Article published Aug 1, 2010
Wiffle Ballin' for a cause
Annual event at Rose Park is fundraiser for residential treatment facility for youth.
By KIM KILBRIDE Tribune Staff Writer
Braxton Metcalf of the US 12ers team bats in the Wiffle Ballin' for Kids event Saturday at Rose Park in Mishawaka. Tribune Photo/BARBARA ALLISON
MISHAWAKA -- Though they're only in their 20s, John Premetz and Nick Thoman have both been playing competitive whiffle ball nearly half their lives.
In fact, their team, Club Ripped, won the World Whiffleball Championship last year in Mishawaka.
On Saturday, they were vying for the designation again at Rose Park.
Premetz, who is from Warsaw, said his team is composed of a group of friends who've gone their separate ways, but come together every year to play in the event.
"It's just a good time for us all to get together," the 28-year-old said.The group tries to meet up two or three times each summer to hit, he said, and members always come out to the park the night before the tournament to practice.
The championship, which originated three decades ago in Mishawaka, has become a fundraiser -- called Wiffle Ballin' for Kids -- for The Children's Campus, an affiliate of Family and Children's Center.
Chad Miller, a division director at the organization, which is a residential treatment facility for youths, is the primary organizer.
Despite the rain Saturday morning, he said, all 47 competitive teams came out -- some from as far away as Georgia -- to participate.
Including the fun division, which takes place today, Miller expected 57 teams -- and more than 300 participants -- to play this weekend.Teams pay an entry fee, Miller said, and last year, the event raised about $8,000. The proceeds are used primarily for recreational activities for the youth at The Children's Campus, he said.
A fun division is taking place today. And the 28 teams that advanced from Saturday's play are competing for the world title.
As to whether participating is just for fun or something that's taken seriously, Premetz said it's a little of both.
"I'd say it's very competitive," he said, "but it's a competitive funness."
Staff writer Kim Kilbride: