The local newspaper in Ashland, Ohio, has chosen the annual Wifflefest event sponsored by Southview Grace Brethren Church (Mark Abel, pastor) as one of the five outstanding sports stories of the year in their area.
Wifflefest X scores a 10
T-G Staff Report
Ten years, six tournaments, 117 teams and more than 500 people.
It wasn’t your usual backyard wiffleball game.
Wifflefest, an annual tradition at Southview Grace Brethren Church, soared to heights previously unexplored with its decade installation last Fourth of July weekend.
The brainchild of Southview senior pastor Mark Abel and co-coordinator Zac Hess, Wifflefest X broke the 100-team barrier for the first time ever in 2009 after its largest contingent to date in 2008 at 95 teams.
Played on nine wiffleball fields replicated after Major League and college baseball stadiums, and in conjunction with BalloonFest, the event featured tournaments in elementary, junior high, high school, adult, family fun and family competitive divisions.
“I think this year we can safely say that 99 percent of the people that played had a great time,” Abel said. “People look like they’re having a good time. You hear them laughing, especially with those little kids, so you’re going to assume that they’re going to want to come back.”
Mark Cahill, a former Auburn University basketball player and author of two books, was the keynote speaker.
One wiffleball player, 21-year-old Ashland High School graduate Aaron Hawks, flew halfway around the world from Africa a week and a half early so he could make it in time for Wifflefest X.