Wiffle League has ex-Mikes in key roles

Sunday, February 17, 1991

By George O'Gorman- Trentonian

Mike Palinczar and Fred Bastedo, a pair of Trenton teenagers, are commissioners of a new sports league.

They have obtained a franchise from the World Wiffle®Ball Association to start a Central Jersey Wiffle®Ball league.

Wiffle®Ball is a form of baseball played with hollow plastic bats and balls. In this association, they have five-player rosters in which two play at a time.

Palinczar and Bastedo, along with their former McCorristin High classmates Chris Russell, Brian Russo and Matt Brophy, participated in last August's WWBA World Series in Boston, finishing 10th.

Palinczar 19, from South Trenton, played baseball for McCorristin and the Trenton Schroths and is now playing for Trenton State College. Bastedo is a McCorrisitin High graduate now attending TSC.

They plan for a 20-team league which will start up in June with all the games being played at the Chestnut Park field they've refurbished in South Trenton.

The top four teams from Central Jersey will qualify for the state tournament, which feeds to the World Series in Boston. The championship team wins $10,000.

It was a tremendous experience playing there last August,” said Palinczar. “They had a field set up like Fenway Park, even including a Green Monster, 15-foot wall in left field.”

Palinczar, who has played Wiffle®Ball for 13 years, first learned of the Series and a sanctioned Wiffe®Ball league while watching ESPN. WWBA officials in Boston put him in contact with a group in South Jersey that ran a state tournament.

The Giants finished second in that tournament to the host team, then went to Boston where they soon learned that the sport wasn't restricted to teenagers.

There were men in the tournament in their 40s,” said Palinczar. “There is really a lot of interest in Wiffle®Ball, and we learned it's for all ages.”

Their league will follow all WWBA rules. Games are 6 innings long, with a 3 ball, 2 strike count used instead of the traditional 4-3 count. Teams will play a 10 game schedule, with several games under lights. Entry fee is $50 per team, and there is no age limit for players.

Palinczar says any five-man team interested in joining the league can contact him at 771-8057. “It was surprising to see the interest in Wiffle®Ball,” Palinczar said. “There were teams from Florida, Missouri and Maryland at the World Series. ESPN had a segment about the championship game, and Sports Illustrated did a feature on the tournament.”

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