When thinking about typical intramural sports, basketball, soccer and volleyball are definitely the most popular and the ones that come first to mind. While Lawrence offers those three, one of the newest additions to the docket is wiffleball. Usually considered a backyard game played between little kids, this sport has drawn a lot of attention from Lawrentians. “Out of all the sports the Intramural office offers, wiffleball has the most participants” commented Hiett Residence Hall Director and Intramurals Coordinator Kyle Griffin. “At the beginning of the year I looked at what other colleges offer and wiffleball was a reoccurring name. [Director of Wellness and Recreation] Erin Buenzli and I are very pleased with the turnout and it has been going pretty well so far.”
Played on Tuesday nights at the Buchanan-Kiewit Wellness Center, the basketball courts are set up like an indoor baseball dome. There are basepaths and a taped rectangular strike zone to a net behind home plate to determine balls and strikes. There are six fielders and the game includes all the other standard baseball/softball rules. For example, four balls equals a walk, and three strikes you’re out. The game lasts six innings or forty minutes, whichever occurs first. There is an umpire standing behind the pitcher to make safe/out calls on the basepaths. With the games indoors, the obstacles of walls and the ceiling add to the notion that no one knows what to expect. “Originally we wanted to have the games outdoors, but with spring sports in season and other conflicts during the day, playing in the gym is our best option. It hasn’t taken away from the competition and intensity,” added Griffin.
As the regular season concludes, the six teams in the league are looking to strut their stuff in the playoff tournament beginning on May 22. As of May 14, the two teams tied for first place are senior Peter Mohr-led Charlos and Friends, and Pup and Suds, led by the pitching of senior Tyler Crisman. Every team in the league has won at least one game and the playoffs look to be very nerve-wracking. As any baseball/softball fan knows, anything can happen in the playoffs. Pup and Suds shortstop sophomore Tom Antosz is excited to fight for the championship: “This league has been a lot of fun and I’m glad I got a team together to compete. Every game is close most of the time and there have been a lot of dramatic finishes. Every team in the league can legitimately make a run to the title.”
“The best part of wiffleball is that pretty much anyone can play. The number of participants speaks for itself,” concludeed Griffin.