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First Wiffle Ball Bash deemed a blast

February 13, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO (news@breezenewspapers.com) , North Fort Myers Neighbor

Wiffle Ball lovers young and old gathered on the football field at the North Fort Myers Community Park this past weekend to play a game they might have enjoyed as a kid, or even currently enjoy.

More than 100 participants played in the inaugural Wiffle Ball Bash put on by the North Fort Myers Civic Association, which served as a fundraiser for the group, as the official start of Spring Training, which gets started this week, and as a way to pay tribute to those who brought youth baseball to the area almost 60 years ago.

Doug Dailey, president of the civic association and someone who played at Piney Field in the '70s, said the event was a largest fundraiser the civic association has ever had, raising an estimated $8,000 between entry fees and raffles.

Article Photos

North Fort Myers Civic Association president Doug Dailey delivers a pitch in the inaugural Wiffle Ball Bash at the North Fort Myers Community Park on Saturday.

CHUCK BALLARO

"I'm very pleased. This has turned into a nice event and the people playing have told me they're having a blast and can't wait until next year," Dailey said.

The 16 teams were placed in four divisions, with the teams in each division playing each other. The division winners returned Sunday for the championship round.

They played six-inning games or 45 minutes, whichever came first, with all counts starting at one ball and one strike to speed things up.

There were six fields. One was made to look like a replica of the old Little League field on Piney Road, Northside Stadium, which was home to the league from 1963 to the late 1970s, when Hancock (now Donaldson) Park was built.

It was there that some Piney Road Old-Timers played an exhibition game between the morning and afternoon sessions.

"I wanted to make sure we remember those who gave to the community. These guys were never recognized for what they did and they did a tremendous service to North Fort Myers," Dailey said. "When I became president, I wanted to make sure they got their just due."

Lenny LaForest, one of Doug's friends played for the Derby Dogs, which also brought some dachshunds as team mascots.

"For years we were talking about doing one of these. He had the civic association behind him and we did it," LaForest said. "The fields are nice the weather is great and the play has been competitive. I hope they do this every year."

Among the teams playing was the Hooter's girls, who brought three players to have a go at hitting and pitching. Hooters also paid to sponsor any of the children who wanted to play after going to Picture Day at the baseball field.

"We're always really good to the community, especially the kids. We sponsored a couple teams and are playing ourselves," said Tara Archer, promo team leader. "It should be entertaining. We're out here for fun. Let's put it that way."

 
 

 

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