GODFREY — Lewis and Clark Community College student Michael Bevens organized the inaugural LCCC whiffle ball tournament Thursday.
It was designed for all skill levels, Bevens said.
“The thing I most want to encourage is that people don’t need to think of themselves as an athlete,” he said. “I want everybody to play.”
The teams were set up so players could self-identify as either an amateur or pro. Amateurs could request larger bats and underhanded pitches. And batters did not even need to run the bases.
With music playing in the background, Bevens explained the simple joys of whiffle ball.
“Who doesn’t want to pretend like they’re a Major League Baseball star? It’s a lot of fun and it’s an inexpensive thing to do,” he said.
Bevens and his best friend play every week throughout the summer and wanted to share that fun with more students.
While Bevens organized the event for the sheer fun of it, there was an underlying deeper meaning. The tournament was in memory to his friend Grant Hulett, who passed away at a young age.
“He loved whiffle ball too, and he inspired me,” he said. “Whatever you like to do, just do it. Do it while you’re still here, because you don’t know how much longer you’re here.”
Bevens is donating to the school a trophy engraved as The Grant Hulett Memorial Trophy, with places for winning teams to engrave their names in years to come.
Bevens hopes to see the tournament continue and grow even after he moves on from LCCC.
“I wanted to leave this behind, because I’m only going to be here a couple years,” he said. “I want this to be an every year thing. I want it to get bigger and bigger.”
Pizza and free drinks were provided during the afternoon tournament.