of Fame Class Selected

Five players have been selected to enter into the Chippewa River Baseball League (CRBL) Hall of Fame from 25 active canidates. As in the past, the formal introduction and ceremony will take place during the CRBL all-star game on July 5th at Cinder City Park in Altoona, WI.

After the 2020 induction, the CRBL will have 77 members of their Hall of Fame.


Ray McIlquham

During a league career that spanned nearly forty years and touched five different decades, Ray McIlquham carved out his place in CRBL lore, first as a solid catcher for 10 seasons and then during a commendable 23 season run as a league umpire.Breaking in to the Chippewa County League in 1946 with the Lafayette team, Ray played 10 seasons as a backstop for eight different teams, with his last year of competition coming with the Cadott Red Sox in 1961.
Read Full Bio


Todd Bresina

Todd Bresina’s 26 seasons of competition in the CRBL were shaped as a sure-handed 2nd baseman and steady contact hitter, as well as manager of Tilden’s veteran teams of the late 2000s. More than any other attribute, however, “Breeze” will be remembered as one of the elite pitchers of his era, dominating opponents with pinpoint control and his signature, wipe out slider.
Read Full Bio


Mitch Steinmetz

After beginning his CRBL career with the Bloomer Merchants in 1988, the left-handed hitting shortstop became a Tiger in 1989. Combining agile feet with quick, soft hands, Steinmetz was a defensive wizard, lauded for his superior range, arm strength, and sure-handedness. From the middle of the Tilden diamond, Mitch teamed with fellow Tiger and CRBL Hall of Famer Todd Bresina to form the longest tenured and most productive double play combo in CRBL history.
Read Full Bio


Rick Baier

After playing briefly with the Cadott Red Sox in 1986, Rick became a full-time CRBL player with Tilden in 1988, immediately giving the Tigers a visible stalwart at the pivotal backstop position. Renowned for his defensive skills behind the plate, Rick had a memorably strong arm and quick release. A catcher’s catcher, he was also adept at working with pitchers, calling a game, blocking balls in the dirt, securing twisting pop-ups, and fearlessly protecting home plate.
Read Full Bio


Randy Baier

A right-handed hitter, the slugging first baseman deployed a powerful swing from an upright, slightly closed stance during his 25-year career to amass an incredible cache of offensive accomplishments. In 21 separate seasons, Baier hit over. 300, exceeding .400 in six of those campaigns. Twice the righty eclipsed the .500 mark, leading the CRBL with a .509 (29 for 57) tally in 1992 and a .527 (29 for 55) ledger in 1997.
Read Full Bio


2020 Candidates

Hank Ash – Pitcher

Cornell Mill Gang 1935-36; Cornell Hawks 1952-53; Lake Hallie Lakers 1954

Randy Baier – 1st Baseman, Pitcher

Cadott Red Sox 1986; Tilden Tigers 1988-2006, 08-12

Rick Baier – Catcher

Cadott Red Sox 1986; Tilden Tigers 1988-2014

Todd Bohl – Pitcher

Bloomer Merchants 1983-88

Todd Bresina – Pitcher, 2nd Baseman – Manager

Player: Tilden Tigers 1989-2014 | Manager: Tilden Tigers 2004-11

Jerry Dachel – Outfielder, Pitcher

Tilden Tigers 1967-78

Tom Drehmel – Outfielder

Fall Creek Mets 1967, 73; Lafayette Lakers 1968-73; Cadott Red Sox 1974-80

Terry Hartman – Shortstop, 3rd Baseman

Jim Falls Sturgeons 1969-77

P.J. Johnson – Catcher

Eau Claire Pioneers 1990-91; Augusta Athletics 1992-95; Hallie Eagles 1996-98

George Lee – Pitcher

Northern Colony Colonists 1932-38, 40

Ray McIlquham – Catcher – Umpire

Player: Lafayette 1946; Lafayette Badgers 1948; Lafayette Giants 1949-50; Hamilton Chevrolets 1955-56; Lake Hallie Lakers 1957; Chippewa Falls Triangle Sports 1958; Seymour 1959; Cadott Red Sox 1961

Umpire: 1962-84

Mike Pearson – 3rd Baseman

Eau Claire Pioneers 1986; Chippewa Falls Lumberjacks 1987-92; Tilden Tigers 1998

Rich Rosenow – Pitcher

Lafayette Indians 1971-76

Adam Rothenbuhler – Pitcher, Designated Hitter

Chippewa Falls Lumberjacks 2005; Beef River Bullfrogs 2009-11

Gary Rykal – Catcher

Cadott Red Sox 1961, 1965-78

Bill Schoch – Pitcher

Cooks Valley Hayshakers 1979-80; Tilden Tigers 1981-88

Bernie Seichter – Catcher

Boyd Bees 1953-54; Lake Hallie Lakers 1955-57

Jim Spaeth – Shortstop

Chippewa Falls Lumberjacks 1983-94

Mitch Steinmetz – Shortstop

Bloomer Merchants 1988; Tilden Tigers 1989-2012

Gene Vavra – Catcher

Lafayette Braves 1956-70

Marty Webster – Pitcher

Cornell Merchants 1950; Cornell Hawks 1956-57, 60

Bob Wolfe – Outfielder, 3rd Baseman

Lafayette Braves 1953-59

Dennis Zech – Infielder

Lafayette Lakers 1981-93

Jeff Zwiefelhofer – 1st Baseman

Cooks Valley Hayshakers 1977; Tilden Tigers 1979-87

Todd Zwiefelhofer – Pitcher, Infielder

Tilden Tigers 1991-97

25 active candidates

2020 CRBL Schedule Released

The 2020 season marks the 92nd season of play in the Chippewa River Baseball League (CRBL). With the Augusta Athletics and Stanley Slammers folding after the 2019 season and the Chippewa Falls Lumberjacks re-entering into the league, an odd number (11) of teams will occupy the standings. Six teams will compete for the North Division and five teams will compete in the South Division.

Each league team will play 20 games throughout their 2020 schedule for a total of 110 games.

Noteable Schedule Dates

  • Season Opener – Saturday, April 25th, Jim Falls Sturgeons at Bloomer Woodticks
  • Billy Noss Memorial Day Game – (Non-League Game) – Monday, May 25th – Eau Claire Bears vs. Eau Claire Cavaliers
  • Jon Soiney Memorial Field Tripleheader (Osseo, WI) – Saturday, July 11th
    • Eau Claire Rivermen vs. Whitehall Wolves – 1pm
    • Beef River Bullfrogs vs. Osseo Merchants – 4pm
    • Eau Claire Cavaliers vs. Eau Claire Bears – 7 pm
  • All-Star Game – Sunday, July 5th hosted by the Eau Claire Cavaliers at Cinder City Park in Altoona.
  • Wildcard Wednesday – July 29th hosted at the winner of the North and South Divisions
  • Championship Saturday – August 1st hosted by the highest remaining seed

All weekday games begin at 7 pm (unless otherwise noted). All weekend games begin at 12:30 pm (unless otherwise noted). Follow www.crblbaseball.com all season long for scores, standings and schedule changes.

Each teams individual schedule can be found at their team page: