BY KYLE BRENNAN
PROSPECT — What started as a pandemic-relieving diversion two summers ago is now an annual tradition in a tight Prospect neighborhood.
The Coachlight Wiffle League recently concluded its third season that marked the continuation of its expansion into one of the most publicized Wiffle Ball leagues you’ll find.
Zach Powanda, who operates the league’s Instagram account, @cwl.wiffle, said the league has blossomed from having eight players on four teams in 2020 to about 30 players on six teams this summer.
“Over the last few years, it has been incredible to see the amount of community support we have gotten and the amount of people who have taken an interest in playing, which is ultimately why the league has grown,” Powanda said. “We love getting new people involved every year because it shows the influence the league has is spreading throughout the community.”
The league boasts a healthy list of sponsors, which are displayed on banners on the outfield fence at the Coachlight Circle field. Prospect Mayor Bob Chatfield was also on hand to help throw the ceremonial first pitch on the league’s opening day on May 22.
Demand for the league was so high this year that it expanded to a six-team, two-division format. The Coachlight Capybaras, the Coachlight Catholics and the Coachlight Cardinals competed in the Coachlight League, while the Prospect Penguins, the Prospect Prawns, and the Prospect Paisans competed in the Prospect League.
In addition to posting video highlights of each game on Instagram and YouTube, the league also continued to develop in a way similarly to professional baseball — seeking to increase its offense after dominant pitching subdued scoring.
“The competition has gotten really good over the years, and the players are getting better,” Powanda said. “However, because a lot of the league did want to see more hits and more runs scored, there was a [pitch] speed limit implemented this year. This gave an opportunity for more players to get hits and get on base, which created a more exciting environment for the players and fans.”
Yes, that meant the acquisition of a radar gun.
“It did return some questionable readings,” Powanda admitted, “but it did the job.”
The league recently completed its playoffs and was set to show highlights of its World Series games on its YouTube channel.
Although it gets a little more difficult to schedule games toward the end of the summer as some players head back to college, Powanda said the league still has a bright future ahead.
“There will be a league next year,” he said.
BY KYLE BRENNAN