Child’s play no more: Adamsville league is serious about Wiffle ball
By Andrew Alexander
Wiffle ball has long been known as a leisurely game for children, played exclusively in backyards on summer evenings while dad is flipping burgers on the grill.
For residents of Adamsville and surrounding communities, however, this stereotype is quickly changing.
Recently, a group of young men from McNairy and Hardin counties have come together, in the spirit of recreation and competition, to form what is known as the Adamsville Wiffle Ball League (AWBL).
“One day ... Drew and Jake Martin, Zach Robinson, and myself decided to go play (wiffle ball) in the high school gym,” said League Commissioner Hunter Wyatt, describing how the league was born. “We played two-on-two and my team lost. I posted a Facebook status about it later that night, and the next thing I knew I had received almost 100 comments. I mentioned three little letters, W.B.L., then it just blew up after that.”
Since that day, the league has expanded to four teams, each fielding a roster of at least five players. Player age ranges from 16 to 27 years old, and most are either former or current high school or collegiate athletes.
The beauty of this league, however, is that there are no age or gender restrictions.
“Since there is Dixie Youth Baseball that cuts off after you turn 16,” Wyatt said, “I feel this is a perfect way to keep people involved in sports after they are too old to play organized athletics.”
The Rules of Play
The rules of wiffle ball are much like the rules of baseball, but there are a few differences.
Games are always played as double headers, consisting of two games of five innings each.
Teams are only allowed five players on the field at one time; one pitcher and four fielders, who generally play outfield.
A player from a neutral team acts as umpire.
Like slow-pitch softball, four foul balls results in an out, and three outs retires the side.
When fielding a ground ball, a wiffle ball player has two options: throw the ball to the pitcher before the runner reaches base safely, or hit the base runner with the ball before he reaches base safely.
Fun for all
The league believes it will allow the community a fun and creative opportunity to get out of the house and be active, and for some, it may be a chance to relive the glory days of their youth. For others, it may just provide some lively, inexpensive entertainment on a nice afternoon.
Games are played at Adamsville City Park or other locations around town on Saturday afternoons.
Kathy Bryant can watch many of the games from her front porch.
“My husband and I both enjoy watching them,” she said. “They have a good time over there.”
No admission fee is charged, but Commissioner Wyatt joked, “Donations are always welcome.”
The AWBL is currently open to expansion, and welcomes all interested parties. There is a $25 registration fee per team and those funds are redistributed throughout the league to provide uniforms and equipment.
Scheduling for the league has been difficult during the spring because several players are playing high school baseball. The AWBL has therefore labeled the current portion of its season “spring training,” with a more well-defined schedule upcoming.
Future plans call for a twelve-game regular season, followed by two playoff rounds. The first playoff round will be a best-of-three series. A five-game championship series will follow that to determine the league’s best team.
The AWBL also plans to host an All-Star break, complete with an All-Star game and a home-run derby. Organizers hope to attract plenty of community spectators to that event.
“We are striving to be the best while making it fun for everyone,” Wyatt said. “It may be a soft sport, but we play hard and encourage those that think they can hang to come test their mettle.”
For more information or to sign up for the Adamsville Wiffle Ball League, contact administrators via Facebook at: WBL Adamsville Wiffle Ball League 2011.