Tag: Osseo Merchants

CRBL Preview

Baseball greetings to all our fans, followers, alumni, and friends. It is with great sincerity that we would like to welcome you to another year of competitive amateur baseball within the storied Chippewa River Baseball League. Incredibly, 2023 marks the 95th season of play over 115 years, dating back to the CRBL’s first season of existence in 1908. Very few baseball leagues across the USA – amateur or professional – can substantiate such an existence of length and success. Plainly stated, this is something that anyone associated with the CRBL should take great pride in.

2022 saw the CRBL operate without divisional play for the first time since 1972. From the 10-team arrangement, the Tilden Tigers claimed the best regular season record at 16 and 2, followed by the wildcard teams of Osseo (15-3), the Eau Claire Bears (13-5), and Chippewa Falls (12-6). In the August 6th championship tilt at Casper Park in Chippewa Falls, Tilden beat Osseo 12-5 to capture their league record 39th championship.

The following weekend, seven CRBL teams ventured into the WBA Tournament. From the semi-final fracas of pool play, only Tilden and the Eau Claire Cavaliers survived to the subsequent Finals weekend, with Tilden continuing to roll all the way to the WBA championship game. Unfortunately, the Tigers lost a heart breaker in the title bout to the River Falls Fighting Fish, 3 to 2.

Looking ahead to 2023, the CRBL will welcome back the Augusta Athletics, who played in the league from 1989 to 2019. Also returning will be the tradition of divisional play in the following arrangement:

South Division (6 teams): Augusta Athletics, Beef River Bullfrogs, Eau Claire Bears, Eau Claire Cavaliers, Eau Claire Rivermen, and Osseo Merchants.

North Division (5 teams): Bloomer Fighting Woodticks, Cadott Red Sox, Chippewa Falls Lumberjacks, Jim Falls Sturgeons, and Tilden Tigers.

Old Man Winter put the lumber to us (again) this winter. Yet, like they do every year, the sights and sounds of summer return – whirling baseballs, hot summer nights, freshly cut grass, the crack of the bat………………………..LET’S PLAY BALL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CRBL 2023 Season Schedule Revealed

The Chippewa Rivers Baseball League (CRBL) has revealed the 2023 season schedule. With the re-entry the league of the Augusta Athletics, the managers voted to reinstate the North and South divisions. Five teams will compete for the North Division and six teams will compete in the South Division. The 110-game season will see each CRBL team play a 20-game schedule starting April 30th, 2023. The 2023 season will mark the 94rd season of league play.

Notable Schedule Dates

  • Sunday, April 30th – Opening Day
  • Friday, June 30th – CRBL All-Star Game hosted by the Chippewa Falls LumberJacks at Casper Park, 7 pm (Hall of Fame Classes of 2023 to be honored)
  • Wednesday, August 2nd – Wildcard Wednesday
  • Saturday, August 5th – Championship Saturday

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 team individual 2023 schedule can be found at their team page:

NOTE: Schedule Subject to Change

All-League Selections

The Tilden Tigers led the 2022 Chippewa River Baseball League (CRBL) all-league selections with four all-league selections.

OFJordan Steinmetz*Tilden Tigers
OFTodd LasherEau Claire Bears
OFLance LetterEau Claire Rivermen
3rd BaseZach MerritCadott Red Sox
ShortstopDrew SteinmetzTilden Tigers
2nd BaseMatt Martineau*Chippewa Falls LumberJacks
1st BaseCooper KapankeEau Claire Cavaliers
CatcherTodd WienkesOsseo Merchants
UtilityNoah HansonTilden Tigers
DHAndy NieseEau Claire Rivermen
PitcherLuke EideOsseo Merchants
PitcherPJ LeQuia*Tilden Tigers
PitcherJoel ZachowEau Claire Bears
*Unanimous Selection
  • Within the thirteen individuals selected for 2022 All-CRBL awards, there were eight first time award winners.
  • There were three unanimous selections – PJ LeQuia, Matt Martineau and Jordan Steinmetz.
  • Two individuals were repeat winners from 2021 – Luke Eide and Jordan Steinmetz.
  • With nine selections, Todd Lasher is now third all-time in All-CRBL awards.
  • The all-time leader in All-CRBL awards is the Eau Claire Rivermen’s Andy Niese with 13

