Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Wiffle ball tournament hits Oakland with a whack

    WhiffleAs people awoke from their slumber on February 6, William Johnson and a few other friends were setting up for the Second Annual West Oakland Co-Ed Slow Pitch Wiffle Ball Winter League Championship Series Picnic For Indoor Kids. 
    Focusing on the game between MLK Jr. Juniors and The East Bay Bats was a compelling competition. The Wiffle ball rules only allow three innings, but for this game it ended in five. 
    Both teams put equal efforts and by the third inning — it was tied 2–2. By the bottom of the fifth East Bay Bats were down 5–2.
    As Josh Freitas steps up to the plate he puts on his rally cap. He gets a solid hit down to center fielder Peter Brown, who fails to catch it. Freitas, approaches second base and Brown throws the ball straight at him, in a split second Freitas leans back — as he is slipping the ball flies right by him without a scratch! Safe! The Bats kept their rally going and ended up scoring four runs to win the match. The final score was 6–5.
    DrinkThe Wiffle ball tournament took place in West Oakland at Grove Shafter Dog Park, and was open to any member of the community. Upon arrival, you’d be surprised by the size of the crowd — 100 or so people spread out on the field, divided by team uniforms. Each team wore unique uniforms and caps. They casually practiced for the upcoming games as cars rushed past on the cement overpasses.
    Wiffle ball is something that organizer Johnson grew up playing with family and friends. He explains that his dad and siblings crafted their own rules to make the sport more inclusive. Since Johnson didn’t have the physical build in middle school to continue Little League baseball, he hung up his cleats and never looked back. “Wiffle ball was a Godsend to me in a way,” Johnson said, “something similar to baseball, but much more accessible to kids who weren’t exactly gifted with strength or speed.”
    From Johnson’s response, listeners can gauge this type of Wiffle ball is more community-based, focused on fostering an enjoyable environment for its players rather than the results of the game.
    Last year, 13 teams participated in the event, most of them including Johnson’s close friends. This year, the amount of teams ballooned to 20. Everyone came out to play the easy and stimulating game, which was originally designed for “indoor kids” who aren’t particularly involved in organized sports. 
    The field was small and the pitches slow, but competition was fierce for the 100-odd ball players.The special part about the tournament was that it brought people from the neighborhood together without any social obligations. There was a potluck available for the public to enjoy. Considering Grove Shafter Dog Park attracts the homeless, they were able to come out and watch. 
    Each team had the struggle of running from base-to-base from the muddy ground, but that didn’t stop anyone. Between games, players would lounge on their blankets, enjoying the weather.
    The final game came down to the “Burrito Express Babies” and “The First Order.” Everyone gathered to watch the thrilling game. In the bottom of the final inning, the score was 2–1, with the Burrito Express Babies in the lead.
    Tension was building as individuals stepped up to bat and as each pop fly was caught. After an extra inning and dramatic mud-slides, the Burrito Express Babies got their final run on an inside the park homerun. 
    TrophyMembers of the winning team stood tall in all white, some patches of grass and mud-stains marring their pristine uniforms, but not their glory.
    June Hong, the captain of the Burrito Express Babies, gladly took hold of the gold trophy and celebrated. “I was pretty psyched” said Hong. “We never played together as a team, but we showed up and had a good time.” 
    She said the most exciting moment was “when Max hit a home run; we said our strategy was just to hit homers.” 
    In the end, the indoor kids put their hearts into the game; dodging their adult commitments for one day. For Johnson, the game is special because, “Wiffle Ball can be embarrassing. That’s what it’s about, accepting that you’re embarrassing and it’s OK. That’s why it’s special.”
    Thank you William Johnson and to all the others that made this event possible.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
    Leave a Comment
    Donate to The Citizen
    $0
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Comments (0)

    All Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *