SPRINGFIELD — The Stevie’s World of Wiffleball charity event is celebrating its 20th year in Springfield with a bang.
This year, the event will have a few special guests — several stars of the movie “The Sandlot,” which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
The tournament is being held at 9 a.m. Saturday at the UAW Local 402 Recreation Park, 4945 Derr Road in Springfield. Proceeds from the event have gone to the families of children with illness and disabilities since it was first held in 1985.
“We’ve made money for these kids and families with a plastic ball and bat and in the process, we’ve made a lot of memories,” organizer John Leep said. “It’s affected a lot of people, not only children with disabilities, but parents who are dealing with hardships. It gives them a chance to come out and do something totally different.”
Stevie’s World of Wiffleball was held from 1985-1994 and resumed in 2014 to the present.
The event is known for its custom fields with replica scoreboards, including Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, the Dayton Dragons’ Day Air Ball Park and Crosley Field.
A year ago, the event recreated the field from the film “The Sandlot.” Earlier this year, the Leep family met several of the stars of the movie at a Pittsburgh Pirates game, hoping to bring them to Springfield for this year’s event. The actors who played Smalls, Kenny DeNunez, Timmy Timmons, Tommy Repeat Timmons and Bertram Grover are committed to the event.
“They’re all excited and some of them want to play in the event,” Leep said.
A signing event is also being held tonight before the event. “The Sandlot” stars will be signing autographs from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at COhatch in downtown Springfield. It will include “The Sandlot” 30th anniversary bats and other movie memorabilia available for purchase.
A wiffleball home run derby is also being held Saturday as part of the wiffleball event at the UAW Recreation Park.
This year, the event will include a Topps Baseball Card Stadium that will include baseball cards of all the major league players from Clark County.
“This is about Springfield,” Leep said. “It’s important what we do for these families, but it’s also a Springfield event. That’s where our heart and soul is at giving back to Springfield.”
Leep said the event wouldn’t be possible without his family and committee members, along with many volunteers and community sponsors.
The tournament also includes free children’s activities — Good Vibes Inflatables and Visual Reality, a 3D experience. Food trucks include Crabill’s Hamburgers, Galactic Flats, Briella’s Hot Dogs, Chick Fil-A and Chido’s Tacos. There will also be dozens of raffle items, including Cincinnati Reds tickets, Cincinnati Bengals tickets and a big screen television.
For more information, log on to https://www.steviesworld.org.