Honorable Mention All-CRBL

Beef River BullfrogsBrendan McCabeCatcher
Bloomer WoodticksTyler PlitznerCatcher
Cadott Red SoxChad KronShortstop
Chippewa Falls LumberJacksNolan HutzlerShortstop
Eau Claire BearsChevy TollefsonPitcher
Eau Claire CavaliersBen BodaShortstop
Eau Claire RivermenTyler GrayPitcher
Jim Falls SturgeonsTristan HableOutfield
Osseo MerchantsNolan MatsonOutfield
Tilden TigersLucas SteinmetzOutfield
  • Of the ten individuals recognized with an Honorable Mention All-CRBL award, eight were first time selections.
  • Tyler Gray’s seven Honorable Mention Awards are a CRBL record

Gold Glove Awards

Beef River BullfrogsTaylor Rathke2nd Base
Bloomer WoodticksJake MalinowskiUtility
Cadott Red SoxSean SedlacekOutfield
Chippewa Falls LumberJacksCaleb GardowCatcher
Eau Claire BearsJoe HallingCatcher/Outfield
Eau Claire CavaliersCaden Erickson2nd Base
Eau Claire RivermenLance LettnerOutfield
Jim Falls SturgeonsRyan Krumenauer2nd Base
Osseo MerchantsJoe Zawacki1st Base
Tilden TigersChristian Hall1st Base
  • This is the second year for the CRBL’s Gold Glove Awards.
  • Of the ten gold glove recipients, seven were first time winners and three were repeat winners

CRBL League Playoffs Set

The 2022 Chippewa River Baseball League (CRBL) playoffs have been set. The #1 seed Tilden Tigers will host the #4 seed Chippewa Falls LumberJacks at Casper Park, while the #2 seed Osseo Merchants will host the #3 seed Eau Claire Bears at Jon Soiney Memorial Field. Both games are set for Wednesday, August 3rd at 7 pm.

The winners of Wildcard Wednesday will play on Championship Saturday, August 6th at 12:30 pm with the higher seed hosting.

  • This will be Tilden’s league record 38th appearance in the CRBL championship game.
  • Osseo will be making its 6th showing in the title bout.
  • Tilden has won a league record 38 league championships, with the most recent coming last season when they beat Chippewa Falls, 10-3.
  • Osseo has won four CRBL crowns, doing so consecutively in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.
  • Nolan Baier of Tilden was named MVP of last year’s contest.
  • CRBL Hall of Famer Shane Dutton is the only player to win multiple championship game MVP awards, doing so for Augusta in 1998 and 1999.  The award has been given annually since 1998.
  • The first championship contest was actually a series, taking place in 1928 when the Eagleton Eagletons beat Eau Claire Union 2 games to 0.
  • Including 2022, this is the 94th season of play in CRBL history.  Within that time frame, there have been 11 championship series.  This Saturday marks the 59th championship game.  

Championship Game Facts

  • This marks the first time Tilden has won back-to-back CRBL titles since winning three in a row in 1977, 1978, and 1979.
  • The title was Tilden’s 19th, a CRBL record. The next closest franchise is the Chippewa Falls Lumberjacks with 7 CRBL crowns.
  • Jordan Steinmetz was named game MVP, becoming the 5th Tilden player to win the award since it was instituted in 1998.
  • The Eau Claire Bears have the claim to the most CRBL championship game MVPs with 6.

2022 Team Previews / Rosters

The Beef River Bullfrogs look to bounce back from a disappointing 2021 season under the guidance of new coach and Bullfrogs legend Taylor Rathke.

The Bullfrogs will be sporting a young lineup that shows a lot of promise and potential. We have an offense led by Taylor Rathke, Wesley Boyarski, Kyle Maug, and Ryan Grey; and the pitching staff led by Ethan Bartles and Tim Prince as well as many new and returning players.

The Bullfrogs would like to thank Jesse VenRooy for his hard work and for creating a great atmosphere for baseball in Strum! He has handed over head coaching duties but will still be an active member of the team.

There is a good foundation for an improved season by the Frogs! We can’t wait to see you at Spangberg Field to cheer on your hometown Bullfrogs!

The 2021 season was a typical season for the Fightin’ Woodticks. A grueling schedule in the always challenging CRBL where, for us, wins and losses are sprinkled together. Every team has a chance to win every weekend and this season, we finished league play at 9-11. Along with our regular season league action, Stuckert Field (home of the Ticks) saw the CRBL’s best gather for the league All-Star game where we got to honor Tick legend Scott Stuckert by inducting him into the league Hall-of-Fame.

