Kurtz Family: A Bluffton Tradition

By Tony Vasko, SID Intern
May 2, 2000

Senior Erin and sophomore Emily Kurtz (Wooster/Smithville) are following in their father's footsteps at BC. Their father, Duane "Tuffy" Kurtz is a 1975 graduate of BC and was a member of the baseball team for four years.

Erin and Emily have played together for seven years and their father has been a big part of their softball experience. He coached them starting in the fifth grade and leading up through high school. You can still see him at the Beaver's games warming up his daughters.

The Kurtz sisters are very happy that they chose Bluffton or many reasons. Mr. Kurtz really did not push Bluffton on his daughters. Erin came to Bluffton because she felt comfortable here. At first Emily did not want to come here because she was afraid of being in her sisters shadow, but in retrospect she is very happy to be at Bluffton. She said, "I came here to play again with my sister. It is a lot of fun. She is always there for advice and support." Erin, about her sister, said, "Emily and I are like two peas in pod. She is my stability. When I have a problem I go to her."

The Beaver softball team is happy that both Erin and Emily are at Bluffton. Erin is the career leader in strikeouts with 355 and ERA with 2.88. In addition, the Kurtz sisters are in the top five of every major single season pitching statistic. Erin is first in single season pitching wins with 12 (1997) and second in innings pitched with 114 (1999). Erin has the top four strikeout totals for a season. She had 95 in 1999, 70 in 1997 and 67 in 1998. Erin was also named the HCAC tournament MVP last season as she helped the Beavers win the conference tournament. Emily also has some records in her short career so far. She has the single season record for ERA with 1.91 in 1999, which could be broken by Erin this season.

Their father, Duane played on some of the best baseball teams that ever came through Bluffton. In his four years as a catcher for the Beavers, their record was 52 and 26. He had 53 hits in his career at BC. The sisters said that their father has taught them everything that they know. They have learned about the game from watching their dad play ball in the summers. Growing up they remembered always being at a ballgame.

Erin and Emily are the best of friends. There is no sibling rivalry between these sisters. Each game they root for each other to do the best that they can. During the games they even call each other's pitches. Also, before each game they pray together. Emily said, "By praying together Erin has showed me what my focus should be." About playing with her sister Erin said, " It is great to be with my best friend all the time. It is hard to realize that this will be our last year playing together."

Their father attributes his daughter's success to their hard work and dedication to the sport. He said, "We didn't have to push them to practice. They have practiced year round for three or four years. Their accomplishments are a result of that." The sisters said that they would not be where they are at if it was not for the love and support of their parents. Their dad taught them the game and their mother was their shoulder to cry on. "She always listened to our problems and helped us through them," remarked Erin.

This season is typical for the Kurtz sisters. Erin is leading the team in strikeouts with 123. She has broken her own single season record of 95. Erin also leads the team in ERA with 1.13. Erin is 11-4 on the season while Emily is 7-9. Emily has struck out 43 batters so far this season and has a 3.18 ERA. Not only are the sisters good pitchers they are good hitters. Erin is hitting .387 this season, while Emily is hitting .273.

Mr. Kurtz said, "I have enjoyed being around my daughters. Having them both here makes it special and we are both extremely proud of what these two have accomplished."