Inaugural Zachary Siegfried Wiffle Ball Tournament 2011 was a huge success!
Pastor Mike and Pastor Jake of the Port Orange Church of the Nazarene were planning a tournament for church members and families from the AAU team that Pastor Mike’s son, Christian, plays on in South Daytona. On May 5, 2011, “Ball Parks 4 Him” was honored when we asked to host the tournament. We started praying, then took off running.
In just five short weeks, with our enduring faith, the local community donated over $4,000 in raffle items. We received everything from an iPod Touch, dinner certificates, paddle boarding to a 2 night stay at Perry’s Ocean Resort. These are only a few of the many generously donated items that were received.
The morning started off at 8:00am by signing teams up for the tournament, while enjoying donated Krispy Kream Doughnuts and coffee from Christopher Bean Coffee. I welcomed everyone and gave testimony as to how God is working in our lives. Pastor Jake gave the days prayer, followed by Sophia Paterno-Pepper (just 11 years of age) as she captured everyone’s attention singing the National Anthem. While Pastor Jake gave the rules of the game, Pastor Mike set the brackets for the day. In just 30 short minutes, we were ready to play some serious wiffle ball on the two fields that were constructed just for the tournament.
While under the carport calling out raffle items every few minutes, it was unbelievable to see the amount of merchandise that was graciously donated. With the mic in my hand, I had a beautiful view of the entire event. Although, next year I would like to be able to spend more time with everyone that attends. Kids of all ages, as well as a couple of adults, enjoyed the donated bounce houses and rock climbing wall. So many smiles were on the little ones faces when Giggle the Clown came. Cathy, Giggle’s assistant, painted faces with baseballs, Spider Man and princesses. The Daytona Cubs brought Cubby for a visit. We had to remind Pastor Jake that Cubby was here to visit with everyone. Pastor Jake has been a huge Cubs fan since he was a young boy. The sun was bright and the breeze was slow, but the donated Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen kept everyone from getting sun burned.
Everyone took a cooling lunch break in the church sanctuary. Lunch was provided by Gaff’s Meat Market, Porky’s Bar-B-Q and Frito Lays. Pepsi and Coke both donated drinks to keep everyone hydrated. As I walked into the sanctuary, it took my breath away. Every table was full with family, friends and the community coming together eating and enjoying each others company.
There were several highlights on this day:
First and foremost, the smile on Kyle’s face as he enjoyed the day that was in honor of his twin brother Zachary. It has been over 21 months since I have seen that precious smile.
As I looked out over the field, I saw CheyeAnne Compton playing in the tournament. CheyeAnne has been drafted to play on a USA team in Germany this summer. CheyeAnne currently plays on the 97 Blazers for Coach Vince Crandall. “Ball Parks 4 Him” was proud to assist CheyeAnne with a portion of her financial needs to play travel ball this season. CheyeAnne is one of several youth/children that we have been able to help through our charitable foundation.
The wiffle ball tournament was comprised of 14 teams and over 80 players. Teams filled their rosters with players of various ages ranging from 9 to 60. The day’s games were organized into a two game round robin pool play, followed by a seeded single elimination tournament. Competition was well balanced and most teams found it surprisingly challenging to pitch and/or hit a regulation wiffle ball. After the morning games, most teams were 1-1 and just beginning to figure out the particulars of this unique game. By the afternoon, four teams settled into the final four: The #5 seed “Team Orange” led by Port Orange Nazarene’s Sr. Pastor, Mike Walzak vs. the #1 seed “Red Blazers” who were carried by several parents of the AAU Blazers softball team; and the #3 seeded “Sultan of Swat” comprised of the Nazarene’s youth group and leaders vs. #2 seed “Bombers” motivated by the inspirational Jimmy Lucas.
When the dust settled, Team Orange had rallied back from being no hit earlier in the day to facing the “Bombers” in the championship game. This competition was no easy contest as both teams comprised of adults and children battled to become the Inaugural Zachary Siegfried Wiffle Ball Tournament Champions. In the end, there would only be one winning team. Jimmy Lucas and squad rose to meet the challenge to be named Wiffle Ball Champions!
For the 13 other teams that looked upon Team Bombers hoisting the trophy, we will see you and many more next year as we compete in friendly competition for the 2nd annual Zachary Siegfried Wiffle Ball Tournament Championship!This day was complete when I awarded Little Jimmy Lucas with the championship trophy and put the medal around his neck. It was only 21 month’s ago at this same church, Little Jimmy put one of his medals around my neck to honor his friend, Zachary. This was Zachary’s memorial service and the first time we attended a service in this church. I believe this is a confirmation that our family is on the right path in this journey we call life.
I want to praise God that everyone enjoyed a fun, free day. Everyone said how much fun they were having and it didn’t matter if they were winning or not. They were meeting new friends, laughing and having fun.
Have a blessed day,