In 2022, we are sad to report this will be the final season at historic Stuckert Field. Come up to Bloomer and celebrate with us as we remember all of the wins and losses on the field and our undefeated record of having a great time after the game. Whether the Liar’s Dice box comes out, the second beer run happens, or Scrub finally gets to the bottom of the fish fry pan Stucket Field has been the place to be.

As actual ticks come out of the woodwork, that is how the Woodtick roster will be this year as we invite some old and new faces to suit up this year.

Thank you to our major sponsors: Brian Simmons, Catalytic Combustion, The Badger Hole, Billy’s Grill, and Shadick’s Price Rite. We would also like to thank many other local sponsors and Bloomer community members with special mention for the Trixie and Ann Lane family for all of their help and support. Thank you to our families and fans for your support. The season is not done yet! Go Ticks!

The Red Sox are excited to be back for another year of CRBL baseball in 2022! The Red Sox roster will have many familiar faces as well as some new faces this season. Former all star Jake Arneson has decided to retire after being the team’s primary catcher for the last ten seasons. His veteran leadership and consistent play will be missed. 2021 all star Zac Merritt will be returning for his 2nd season with the Sox. Last season he brought some much needed stability to the shortstop position while batting .328 and leading the Red Sox in runs scored and stolen bases.

Other returning veterans include Mike Danielson, Tony Riley, Ben Poppe, Austin Goettl, Bennett Bowe, Casey Schara, Nate Stone, and CRBL Gold Glover Shawn Sedlacek. 2021 high school graduates Dylan Davis, Carter Vait, and Kaden Thurmond bring some young talent to the team as do offseason pickups Ely Johnson and Parker Lemanski.

The team would like to thank all of their fans and their outstanding sponsors. (Take a second and scroll through our sponsors below). Without you guys we wouldn’t exist! Lets play ball!

The Chippewa Falls LumberJacks (latest version established in 2020) are now entering their third year of play and the second official season in the CRBL.  Our home games are played at beautiful Gannon Field/Casper Park and the Jack’s proudly field a roster of mostly homegrown players from the Chippewa Falls area who showed in their first full year in the storied CRBL that they can compete at a very high level.

The Jack’s made the 2021 CRBL playoffs and promptly beat the Eau Claire Cavaliers 3-2 in an instant classic at Casper Park and a game that will be talked about around town by the “old boys” for a long time.  We then lost 10-3 to Tilden in the CRBL Championship game which again was held at Casper Park and was the 12th overall such appearance for the Jack’s which is 2nd all-time in the history of the CRBL.

Also, the Jack’s also made the prestigious WBA (Wisconsin Baseball Association) playoffs at the end of the regular season which was the second year in a row that we accomplished this feat.  Our 24 wins in 2021 rank highly in the history of the Jack’s and it is a fact that we are very proud of.

Of note five LumberJack players received CRBL Awards recognition and they include: Nolan Hutzler (All-CRBL Catcher) Nate Hayes (All-CRBL 1st Baseman) Levi Schaller (All-CRBL Pitcher) Chip Blair (Honorable Mention Designated Hitter) Jake Varsho (CRBL Golden Glove Award)

We would like to thank our 2021-22 sponsors, fans, and support staff and hope that the excitement around our team will continue to grow and others in the community will find their way to Gannon Field this season to cheer on the Jack’s and enjoy the fun activities and events on game day!

The Eau Claire Bears look to continue their success in 2022 following 4 straight state finals appearances. Bears are looking to reley on their long list of veterans this year that will carry their normal success with addition to exciting additions of Austin Lemay, Dane Helnore, Jack Shirpke, Levi Wilson, Vinnie Fonti and many others. Bears are hoping to take a leap from state finalists to 4 time state champions this year. Hope to see you all out there to support your EC Bears this season!

