THE ANGELS won the 13 and over Division of the Wakefield Jimmy Fund wiffle ball tournament.
WAKEFIELD — Wakefield youth baseball teams and generous Wakefield residents have a long history of raising thousands of dollars each summer for the Jimmy Fund, an important organization which helps children with cancer. Popular ways to promote the Jimmy Fund’s cause in Wakefield have included arranging lemonade and popcorn stands, selling raffle tickets at the Wakefield Farmer’s Market and conducting wiffle ball home run derbies at Fernald Field.
Given the backyard wiffle ball leagues popping up around town this past summer, a Wakefield group decided to organize a charity wiffle ball tournament, which ended up being “a hit” that raised $3,300 for the Jimmy Fund.
The wiffle ball tournament was held on Aug. 24 and 25 at the Doyle School in Wakefield, where two games were often going on at once: a younger group, ages 12 and under and an older group, ages 13 and over. Ten teams, with players ages 10 to 50, competed in a double-elimination match and contributed $50 per team to help kids with cancer.
There were hot dogs, chips, team jerseys and lots of spirit and fun. A team from Malden Catholic even had matching shirts and bandanas with slogans handwritten on the shirts and customized songs for each player who approached the plate. Shouts of excitement could be heard on both fields when someone made an impressive catch, struck out a batter in a key position, hit a home run over the fence, or finished off with a big win.
The younger age group’s tournament ended on a walk-off home run hit by James Maloney. Trophies were then given to Patrick Maloney, James Maloney, Colin Campbell, Rory Campbell and Jack Reboulet, all members of the Braves little league team who played with their team jerseys on. Marty Nugai was on the opposing team in the championship and hit a couple of home runs in the tournament himself. His teammates were Rhys Dhingra, Daniel Curran, Tighe Salsman and Chase Kaufman.
Marty said about his experience during the tournament, “What’s better than wiffle ball with your friends after the baseball season has ended? It was a blast! Even though we lost, it was for the Jimmy Fund and that’s cool.”
The older division wrapped up with an extra innings thriller. Dylan McDermott robbed Marc Gagne of a home run, then Jack Millward hit a two-run bomb to give his and Dylan’s team the win. Their teammate, Will Robertson, had hit a 3-run homer in the game before and teammates Nik Dhingra and Ryan Millward provided some expert pitching and timely hitting.
The tournament would not have been possible without the many individuals who donated their time and money, especially umpires Ralph D’Alleva, Ty Bramer and Vivek Dhingra, photographer Michael Labieniec, grill master John Kingsley and Marc Trachtenberg who contributed $2500!
An added bonus was the amount of money raised by 10-year-old Brody Kingsley, who collected redeemable cans throughout the summer and at the tournament. When asked about his hard work for the Jimmy Fund, Brody said, “I wanted to raise money for the Jimmy Fund because I want kids to live as happy and healthy as they can. It’s a great accomplishment to raise so much money. I raised $183.20. I hope next year we can do the wiffle ball tournament again and collect more redeemables for an even larger donation.”
Overall, the tournament was a success and was even mentioned by a WEEI sports radio host during the station’s Jimmy Fund telethon. People are already lining up teams for next year!