ASHLAND, Ky. – Scott Busch and Zach Greene have been playing in the Amy For Africa Wiffleball since before they were teenagers.
They both carried Home Run Derby champion titles but until Saturday had never taken home the big team trophy despite playing nearly every summer since the tournament started in 2013.
Now they own that too.
Busch’s Greene Beans defeated Viller’s Victors, 9-2, in a championship game that lacked some drama – even with one controversial call – but was still sweet for the Beans who jumped ahead 6-0 in the first inning. The four-man team also included Evan Dickison and Cameron Marushi, who may have well been the tournament MVP.
Zach Greene said it was a matter of “getting rid of some dead weight” that was holding down the team. It was a Smooth answer from the veteran player.
Viller’s Victors included Cole Villers and Colin Porter, the dynamic duo for Ashland Tomcat basketball the past two years, and former Tomcat Chase Villers (Cole’s big brother) and Greenup County standout Zane Carter. Viller’s Victors may well have been the most athletic of the 32 teams participating, running down wiffleballs all day long.
They were told before the first game from tournament organizers they were not allowed to dive for any wiffleballs. “Please don’t take any chance that may injure you,” said organizer Mark Maynard. “We want to keep the reputation of the AFA Wiffleball Tournament unstained. If either of you get hurt playing wiffleball, our name will be mud around Ashland.”
Fortunately, neither was injured although they played 100 percent (what else would you expect?) and celebrated each win like it was a Sweet 16 game.
An estimated 300 home runs were blasted out of the two replica fields – the Fenway Park field and the Camden Yard field – on a perfect day for wiffleball.
Viller’s Victors outlasted the Kona Krushers, 11-8, in the semifinals while Busch’s Green Beans needed a big last inning to defeat the One-Hit Wonders, 10-9.
During the pulsating semifinal game, with a good crowd watching, Cole Villers was heard before batting in the last inning, “I’ve never been more nervous during a sporting event.”
AFA Wiffleball will do that to you.
Busch captured his second AFA Home Run Derby crown, edging Marushi in the championship round by blasting five home runs on six pitches. Marushi had four home runs.
The biggest winner was Amy For Africa, which brought in more than $2,000 in donations from the tournament. PRAISE GOD!!!
Next year’s tournament will be July 30. Please mark your calendars now!
AFA TOURNAMENT AWARDS
ROOKIES OF THE YEAR: (tie) Viller’s Victors, All the King’s Men and Lawrence County Long Knockers. (We hope they all come back next year!)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: (tie) Shane Marushi, a home run masher who pounded some monster shots. Not even our own Green Monstah could hold him, and teammate Evan Dickison who abused the short right field fence on the Camden Yard field.
ESPN TOP DEFENSIVE PLAY: Rex Trimble, who laid out for a catch for the Big Blue Bombers that had the place buzzing.
BEST PARTICIPATING CHURCH: New Faith Fellowship which sponsored three Muzungu teams.
BEST CROWD: Faith Baptist Church brought about 25 people in matching jerseys to cheer on the Faith Fury.
OLD-TIMERS AWARD: (tie) Greg Jackson of the Jackson Four, Duane Porter of Get A Wiff of This and Rex Trimble of Big Blue Bombers.
ROOKIE PLAYER AWARD: (tie) Brooks Wyatt of Mark’s Mighty Men and Griffin Brammell of Griffin’s Greats
WELP AWARD: (tie) Chase Villers of Viller’s Victors and Syndey Whitt of Get A Wiff of This after taking line shots that left a mark on them.
HUMAN MEGAPHONE AWARD: Chuck Williams, whose voice could be heard over the music blaring across both fields. He was “instructing” New Faith Fellowship teams and others from a comfortable chair on the sidelines. Williams was heard more than seen.