In 2010, the Hometown Cup was commissioned and The Wiffle®Ball Championship rose to a new level. Before the calendar turns to a new decade, we’ll highlight the best of the 2010s.
1,388 games were played in New Carlisle over the past decade, and we’re going to attempt to highlight the 10 greatest games over that time frame.
1. Son of a Pitch 3, White Lightning 2 (F/8)
July 31, 2016
Hometown Cup Finals - Semifinal
After years of considering it, wiffleball veteran Eric Nolan finally made the trek up US-31 from Indianapolis to play at The Wiffle®Ball Championship in 2016. Nolan’s squad, Son of a Pitch, announced their arrival on Saturday with a dominant +93 run differential in pool play. They marched through the Bourissa Hills Regional as the top overall seed to meet the White Lightning in the Hometown Cup Finals at Migley Field.
The White Lightning were also 7-0 on the weekend and were looking to break through in a big way on Wiffle®Ball’s Grandest Stage. The Lightning struck first as Jasen Webb led off the game with a line drive home run to left. Later in the inning, Bailey Rhed singled home Doug Benner to make it 2-0.
Son of a Pitch got one back in the second when an RBI single from Nolan cut the deficit in half. After that, a northerly wind at Migley picked up considerably as the game wore on, making runs hard to come by. The game went scoreless for the next three and a half innings, as both teams made incredible defensive plays to save runs.
But in the bottom of the sixth, the normally sure-handed Lightning defense faltered, allowing Matt Street to score and tie it up. A huge double play by Benner prevented Son of a Pitch from walking it off in regulation. Benner scooped up a come-backer to the mound and pegged Nolan sliding into third to quiet a rally.
The game went into extras, with neither team scoring in the seventh. After another quick inning by the White Lightning in the eighth, the constant traffic on the base paths for Son of a Pitch finally paid off. With one out and runners on the corners, Nolan hit a ground ball down the third base line to score Tyler Douthitt and send Son of a Pitch to the title game.
2. Taco Punchers 18, Cult West Warriors 17
July 29, 2012
Hometown Cup Finals - Semifinal
Prior to the Cult West dynasty, the Warriors made their first appearance at the Hometown Cup Finals in 2012. They met ORWBL legends Jared Emmons and Denis Jedrysek in the semifinals for a ballgame that became one of the all-time greatest in The Championship's history. One year after relinquishing the rights to the Pterodactyls name, it was a whirlwind weekend for Emmons.
Using the name "Taco Punchers," Emmons and Jedrysek entered the tournament with hopes of finishing the job from 2009, when they advanced to The Wiffle®Ball Championship Game but ultimately fell to Speedy's Chickenheads. However, things were derailed quickly as their original roster did not show up on Saturday morning. Needing to pick up some free agents in order to just participate in pool play, they found Emery's Army reserves Cody Jackson and Kyle Johnson wandering around the complex during registration time.
Nothing could sum up the wild weekend quite like the win over the Warriors. Cult West hit 14 homers in the game, but it wasn't enough. Trailing by four heading into the bottom of the sixth, the Taco Punchers rallied for a five-run inning, capped by a three-run walk-off home run by Jedrysek.
3. Speedy’s Chickenheads 3, Great Lakes Godfathers 2 (F/8)
July 30, 2017
NCBCA Field (Now X-Factor Field)
As Migley Field has grown into the destination every team in wiffleball dreams of reaching, The Championship has redefined the final four of a tournament. Advancing to the Hometown Cup Finals has become a major accomplishment in its own right. As a result, some of the most intense games of the weekend occur in the Elite Eight round with a trip to Wiffle®Ball’s Grandest Stage on the line. There was no greater example of this than the 2017 matchup between Speedy’s Chickenheads and the Great Lakes Godfathers. All hell broke loose in the Olive Township Regional as Speedy’s upset Granger, while The Godfathers took out the second overall seed White Lightning. The game marked the birth of Matadorville, as a huge crowd gathered outside NCBCA Field to see who would punch the final ticket to Migley. While most in attendance were pulling for Matador Smith and the Fathers, the crafty vets from Diamond Lake pulled it out. The game went eight innings with Speedy’s coming out on top, 3-2.
4. Clutch Players 15, New Carlisle Newts 14
July 27, 2014
Hometown Cup Finals - Semifinal
In a two-year span, these teams met in a tournament semifinal five different times, including splitting meetings at The Championship in 2014 and 2015. The best of the rivalry was the first meeting at the Hometown Cup Finals in 2014. The Clutch Players were making their second trip to Migley in just their second appearance at The Championship. On the other hand, the New Carlisle Newts found their home ballpark for the first time since 2008.
It was a back and forth battle throughout the game, with the Clutch Players taking a 10-9 lead in the bottom of the fourth. A severe thunderstorm rolled into Migleyville causing a brief rain delay during the Clutch rally. The stoppage didn’t slow them down as they built up a 15-9 lead.
The Newts battled back over the next two innings, cutting the deficit to just one in the sixth inning. With only one out and Garrett Curless and Koby Keck on the corners, Noah Shail hit a deep fly ball that almost gave the Newts the lead. The ball was caught at the fence by Tommy Sinkiewicz and as Curless was crossing home plate to tie up the game on a sacrifice fly, the throw from Sinkiewicz bounced up and hit his back foot for a double play to end it.
5. Woo Crew 11, Maple City Purple 9
July 27, 2019
The Palace of Bourissa Hills
The roars from The Palace of Bourissa Hills on Saturday of The Championship have been likened to those of the back nine at Augusta National. With Tent City enclosing the outfield, you can’t find a better atmosphere for a pool play game than the birthplace of New Carlisle wiffleball. When the Woo Crew and Maple City Purple met in 2019, there was plenty of noise coming from the corner of Ada and Meridian.
