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Wiffle Ball tourney scores fundraising haul

By Staff | Feb 12, 2020

From left, Crushers Jimmy Cartright, Juan Madrigal, Dalton Stephenson, Chris Johnson and “R.J.” accept their first-place swag during the second-annual Wiffle Ball Bash at the North Fort Myers Community Park on Saturday. CHUCK BALLARO

The football field at the North Fort Myers Community Park on Saturday was filled with athletes armed with plastic bats, trying to hit a drastically curving ball to become the Wiffle Ball champs.

The North Fort Myers Civic Association presented its second-annual Wiffle Ball Bash, its way of celebrating the start of the baseball season coming up, and, although there were a couple fewer teams than last year, it made than made up for it with sponsors and raffle sales.

Doug Dailey, president of the civic association, said he expects to raise about $10,000 from this year’s event, up from the $8,500 the event raised in the inaugural event.

“Today was a beautiful day for a tournament. We had the field filled and people appreciated that it was only one day,” Dailey said. “It was a nice tournament and everyone had a good time.”

After last year’s two-day event was dropped to a single day, there were 14 teams on the field. The teams were placed in pools and played each other, with the top teams making the playoffs.

Again, the fields were named after the founding fathers of Piney Street Little League, with the replica of the scoreboard again on one of the fields.

In the playoffs, All-American Printing beat the Flyswatters 1-0, while the Crushers defeated the Piney Senators, the defending champions, 1-0 in nine innings.

Games were seven innings, with extra innings starting with the bases loaded with one out.

In the championship game, the Crushers, representing Titan Contracting and riding the arm of Juan “The Mouth” Madrigal, defeated All-American Printing 1-0 in eight innings.

“We came in second last year and we’re excited to be back this year fighting for first,” Madrigal said. “North Fort Myers is a small town and everybody talks about everything and that’s how we became involved.”

One of the things that will be considered for next year is how to encourage more scoring, as all the playoff games ended with 1-0 scores.

Another consideration will be how to allocate the money raised: as a 501c3 non-profit, civic donates the money it raises. Dailey said he hopes to use the money for a scholarship, which the civic board will iron out at Tuesday’s meeting.

All-American Printing was again the main sponsor.

“Every year it gets better and better. We need to get more people involved,” said Bruce Vanderveen of Sign-a-Rama and All-American. “Events like this gets people together and allowed us to meet new people in the community.”