Annual middle school, elementary Wifflefest tourneys promote fun, teamwork for area youth

·3 min read
Warriors' Jason McClure reaches second base as Bomb Pops' Camryn Wires fields the ball during the Wifflefest XXIII elementary and middle school tournaments Saturday, July 2, 2022 at Southview Grace Brethren Church.
Warriors' Jason McClure reaches second base as Bomb Pops' Camryn Wires fields the ball during the Wifflefest XXIII elementary and middle school tournaments Saturday, July 2, 2022 at Southview Grace Brethren Church.

ASHLAND — Hundreds of athletes and spectators lined the boundaries of Southview Grace Brethren Church all day Saturday as Wifflefest XXIII continued with the growing popularity of the elementary and middle school tournaments.

With dozens of teams preparing to claim a championship, excitement reigned supreme for kids of all ages.

One entry that may bode well for the Ashland High softball program in the near future was the Lady A’s, whose team members all looked forward to the next round of competition.

“What I enjoy the most about Wifflefest is being able to bond with your friends,” said 13-year-old Alanah Cole. “It’s a competitive environment, and it gives us a chance to work together. We are trying to win the tournament.”

Bomb Pops' Bentleigh Welch throws a pitch during the Wifflefest XXIII elementary and middle school tournaments Saturday, July 2, 2022 at Southview Grace Brethren Church.
Bomb Pops' Bentleigh Welch throws a pitch during the Wifflefest XXIII elementary and middle school tournaments Saturday, July 2, 2022 at Southview Grace Brethren Church.

“The competition is fun,” added 12-year-old Maddi Meeting, who is playing for the first time this year. “It is always fun to compete against your friends and stuff.”

Kenna Chandler enjoys not only playing but also watching others.

“It is always fun to play here, and I like watching my friends play, too,” said the 13-year-old. “And I like to have fun, too.”

Rowan Varnes said one of her teams placed second in 2019.

“I like the chance to be competitive and having fun at the same time,” she said.

Camryn Wires is in her second year of playing. This year, the 11-year-old's team is called the Bomb Pops. The name came from the internet and from teammate Campbell O’Brien.

“I actually started last year,” she said. “And this year I joined a team that is here right now. We couldn’t find a name and actually she came up with it. Just playing wiffle ball is the most fun.”

One of the younger players participating is 8-year-old Adam Aspin, who played for The Meatballs.

“I like to play because it is fun,” he said. “I really like playing wiffle ball. I play on a little league team, mostly at Brookside Park.”

Layton Roop echoed the sentiments of the players on the day.

Huck Fuller waits at first base during the Wifflefest XXIII elementary and middle school tournaments Saturday, July 2, 2022 at Southview Grace Brethren Church.
Huck Fuller waits at first base during the Wifflefest XXIII elementary and middle school tournaments Saturday, July 2, 2022 at Southview Grace Brethren Church.

“It is just fun playing with your friends,” said the 12-year-old, who played on The Mighty Ducks team. “So far, we won the first and lost the second (game).”

Reese Lecon played for the Pink Sox, which finished runner-up in the middle school tournament.

“Just playing and having fun,” he said about what he enjoyed about the event.

Katie Brown was one of the dozens of volunteers running concession stands, handing out water, umpiring the games and helping the operation run smoothly during the sometimes-hectic weekend.

Brown said she has volunteered for a long time.

“It is just great to see people of all ages coming together in our community and just having fun,” she said. “We always have to be ready for the weather that can always change on us really fast. And always making sure we have enough volunteers. We always need a lot of help. We need help from people running water to running concession to score keeping.

“There are just a lot of jobs to be had. No job is too small.”

Construction Crew team members Max Ohl, Jeff Hickey, Mason Bauer and Kyle Turk (not pictured Noah Merrill) pose for a picture Saturday at Southview Grace Brethren Church.
Construction Crew team members Max Ohl, Jeff Hickey, Mason Bauer and Kyle Turk (not pictured Noah Merrill) pose for a picture Saturday at Southview Grace Brethren Church.

In the middle school championship game, Construction Crew defeated Pink Sox 7-2.

Playing for Construction Crew were Max Ohl (captain), Kyle Turk, Jeff Hickey, Noah Merrill and Mason Bauer.

Playing for Pink Sox were Landon Fivecoat (captain), Max Steiner, Grady Hirst and Lecon.

Pink Sox was also the recipient of the Wiffle While We Work sportsmanship award. The team was nominated for the award several times throughout the day for displaying qualities that exemplify sportsmanship.

In the elementary title game, Base Bro’s cruised to a 14-2 win over The Widows.

Playing for Base Bro’s were Jackson Zarnsdorff (captain), Leo Hickman, Miles Ashbaugh and Jacob Aspin.

Playing for The Widows were Brantley Reuter (captain), Maleah Miller, Britt Nolletti, Monroe Magee and McCoy Magee.

This article originally appeared on Ashland Times Gazette: Champions crowned in two Wifflefest XXIII youth tournaments