Maple City built a 9-2 lead after four innings of play and were up 9-3 with two outs in the fifth. And then that limousine-ridin', jet-flyin', kiss stealin', wheelin' dealin', son-of-a-gun Jimmy Tumpane began strutting around the field as the Woo Crew mounted their comeback. The Woo Crew scored four runs with two outs to cut the lead to 9-7 heading into the bottom of the fifth.
In the bottom half, Maple City had a chance to pad their lead, but Jeff Spokas robbed a potential two-run homer to end the inning. The Crew used that momentum to put up another four in the sixth to take an 11-9 advantage that they would not relinquish. As strains of Also sprach Zarathustra emanated from The Palace, “woo’s“ echoed throughout the complex as teams from other fields joined in on the celebration.
6. Cult West Warriors 7, Maple City Magic 6
July 30, 2017
The Wiffle®Ball Championship Game
The only Wiffle®Ball Championship Game to make the list, the 2017 title game was the first one-run finale since the legendary 29-28 extra-innings affair in 2008. Dominant Sunday performances by Cult West defined the decade, so tight championship games have been a rarity. The Warriors won their first two Cups by scores of 23-9 and 22-5 respectively and had routinely blown out some of the best teams in the game at Migley Field.
Aiming for their fourth title in five years, Cult West squared off with the Maple City Magic. The Magic answered a pair of first inning Warrior runs with three of their own to take a 3-2 lead into the second inning. Cult West matched it with three more in the second and sat in the driver’s seat the rest of the contest, eventually building a 7-3 advantage.
The Magic were able to cut the deficit to one by the sixth. Caleb Jonkman reached base with two outs to bring the potential winning run Zach Liberatore up to the plate. However, Liberatore flew out to Warriors captain Scott Soos in left field to end it.
As “Get Down Tonight” by KC and the Sunshine Band blared throughout Migleyville, the Jellysticks jokes were officially laid to rest.
7. New Carlisle Newts 2, Maple City Magic 1
July 31, 2016
Hometown Cup Finals - Semifinal
The New Carlisle Newts have squared off with a Maple City team at The Championship in seven of the last nine years. It has been one of the most often played match-ups in the history of the tournament, with New Carlisle holding a 6-1 advantage. Five of those meetings have been one-run games, including the 2016 semifinal game of the Hometown Cup Finals.
With the wind howling in at Migley Field, it was a tense six innings as it seemed like one run would be enough to advance to the title game. The Newts left a runner on base in every inning except the third, but were unable to find the clutch hit against Magic ace Shane Anderson through the first five frames. The Magic were held silent as well, with Garrett Curless allowing just two hits through four.
Maple City drew first blood in the bottom of the fifth. Drew Luther led off with a single and advanced to second on a Zach Liberatore ground out. John Arndt followed with a single to right to score Luther. Anderson singled, and the Magic were prepared to break the game open with two on and one out. But Curless slammed the door on the rally, getting Alex Friedman to pop out to the catcher and inducing a fly out to right by Luther.
Left for dead, the Newts came back in the sixth. Curless got things started, pounding a base hit down the left field line and taking an extra base on an errant throw back to the pitcher. Noah Shail tied it up with a triple off the vines in right. Fly balls by Ryan Galiher and Koby Keck weren’t deep enough to score Shail from third, which left it up to Curless with two outs. Curless drove one off the fence to give the Newts a 2-1 lead and got the Friendly Confines buzzing again.
In the bottom half, Anderson tried to start a two-out rally for the Magic with a single. But Curless was able to scoop up a ground ball back to him for the final out to send the Newts back to the finals.
8. The Muffs 8, Lou Brock 7
July 28, 2012
What if I told you two teams from the same pool would reach Migley, but it was another team that went 4-0 and won the division? That’s exactly what happened at The Championship in 2012. Over the years, The Muffs have played quite possibly the toughest schedule of any team in the tournament. In 2012, they beat Lou Brock and Cult West, who both advanced to the Hometown Cup Finals. Both games were one-run classics, especially the win over eventual champion Lou Brock.
The Muffs held the lead until a six-run fifth by Lou Brock. The Muffs roared back with three in the bottom of the sixth, capped by a Seth Shail walk-off homer.
9. Habeas Corpus 9, B-Slugs 8
July 28, 2013
Brandon Hora Field
With Kevin May acting as a pseudo-captain and as the team’s legal defense, Emery’s Army entered the 2013 Championship under the name Habeas Corpus to appeal their Sunday ban. A 4-0 pool play day earned the squad a bye, and more importantly an extra hour of sleep. For the first time in three years, they arrived on Sunday ready to play. They battled it out in a one-run classic against Adam Rehlander and the B-Slugs.
It was a wiffleball the way the game was meant to be played, and it propelled Habeas Corpus on their path to Migley.
10. Old Men 21, Looney Wifflers 20
July 24, 2010
Center Field (now Champions Field)
The modern era of The Championship began in 2010 when, for the first time, the Mishawaka tournament was held on a different weekend. This brought the long-awaited Hometown Days debut of John Arndt. At that time, Arndt had already won three times at the Friday night Home Run Derby, but would head east on Saturday and Sunday to play in the other tournament.
The Looney Wifflers had a pool play slugfest for the ages against the Old Men, the forerunners of the 2012 Champions Lou Brock, led by another wiffle legend Kerry Snyder. While a complete account of the game is lost to history, we know with those two teams the homers were flying out of the yard left and right. And yes, they probably ran out every single one of them.