Wiffleball tournament supports local families

Take your family and friends out to the ballpark; take them out to the games! Enjoy food trucks, bounce houses and – a more casual version – of America’s favorite past time all while supporting local charities and families in need.

Stevie’s World of Wiffleball returns to the “Field of Dreams” - 4945 Derr Road in Springfield - on Saturday, Oct. 1. “The Sandlot” charity tournament begins with the first pitch at 9 a.m.

In 1984 Springfield native, John Leep, began “Stevie’s World of Wiffleball” with the desire to share his passion for America’s pastime with his newborn son, tournament namesake, Steven Leep.

For 12 years, the tournament endured, donating more than $20,000 to local Springfield charities serving children from our community. Leep put down the yellow bat and wiffleball in 1996 to focus on his growing family, and after an almost 17-year hiatus, with the help and support of his son Steve, the tournament returned in 2014. 

“We typically raise somewhere between $25,000 and $30,000 each year,” says Steve Leep. “We have raised over $150,000 to date.”

Leep says the tournament is known for creating wiffleball fields that resemble The Green Monster at Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and the former Cincinnati Reds Crosley Field. 

“This year’s theme is based off the movie ‘The Sandlot,’ complete with an English Mastiff dog and even a homemade ball retriever,” he says. “We are adding a Sandlot-themed field dubbed with this famous distinction as we continue to grow and attract more participants each year.”
A Home Run Derby will be held the evening prior to the tournament for those who would like to participate.

“It’s another way for people to be involved who may not be able to be here on the day of the tournament,” says John Leep.

Stevie’s World of Wiffleball is a non-profit organization with many community businesses donating money, supplies, food, and other goods, as well as time and service, to ensure its existence.

Through the support of many event sponsors, Stevie’s World of Wiffleball boasts a unique experience and has grown to become an integral part of the Springfield community, as it rallies people to support one another and encourages active participation in an outdoor activity.

​“This tournament is much more than a weekend of relieving the euphoric bliss of a backyard childhood game. This tournament is a means of cherishing family, cherishing friends, cherishing memories of times spent as a child, and wanting my own children, as well as the children of the Springfield community, to cherish a special memory of gripping that plastic yellow bat, focusing on that white ball floating to the plate, and knowing the joy that comes when they both connect,”
says founder John Leep. “That moment - that special connection - that is what makes Stevie’s World of Wiffleball much more than just a game.”

The 501c3 organization strives to play a small role in bettering the community of Springfield where there is a “field of dreams,” as well as continuously encouraging people to do for others as they would themselves.  

​Steven Leep says his father says it best: “Together, we make this weekend about much more than wiffleball; we make this weekend about sharing our own love of the game, the joy that it brings us, the memories that we cherish from it, and most importantly, ensuring that the legacy of wiffleball continues to inspire and bond our community’s greatest generation - its youth.”
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Read more articles by Darci Jordan.