Class of 2013
Jim Falls Sturgeons 1981-96, 98-2000
Left-handed power hitters as well as Pitsch family members are synonymous with Jim Falls baseball. One of the best from this group to ever play for the small hamlet along the Chippewa River was shortstop and outfielder, Dale “Butch” Pitsch.
Butch’s .315 average (17 for 54) in his first CRBL season of 1981 signaled the addition of another tough, hard-hitting lefty to the Sturgeons improved school of hitters, evident in the organization’s first WBA appearance that year since 1975. Hitting .321 (18 for 56) two years later, Pitsch and the Crew of Big Fish in 1983 enjoyed their first winning record since the 1975 squad in addition to securing another birth in the WBA.
The quick wristed lefty had his first CRBL leading total in 1985 when he was in front of the 10-team circuit with 3 triples. Butch’s other league leading total came in long balls when he and the Eau Claire Pioneers’ Jon Bowe tied for the CRBL lead with 7 clouts in 1989. Along with a .395 average (17 for 43) and 23 RBI’s in that season of 1989, Pitsch and the power-laden line-up of the Sturgeons captured their first North Division since 1973 with a won/loss mark of 12 and 4 and qualified for their fourth WBA tournament in a row.
Returning to the WBA in 1991 with an 11 and 5 league record, Jim Falls swam to their first Final 8 appearance since the memorable 1975 team. Pitch did his part by hurdling the .400 mark for the first time, hitting .413 (19 for 46) with 2 homers and 11 RBI’s in CRBL conflicts. Butch’s second consecutive .400 season in 1992 (.417, 25 for 60) also came with 6 home runs, 19 ribbies, and a personal best 22 runs scored as the Prehistoric Fish made it back to the WBA dance.
In completing a seven season run of hitting .300 or better (1987 to 1993) Pitsch’s .509 effort in 1993 was a career best, thanks to a personal high of 28 hits coming in 55 at-bats. In total, Butch’s .338 lifetime average was bolted on 10 campaigns of hitting .300 or better in 14 years as a regular for the Fish in Jim Town.
Starting his career at Jim Falls’ famous school yard diamond and concluding his playing days at plush Sturgeon Stadium at Gruden Field, Butch lashed out 267 CRBL hits from the left side of the plate. A selective batter, Pitsch also walked 164 times on the strength of 10+ base on balls in nine CRBL seasons.
Considered to be an underrated player, Mr. Pitsch participated in two All-Star games (1985 and 1989), was named All-CRBL outfielder twice (1992 and 1993), and was recognized as an Honorable Mention All-CRBL pick as an outfielder three times (1987, 1989, and 1991).