FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Halloween is coming early at the World Baseball Academy.
The undead have a bit of life on their pitches, the Average Joes are making some above-average plays, and you’ve got The Bat swinging a bat.
Caleb Kimmel with the WBA says win or lose, all these teams are here sharing a common goal.
"World Baseball Academy, our at-risk programs have been growing, and so we were looking at other themes and other events we could do to raise some more funds, and we thought, ‘Why not do wiffle ball here at the ASH Centre in the Halloween theme?’ And we just thought this is a fun set of variables to bring community leaders together and do something fun for Fort Wayne," Kimmel said.
Adam Dager with All-American Stores agreed completely.
He’s a lead sponsor of the First Annual WBA Wiffle Ball Spooktacular.
He’s competing on one of the three teams he’s brought to the event.
"They mentioned this wiffle ball event. They were like, ‘We’re just bouncing this idea.’ I’m like, ‘We’re doing it.’ They didn’t even tell me a price at that point in time. I’m like, ‘We gotta do it. Wiffle ball, and for at-risk and special needs children, absolutely. Let’s do this,’" said Dager.
The rain moved the wiffle ball tournament indoors, but nothing could ruin the spirits of the 14 teams who stepped up to the plate with their fundraising.
"I can go out here and act a fool, go in relaxed, and just focus on, keep my eyes on the prize - and that’s what I plan to do today - which is [helping] at-risk children and [hitting] home runs," Dager said.
While Dager, his teammates and his competitors are all swinging for the fences - or in this case, wall - the statline they’re proudest of is the $30,000 going towards WBA's On Deck Initiative.
"The World Baseball Academy coming up, we’re doing an array of services for at-risk youth," Kimmel said. "We have STEM education, we have adaptive services, we’re doing a Badges for Baseball program with the Boys and Girls Club, and then we do year-round mentoring. So this 30,000 today helps fuel and fund those programs for kids in our community."
So as teams of all ages and outfits are having fun teeing off on each other on this day, the real impact of their swings will be on the kids they can help for years to come.
Dager says he hopes events like these can also help raise awareness for the World Baseball Academy and the work they do throughout the Fort Wayne community.