As Stevie’s World of Wiffle Ball
celebrates its 20th anniversary, this year’s event is slated to be a Grand Slam.
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 over $20,000 to local Springfield charities serving the children of our community. Leep put down the yellow bat and wiffle ball in 1996 to focus on his growing family. With the help and support from his son Steve, the tournament returned, in 2014.
In addition to the tournament, members of The Sandlot movie cast will make an appearance from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept 22, at the COhatch Springfield
. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the movie.
Leep was able to secure Shane Obedzinksi, known as “Tommy Repeat Timmons” in the movie.
“I was telling him about the tournament, and he said, ‘You’ve got my attention. I’m coming!’,” Leep recalled.
Obedzinski was able to get four additional cast members on board for the Wiffle Ball event, including: “Scotty Smalls” (Tom Guiry), “DeNunez” (Brandon Adams), “Timmy Timmons” (Victor DiMattia), and “Bertram Weeks” (Grant Gelt).
Fans will be able to purchase merch at the COhatch autograph event
, and the proceeds will support Stevie’s World of Wiffle Ball.
Merch includes a limited edition 18-inches long mini-baseball bat that features a laser engraved design made specifically for the tournament, The Sandlot movie posters, and special movie stills. All merch items purchased at the event are able to be autographed by The Sandlot stars.
To secure a mini-bat - and get it at a pre-sale price, visit www.steviesworld.org/
Stevie’s World of Wiffleball returns to the “Field of Dreams” - 4945 Derr Road in Springfield - on Saturday, September 23. “The Sandlot” charity tournament begins with the first pitch at 9 a.m.
Leep says the tournament is known for creating wiffleball fields that resemble The Green Monster at Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, and the old Cincinnati Reds Crosley Field. New this year will be the Topps Baseball Card field featuring professional baseball players from Springfield, and a new Dayton Dragon scoreboard.
Patrons can enjoy food trucks, a virtual reality bus, bounce houses and a more casual version of America’s favorite past time all while supporting local charities and families in need.
Raffle items will also include autographed Sandlot movie memorabilia.
Stevie’s World of Wiffleball is a non-profit organization with many local businesses donating money, supplies, food, and other goods, as well as time and service, to
ensure its existence.
The 2022 event brought in around $30,000 Leep says, and this year the organization stands to knock it out of the park with fundraising.
“We have already exceeded the most we have ever raised already this year,” says Leep. “We have passed our threshold and we are still collecting; that’s a good thing!”
Through the support of many event sponsors, Stevie’s World of Wiffleball boasts a unique wiffle ball experience and is rapidly becoming an integral part of the Springfield community, as it rallies the people to support one another, and encourages active participation in an outdoor activity.
Leep says Stevie’s World of Wiffleball goes above and beyond to make the weekend a family friendly, engaging, and uplifting event that the entire community can enjoy.
The organization strives to play a small role in bettering Springfield as a community, as well as continuously encouraging individuals to do for others as
they would themselves.
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