Eastman Fast Pitch Hall of Fame to induct new members

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Russ Gillitzer

LeRoy Trautsch

David Wall

Bob Ostrander

Charlie Walker

The Chester Kramer Family will be inducted as Friends of the Ball Park.

 

Five players and one family will be inducted into the Eastman Fast Pitch Hall of Fame on July 4 at 4 p.m. at the Eastman Ball Park. The following are write-ups by or about the players and the Chester Kramer Family.

 

Russ Gillitzer

I started playing fast pitch softball in the summer of 1973. Bernard Boylen put together a bunch of high school kids who played for FS in the league in Bush Park. After high school, the players on that team kind of went our separate ways, some continued to play.

For the next couple of years, I played for the Pine Tree and Gillitzer’s Milker Service. I also played some in the traveling league catching LaVerne DuCharme and Roger Wall.

In 1977, I joined with Rick Petsche, Paul Wall and others to play a year for Key Realty. The next year, I started playing with Don Stram and the Oak Grove Tavern. We had a pretty good team, winning a good number of tournaments around the area and state.

I finished my career playing for Wilkinson’s Auction Service. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to play with and against some of the best players in the area and state. When you played in the local leagues and tournaments, it was always competitive because anybody could beat anybody at any time.

Towards the end of my career, I started umpiring. I have umpired with ASA, WIAA and American Legion baseball, working state tournaments in ASA softball and American Legion baseball.

I would have to say our biggest accomplishment was going to Eau Claire and winning the 1982 Class A State Tournament with Oak Grove and being named the tournament’s best defensive player by fellow players.

Over the years, I have had the honor of playing with and against a lot of great players and people, but in the end, I have to give a huge thank you to my family for letting me fulfill my dreams.

 

LeRoy Trautsch

LeRoy Trautsch will be inducted into the Eastman Fast Pitch Hall of Fame on July 4. His love for the game and other sports were a big part of his life. He was an excellent athlete, beginning at a young age. He earned the MVP award in high school. He participated in football, basketball and baseball.

As he began his summer career of softball, he played for Bob’s Bar in Eastman, Ma Barker’s in Seneca (which he received a golden glove award from) and, once in awhile, he played on a thrown together team. He played for many years, mainly at third base.

A few years after retiring from softball, he began coaching his son Nick’s Little League teams. He spent many hours in our yard, at the batting cage and at the ball diamond with the boys. Every day when he would get home, Nick would be waiting outside with either a baseball, football or basketball so that his dad would play with him. LeRoy never once told him that he didn’t have time. All he ever wanted was for the kids to have fun and enjoy the game, as he always did.

LeRoy passed away in October of 2013 after a long, hard fought battle with leukemia. He would be honored to be receiving this award.

 

David Wall

I am honored to be inducted into the Eastman Fast Pitch Hall of Fame. My ball playing career started with a call from Patsy Beers asking if I wanted to be on a ball team. 

We played some pretty good ball and surprised some really good teams. I remember a team sponsor coming out onto the field and yelling at his team for laughing at each other for striking out and getting beat by a bunch of damn farm kids.

I played for Pintz Construction, Hilltop Bar, Bell’s Bar, Timber Lanes, Horseshoe Tavern, Two Rivers Bar and several tournament teams, including winning a state tournament with D.A. Diggers.

I’ve had incredible teammates over the years, had fun, and made many friends and memories.

A special thank you, or apology to my wife Shirley for spending most of my married life at the ballpark. I am humbled by this award and will treasure it forever.

 

Bob Ostrander

Being left handed has never been a problem for Bob Ostrander. Bob was noted for hitting home runs. He averaged 20 per season.

After serving in the Navy and working in Madison for a couple of years, Bob returned to the area to work at the Sheriff’s Department. While living in Prairie du Chien, Bob played ball with Knapp’s as first baseman and outfielder.

When he moved his family to Seneca in 1968, he continued to play with area teams such as Helen’s Place, Ma Barker’s, Sometimes Inn, Hilltop Bar and Bob’s Place, as well as tournament games with the Freeport Night Owls.

One of his favorite memories is winning the Class A State Tournament with Ma Barker’s in 1975 and make the All Tournament Team with a .500 batting average.

Softball gave Bob some great times, great friends and wonderful memories. He still has that left handed swing, but now it’s at a golf ball.

Charlie Walker

Charlie Walker began his softball career in the early 1970s after serving six years in the military. He played with various teams over the years such as Oak Grove, Kuckenbecker’s, the Sawmill, and in 1975 with the State Class A Championship team of Ma Barker’s. He also competed in the 40 and over tournaments for a number of years before retiring.

Charlie had little time to be involved in sports during his early years, but he took to softball like a duck takes to water! Defensively, he mostly played outfield but was also at home playing first base. He quickly became well known as a strong hitter and a real tough out. His speed on the bases and in the outfield served him well.

Charlie always delighted in the competitive nature of the sport, especially the “really tough” games, but he really enjoyed the comradeship that came with making many new and lasting friendships throughout the years.

 

Chester Kramer Family, Friends of the Ball Park

The Chester Kramer Family is honored to be recognized by the Fast Pitch Hall of Fame in Eastman. The Chester Kramer Family were always great supporters of the ball park.

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