Dueling Wiffle Ball tournaments unfold on Grand Rapids' West Side

You've probably heard of dueling pianos or dueling banjos -- but it's highly unlikely you've heard of a dueling Wiffle Ball tournament.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - You've probably heard of dueling pianos or dueling banjos.

But it's highly unlikely you've heard of dueling Wiffle Ball tournaments, until right now. Two houses on Grand Rapids' West Side -- a half mile apart -- turning their backyards into fields of dreams.

Let's break down some numbers first. There were a combined 40 teams between the two locations and a combined 200 participants. It's estimated that volunteers cooked a combined 1,000 hot dogs at both ballparks.

John and Kara Doyle have been hosting a West Side Wiffle Ball tournament in their backyard since they decided to build Hallow Park about a decade ago.

This year marks the eight consecutive year they've had the tournament.

It's called Hallow Park because the Doyle's backyard goes down a hill and levels out into a hallow, which is surrounded by woods.

"About a hundred kids participated in our Wiffle Ball tournament today," John Doyle said. "We changed things up for this year; the players at our house are 14-17 year olds, while a neighbor down the street, who also built a ball field in his backyard, is entertaining the 8-13 year olds."

Doyle is referring to his friend Mark Augustyn, who decided a little over a year ago that he wanted to build a wiffle ball stadium, too. With council from Doyle, Augustyn went to work, and earlier this year, Mission Field was born. Augustyn and Doyle agreed to split up the age groups and hold their tournaments on the same day, creating a giant Wiffle Ball extravaganza.

"We live a quarter mile apart," Augustyn said. "A total of 200 kids, 40 teams; I think it's safe to say that the west side of Grand Rapids is Wiffle Ball central for the world.

"Players and fans from the tournament at the Doyle's house have come over here to watch some of our action, and some of our players and fans have ventured over there; what a neat day."

Both of the wiffle ball tournaments are continuing at both locations until about 8 p.m. Wednesday.

If you have interest in checking out these unique ballparks, and the championship games, the addresses are provided below.

  • Hallow Park (14-17 year old Wiffle Ball tournament); 2637 Westwinde SW
  • Mission Field (9-13 year old Wiffle Ball tournament); 2212 Meadowdale NW

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