Annual Wiffle Ball Event Invades Greenwich Polo Grounds
By Evan Triantafilidis
For the eighth year in a row, residents from Greenwich and the surrounding area took part in the town’s annual Wiffle Ball Tournament, played at the Greenwich Polo Club last Saturday.
A total of 64 teams competed in the all-day tournament Saturday, a week after the event was postponed due to rain. Sponsored by the Greenwich United Way and the Greenwich Police Department’s Silver Shield Association, the tournament drew teams of all ages and has grown into a Greenwich summer tradition.
This year, it was Attractive Male Specimens that took home the Wiffle Ball championships. Missels placed second and the Phoenix Mercury netted the bronze medal.
“The Wiffle Ball Tournament was born out of what is now coined as ‘Wifflegate,’” Erin Montague, the event chair, explained. “Eight years ago in Riverside, there was a drainage lot on Riverside Lane where a bunch of teenagers made a space for themselves to play Wiffle Ball over the summer, and because it was a drainage lot by the town, it was unsafe for the kids to play on it.
“The town had to take down the field that they had built, and this tournament was born from that experience to kind of help the kids become a part of the solution, partner with town officials and raise funds to create a permanent structure in town where they can play.”
Montague, known as the “Wiffle Queen” by her peers, says that the tournament has been a hit since its inaugural year and now has a chance to fund a field of its own in Greenwich.
“Last year we secured enough funds to build a permanent structure, and the town’s RTM approved it in the Fall,” Montague said. “So, the order is in and the product is being put together right now, and hopefully we’ll be putting the field up by August in Byram Park.”
The polo grounds were divided into 16 active playing fields that measured 90-feet down each foul line. The teams competing were groups of four players each, separated into four different divisions, playing five-inning games until a winner was crowned.
Divisions were separated into an A division, an under-18 division, an all-girls division and a family division.
Teams such as “Prestige Worldwide,” “Team Doom” and “Cracka Jack Wiffle” took the fields, each with their own strike zone, field outlines, and classic yellow Wiffle bat.
A team comprised of Ridgefield teens, “Cracka Jack Wiffle,” says that the competition has gotten better over the years and that the tournament is one of the best in the area.
When not playing a scrimmage or tournament game, teams would either sit under a tent with refreshments or sit in the shade of the trees. Certain teams, such as “Team Doom,” Montague noted, were excellent at remaining relaxed throughout the day.
“Team Doom, which has won the past couple of years, are four gentlemen out of Massachusetts, and they travel all over the country playing Wiffle Ball,” Montague said. “They told me that because of the community partnership, this tournament is one of the best they go to around the country.”
Participants were well fed for the day, thanks to catering service from Garden Catering and Upper Crust Bagel Company. The Greenwich Police Department served as co-event directors.
Even though all players were winners for the day-long tournament, cash prizes included $1,600 for the first place team, $800 for second place, $400 for third and $100 for fourth.