Category: News

2021 CRBL Season Preview

Amidst the historical COVID-19 pandemic, the CRBL did not have a league season for the first time since 1945. Opening day was slated for April 25 and then pushed back to June 7. With concerns over COVID at the forefront, early June arrived, only to see opening day postponed once again, this time to July 8. Within that postponement, the Eau Claire Cavaliers and Whitehall Wolves announced they would not be participating in the 2020 season. On the night of July 7, due to a positive infection of one player and multiple exposures, the painful decision was made to cancel or “to not sanction” league play for 2020. Further contributing to the decision was the CRBL’s inability to formulate a coordinated, cooperative and informed organizational plan with considerations for social guidelines and field usage stipulations. Moreover, on July 10, there was yet another confirmed case of COVID-19 on a second CRBL team.

With nine of the CRBL’s eleven teams choosing to play non-league games throughout June and July, the WBA tournament loomed on the August horizon. Due to the pandemic, the WBA earlier had announced a modified 12 team state tournament, one that would involve pool play formulated by two representatives from each of the WBA’s six affiliated leagues.

With no sanctioned league season, it was decided by the CRBL managers to hold a “WBA Qualifying Tournament” in order to determine the CRBL’s two state qualifying teams. Hesitant to oversee the event stemming from the disjointed approach to handling the pandemic, league officers decided to not organize the event. Additionally, the Cadott Red Sox and Eau Claire Rivemen opted out, meaning seven teams were left to play: the Beef River Bullfrogs, Bloomer Fighting Woodticks, Chippewa Falls LumberJacks, Eau Claire Bears, Jim Falls Sturgeons, Osseo Merchants, and Tilden Tigers.

After the tournament format was set, Tilden announced they would not be able to participate, resulting in a forfeit win for their first round opponent, the Chippewa Falls LumberJacks. With Tilden and four other league teams now not playing in the WBA Qualifying Tournament, the Eau Claire Bears opportunistically added available players from the Eau Claire Cavaliers, Eau Claire Rivermen and Tilden Tigers. In addition to the Cadott Red Sox and Whitehall Wolves, players from those five “opting out” teams technically had not played in the WBA Qualifying tournament, which was not sanctioned by the CRBL. Therefore, players from those five organizations were viewed as free agents, available for any team to grab. Sound convoluted and confusing? Yep, indeed it was.

The results from the WBA Qualifying Tournament, held on August 8th and 9th, 2020 were as follows:


Beef River Bullfrogs 2, Bloomer Fighting Woodticks 1 at Bloomer

Eau Claire Bears 11, Jim Falls Sturgeons 1 (7 innings) at Jim Falls

Chippewa Falls Lumberjacks over Tilden Tigers by forfeit

Osseo Merchants received a bye


Eau Claire Bears 11, Beef River 1 (8 innings) at Bloomer

Osseo Merchants 11, Chippewa Falls Lumberjacks 2 at Osseo

With the Bears and the Merchants emerging from the fracas, the WBA subsequently ruled that all Tilden players who had played for the Bears in the CRBL’s non-sanctioned WBA Qualifying Tournament would not be eligible to play in the upcoming WBA tournament, which was admirably hosted by the Spooner Cardinals on August 14th-16th. Stemming from that decision, what predictably ensued over the next several days was an embarrassing display of unproductive finger pointing, bickering and short-sighted posturing between the involved CRBL managers and WBA officials, all of it taking place in the public’s eye across the forums of social media, print media, and broadcast media. The end result was that the WBA did not reverse their decision, the Tilden players were unable to suite up for the WBA tournament, and the long-cultivated image of the CRBL as a respected and well-run amateur baseball league was unnecessarily damaged.

At Spooner, the Bears lost their two games in pool play (5-3 to River Falls and 3-2 to Everest), while Osseo split their two contests (beating Glidden 4-2 and losing to Hayward 4-0). Neither CRBL squad advanced to the Final 8.

Thus, the unforgettable season that many wish they could completely forget was concluded. Hopefully, history will illustrate that all involved with the CRBL throughout this five-month dumpster fire were successfully able to move forward and intelligently set aside their own self-interests and disorganization in order to functionally get the CRBL back on the diamond.

2021 Hall of Fame Class Selected

Four players have been selected to enter the Chippewa River Baseball League (CRBL) Hall of Fame from 30 active candidates. As in the past, the formal introduction and ceremony will take place during the CRBL all-star game on July 3rd at Stuckert Field in Bloomer.

After the 2021 induction, the CRBL will have 81 members of their Hall of Fame.

