The Jacks are back!
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The Chippewa River Baseball League dates back to 1908, so despite many challenges leading up to the beginning of the season the Lumberjacks have returned and are ready to play.
“It’s been a long wait this summer to see if the season was going to go forward,” said Wayne Franz, the Jack’s organizer.
The Chippewa River Baseball League twice suspended its 92nd season when COVID19 hit Wisconsin.
Nolan Hutzler, catcher for the Jack’s told WEAU, “I was worried about the season being cancelled because we plan our entire summers around baseball”
But now, the Lumberjacks’ anticipated return to CRBL play is even bigger than Franz and his players originally thought.
“They disbanded three years ago, they were in Chippewa for a long long time as rich tradition. They ended up moving over to Eau Claire,” said Franz
“It feels awesome. I have been waiting a long time to get to play,” said Luke Franz, second baseman.
However, the return may come with some unexpected challenges.
“When were out here guys want to get close and talk it up so id say its kind of a challenge,” said Hutzler.
Franz says the team is doing what it can to make sure fans and athletes stay safe when they come see a game at Casper Park,
“The facility for instance tonight is limited to 100 persons per Chippewa County guidelines and that’s the main way were going to keep this safe and playable and keep things going.”
But Thursday, it was back to playing ball for the Jacks, as they hosted the Cadott Red Sox in non-league action. Franz says his team is hungry to start chalking up wins.
“These guys are used to winning they’ve had very successful prep careers, but again we realize its a huge challenge, there ARE teams that are very veteran organized and were the new kid on the block,” Franz said.
Although the team is young, and many are making their league debut this season, the Lumberjacks don’t think they should be overlooked
“I truly believe we can compete with anyone in the league.. And above that, beat anybody,” said Luke Franz.
The Lumberjack’s first league game begins on July 12th against the Eau Claire River-Men at Sturgeon Field. However, with the shortened season there will be no CRBL all-star game or postseason this year.
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