ROSTER: Chevy Tollefson, Todd Lasher, Jim Thill, Blake Johnson, Sam Janni, Ty Fadness, Matt Miller, Alex Jinkins, J.R. Lukes, Nathan Kent, Logan Berg, J.D. Preacher, Jeremy Nicolai, Austin Lemay, Tyler Oestrich, Joel Zachow, Will Mallett-Brown, Levi Wilson, Jack Shirpke, Vinnie Fonti, Joe Halling, Dane Helnore, Zach Lasher

The Eau Claire Cavalier amateur baseball organization returns to the diamond for their 52nd year in the Chippewa Valley. Playing out of beautiful Carson Park, this year’s squad is thrilled to welcome Field Manager Pete Bartingale. With years of experience and a strong base in the Chippewa Valley, Bartingale will be the 10th skipper in the Cavs storied history.

The 2021 edition of the Cavaliers returned to the Chippewa River Baseball League and finished with an 18-2 league record bringing home hardware as the North Division Champions. After competing in their 3rd Wisconsin Baseball Association State Finals, this year’s squad looks to build upon that success and go even further in 2022.

Along with many promotional nights and double headers this season the Cavaliers have the honor of hosting the CRBL All Star Game on Friday, July 1st. This along with a variety of home games will lead to an incredibly exciting year, one that you will not want to miss! We welcome everyone to come enjoy historic Carson Park and watch some of the most family friendly, best quality baseball in the Chippewa Valley this season.

2021 marked the fifth season of play for the Eau Claire Rivermen, a noteworthy milestone for any fledgling amateur baseball franchise. Unfortunately, 2021 also marked the least successful (worst) effort on the diamond for the ‘Men, as the Crew in Navy Blue and Grey staggered to a 7 and 13 record in the CRBL within a dismal 13 and 24 overall showing. At one point of ineptitude, the Rivermen gang lost 12 games in a row and 19 out of 21………yikes.

There were, however, several bright spots amidst the 2021 darkness. Specifically, CRBL legend Tyler Gray captured his sixth All-CRBL award, with the nod coming as a utility player for his standout performances as both a pitcher and hitter. Additionally, James Davis was given his first Honorable Mention All-CRBL award for his congruent work as a utility player for the Rivermen. Also of note, Sawyer Sturz was recognized with a CRBL Gold Glove trophy for his play at shortstop in what was the inaugural year of the CRBL recognizing it’s best defenders.

Alas, hope always springs eternal when a new season begins. With the addition of several promising new players to compliment the established core of grizzled veterans, the Men of the River are looking forward to quickly reversing their baseball fortunes in 2022.

Regardless of the final results, the Eau Claire Rivermen are proud to be part of the storied Chippewa River Baseball League. We look forward to seeing you at Fairfax Field, our plush home park with ample seating and convenient parking.

The Jim Falls Sturgeons enter 2022 with an ever-maturing core of young veterans (and a couple of old ones), bolstered by a smattering of fresh hopefuls. The team bases its hope for improving on a 5-15 record on a deep pitching staff and an expected rebound from some hitters who fell off from previous production in ’21.

Ryan Krumenauer certainly did not fall off as he led the way offensively, batting .377 with a .410 slugging percentage, leading the team in hits at 23-61, tying for the lead in Runs and RBI with 8 each, and flashing a web gem worthy infield glove. Tristin Hable cruised to .300 at 12-40 while slugging .425, and Nick Pitsch stroked .333 in limited action. Wyatt Keyeski led the team in On Base Percentage at .444. The Sturgeons also stepped up their long ball action, getting dingers from Hable, Austin Sykora, Bob Maurer, and Jake Eslinger.

On the mound, Manager Pete Thaler led in ERA at 4.46 with 24 Ks in 40.1 innings. Meanwhile, Isaac Lindstrom struck out 30 in 31.2 innings. Each of them picked up 2 wins, with Dylan Waters securing the fifth.

Two highlights of the 2021 season were the dedications of the new dugouts at Grudem Field in honor of erstwhile stars and CRBL Hall-of-Famers Roger Bergeron and Dave Hepfler. The team and everyone involved want to thank Joe Luther who conceived of and oversaw the production of the dugouts as his Eagle Scout project. Look for more heroes from Jim Falls’ past to be recognized this year and in the years to come.

The Sturgeons invite you to partake of the pleasures of the ballpark in ‘22. Their fervent hope is that after the Covid-altering trials of the last two seasons, maybe only catchers and umpires will need to wear masks this time around.

2021 was another successful season for the Merchants. The boys won the CRBL South division, and advanced to the state finals for an unprecedented 6th straight year. Luke Eide was a beast on the mound being named league MVP and winning the pitching triple crown. There is reason to be optimistic with a few new faces joining the squad this season to bolster a veteran roster.