John Huth

During a highly accomplished amateur baseball career that encompassed over 30 seasons across five decades, Jon Huth spent nine of those seasons with the Eau Claire Bears, securing his place as one of the truly elite power pitchers in CRBL history. A former professional pitcher, Huth was a 31st round draft pick of the Texas Rangers, spending a season in rookie ball with the Rangers in his draft year of 1988 and then a season at the mid-A level with the Kansas City Royals in 1989.
Read Full Bio

Paul Pehler

A hustling, high energy ball player during his nine seasons in the CBRL, Paul Pehler was also a dedicated manager and relentless advocate for the Wolves of Whitehall. Under his guidance, Whitehall was transformed from an organization struggling to survive into one of the most vaunted and highly successful amateur teams in the CRBL and across northwest Wisconsin.
Read Full Bio

Eddie Atkinson

Over a career of service that touched four decades and exceeded 30 years, Eddie Atkinson became an iconic and recognizable figure for the Sturgeons of Jim Falls. Despite never having played one inning for the Big Fish, Eddie rose to CRBL prominence through his dedicated and sincere work as the scorekeeper for the Sturgeons.
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Scott Stuckert

Throughout his 35 seasons in the CRBL, Scott Stuckert approached the game of baseball with an observably high level of dedication, respect and enjoyment. His likable and personable nature often overshadowed the fact that “Stuck” was an awesome baseball player, definitively one of the best to ever take the diamond in CRBL history.
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2021 Candidates

John Bjork – Outfielder

Augusta Athletics 1989-95

Hank Ash – Pitcher

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

Eddie Atkinson – Scorekeeper

Jim Falls Sturgeons 1980-2014

Todd Bohl – Pitcher

Bloomer Merchants 1983-88

Tom Drehmel – Outfielder

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

Reggie Franz – Pitcher, Utility

Cooks Valley Hayshakers 1981-82; Tilden Tigers 1983-88, 91-93; Hallie Eagles 1989; Beef River Bullfrogs 1996, 1999

Terry Hartman – Shortstop, 3rd Baseman

Jim Falls Sturgeons 1969-77

Jon Huth – Pitcher

Eau Claire Bears 2005-13

Brian Jacobson – Catcher

Lafayette Indians 1987-88; Eau Claire Pioneers 1989; Lafayette Lakers 1990-95

P.J. Johnson – Catcher

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

Dan Julson – Shortstop

Hallie Eagles 1994-99; Osseo Merchants 2004

George Lee – Pitcher

Northern Colony Colonists 1932-38, 40

Gerald Nelson – Outfielder

Jim Falls Saints 1971-73, 1976-81, 83

Mike Pearson – 3rd Baseman

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

Paul Pehler – Outfielder / Manager

Whitehall Wolves 2005-12; Manager 2007-12

Ron Poquette – Pitcher

Eau Claire Yard 4 Comets 1963-65; Eau Claire Twin City Sports 1966-68

Jerry Prince – 3rd Baseman, Shortstop

Tilden Tigers 1948-52, 59, 65: Hamilton Chevrolets 1954-57; Chippewa Falls Triangle Sports 1958-59, 61; Tilden Terrors 1960, 62

Tom Reiter – 1st Baseman

Jim Falls Dairymen 1956, 58-60; Nosal ‘66’ (Jim Falls) 1957; Jim Falls Cadets 1961-64; Jim Falls Sturgeons 1965-69

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

Bernie Seichter – Catcher

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

Scott Stuckert – Infielder / Player/Manager

Bloomer Merchants 1982-92; Bloomer Fighting Woodticks 1993-2016; Player/Manager – Bloomer Merchants 1990-92; Bloomer Fighting Woodticks 1993-2016

Jim Spaeth – Shortstop

Chippewa Falls Lumberjacks 1983-94

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

30 active candidates

The 2020 Hall of Fame class will be honored alongside of the 2021 class.

2021 CRBL Schedule Released

With the 2020 Chippewa River Baseball League (CRBL) season being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the league has prepared and released the 2021 season schedule. Due to the on-going pandemic, a large number of doubleheaders will occupy the 2021 CRBL season schedule to limit the number of dates teams gather. The 2021 season will mark the 92nd season of league play.

Each CRBL team will play a 20-game schedule. Six teams will compete for the North Division and five teams will compete in the South Division.

Notable Schedule Dates:

  • Saturday, April 17th – Opening Day
  • Saturday, July 3rd – CRBL All-Star Game hosted by the Bloomer Woodticks at Stuckert Field (Hall of Fame Classes of 2020 & 2021 to be honored)
  • Wednesday, August 4th – Wildcard Wednesday
  • Saturday, August 7th – Championship Saturday

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

Each teams individual 2021 schedule can be found at their team page:

NOTE: Schedule Subject to Change

Sponsorship Booklet Turns Digital

As the year turns to 2021, the Chippewa River Baseball League (CRBL) will turn it’s longtime sponsorship booklet digital. All sponsorship ads will now be digital and sponsors will have three levels of sponsorship – Gold, Silver or Bronze. Sponsor level information can be viewed here.

As with the CRBL ad booklet, each team will sell ads for their team and sponsors will at least be represented on each individual team page.

Visit the history of the CRBL ad booklet here.

The CRBL league officers, managers, players and sponsors would like to thank Art Zwiefelhofer for his many years of assistance in providing this sponsorship ad booklet to the league.

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 for 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.

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 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.

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.  

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 ….

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.

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.

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.