With a swing of the bat, Andrew Brown sent the ball flying into the outfield where it bounced on the grass and rolled to the fence.
But instead of turning the bases, Brown, 19, calmly handed the bat to his teammate, his only teammate, actually, for his turn to swing for the fence.
In Wiffle ball, batters don't run the bases unless they smack one out of the park. Rather, an imaginary runner advances the bases. Also unlike its older brother baseball, the minimum number of players needed to field a team is just two — a pitcher and a fielder.
Usually reserved for children's backyard fun and family bonding at cookouts, a North York man has started a Wiffle ball league in the borough.
|PURCHASE THESE PHOTOS RANDY FLAUM PHOTOS|
"It's slowly blossoming," said Mark Taylor, the creator of the league and a member of the borough's recreation board. "Everybody seems to enjoy it."
Just fun: Taylor, who played baseball in the past, said he started the league after playing competitive Wiffle ball with his brother.
Though widely seen as a scaled down version of baseball and softball, competitive Wiffle ball has pitchers known to bring the heat, reaching pitch speeds in the mid-80 mph range. Compounded by the curving nature of a Wiffle ball, getting a hit can be tricky.
"Try hitting a Wiffle ball that's breaking two feet at 80 mph," Taylor said.
But league play at the North York Borough Park, just off Fifth Avenue, focuses more on the fun of playing the game. Pitches are slowed down to give the batter at least a swinging chance.
Just finishing up its third week of play, the league has attracted seven teams that play games on Sunday evenings.
Taylor's 14-year-old son, Tyler, is the league's youngest player and also Taylor's teammate.
At 47 years old, Carey Aughenbaugh of North York is the oldest player in the league.
"I'm having fun," he said before taking the field on a recent Sunday, adding with a laugh: "I probably wouldn't say that if I had to run the bases."
No experience needed: Though Aughenbaugh and Taylor, as well as other players in the league, have played baseball or softball, experience playing those sports isn't needed to play Wiffle ball.
Brown said he's never played competitive baseball or softball.
His teammate, Todd Taylor, who is the older son of Mark Taylor, said he played baseball for about six years. He also grew up playing Wiffle ball with his dad in the backyard of their North York home.
Despite the skill needed to play the game, Todd Taylor said he still gets the same reaction when he tells people he's in a Wiffle ball league.
"Ah. That's a kid's sport," he said he's told. "Until they come out and see it."
Mark Taylor said he's looking to keep the league, to be called the North York Borough Wiffle Ball League, going and hopefully attract additional teams in a spring session.
"God knows I don't want it to stop at this," he said. "I think it can be positive for the community."
Rules: Though very similar to baseball and softball, there are some major differences between Wiffle ball and those sports.
The dimensions for a playing field, as recommended by manufacturer Wiffle Ball, are 20 feet wide by 60 feet long from home plate to a home run marker, typically a fence. Foul lines should be marked.
The minimum number of players per team is two with a maximum of five.
A batter is out on three strikes, if a hit ball is caught from the air or if a ground ball in motion is fielded by an outfielder.
Scoring is where Wiffle ball truly breaks from its baseball and softball cousins. On a typical field, there are marked areas where hitters score a single, double, triple or home run depending where a hit ball lands.
In the North York Borough Wiffle Ball League, a single is awarded when a batted ground ball stops rolling before a fielder can touch it. A double is awarded when a hit ball touches the fence after hitting the ground. A batter gets a triple if the ball hits the fence on the fly and a home run is awarded when a batted ball clears the fence.
All this information comes from Mark Taylor and wiffle.com.
Sign up: For more information about the North York Borough Wiffle Ball League, or to sign up for the spring session, contact Mark Taylor at email@example.com
— Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.