This season also brings a first as Josh Anderson is being inducted into the CRBL hall of fame. It is fitting that Josh is the first from this crew to get the call. I’m sure he won’t be the last. As always, I’d like to thank the businesses and fans in Osseo for their continued support. The best fans in the state. #WWMD

After a deep WBA Playoff and State Tournament run, the Tilden Tigers are set to reload for the 2022 season. The 2021 CRBL Champions are looking to repeat in the newly formatted league and are excited to get back to a more traditional schedule.

The Tigers will retain all of their key veteran players from 2021. The All-Star and All-CRBL outfield combination of Cole Zwiefelhofer, Jon Schoch and Nolan Baier will be returning, fresh off of a combined .405 batting average and league leading 83 RBIs in 2021.

The brotherly quartet of Drew Steinmetz, Jordan Steinmetz, Lucas Steinmetz and Ben Steinmetz will also be returning to elevate several key position groups and serve as the table setters in the Tilden lineup. Their versatility and knowledge of the game will be on full display this year.

Cornerstone infielder Alex Ruf will be returning to round out the lineup. Ruf brings a must needed coaching mentality to the clubhouse, along with his speed and solid defense.

Atop the pitching rotation are perennial All-Stars PJ Lequia and Carl Krumenauer. The starting combo had a sub 3.00 ERA last season. They will be joined by battery mate Dane Weiland, who will call the shots behind home plate.

The Tilden Tigers would like to thank all of our sponsors and forever loyal fan base. We look forward to seeing everyone out at Casper Park this season and being a part of this historic franchise and league.

2022 CRBL Schedule Released

The Chippewa Rivers Baseball League (CRBL) has released the 2022 season schedule. With the Whitehall Wolves withdrawing from league play for the 2022 season, the managers voted to eliminate the South & North divisions. The 90-game season will see each CRBL team will play an 18-game schedule starting May 1st, 2022. The 2022 season will mark the 93rd season of league play.

Notable Schedule Dates:

  • Sunday, May 1st – Opening Day
  • Friday, July 1st – CRBL All-Star Game hosted by the Eau Claire Cavaliers at Carson Park, 7 pm (Hall of Fame Classes of 2022 to be honored)
  • Wednesday, August 3rd – Wildcard Wednesday
  • Saturday, August 6th – Championship Saturday

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 team individual 2022 schedule can be found at their team page:

CRBL League Championship Set

The 2021 CRBL League Championship is set to start with Wildcard Wednesday, August 4th. The #1 seed Eau Claire Cavaliers will play #4 seed Chippewa Falls LumberJacks at Casper Park, while the #2 seed Osseo Merchants will host #3 Tilden Tigers. Both games first pitch is set for 7 pm.

The winners of Wildcard Wednesday will play on Saturday, August 7th at 12:30 pm with the higher seed hosting.

2021 CRBL Championship Game Facts

  • It is the first time these storied franchises have faced each other in the CRBL title bout.
  • The wildcard format was instituted into the CRBL in 2014. Coincidently, this is the first time since 2014 that two wildcard teams will meet in the championship game.
  • Osseo was trying to become the first team since the 1969-73 Tilden Tigers to win five CRBL titles in a row.
  • Osseo has won five division titles in a row (2016-2019, 2021). The Tilden Tigers hold the longest such streak, winning 9 division titles in row from 1974 to 1982.
  • Tilden holds the CRBL record for most league titles with 17 as well as most league championship game appearances with 37.
  • The Lumberjacks are second all-time in league titles with 7 as well as league championship appearances with 11.
  • The Eau Claire Bears have claimed the most wildcard spots with a current total of 6.
  • The first league championship “game” was actually a best out-of-three series that took place in 1928, the second year the CRBL functioned after an unexplained18-year hiatus (there was league play in 1908 and 1909 and then it was absent until 1927). In the 1928 series, the Eagleton Eageltons swept Eau Claire Union, 2 games to 0 games.
  • In the most recent CRBL championship, Osseo prevailed over Tilden, 12 to 6 at Osseo in 2019. Catcher Todd Wienkes of Osseo was named game MVP.
  • The last time the Lumberjacks’ franchise was in the CRBL championship was in 2013 when they lost 1-0 to the Whitehall Wolves at Casper Park.