The reigning national champions of wiffleball, the Tampa Bay Wiffleball Lightening, will visit the nation’s capital in June for a series of scrimmage games against the PWL All Star team.
TBW won the 2013 NWLA Tournament with a 7-0 record, after coming in as runner ups in 2012, with a 6-3 finish. Chris Harley, named Most Valuable Player in 2013 after leading the team both in batting and pitching, will join his brother Michael, manager Derek Linderman and fourth roster spot filler Shane Effertz for the DC trip.
The visit has been scheduled for the weekend of June 21-22 to coincide with the Spring World Series weekend festivities which will include the All Star Game, Home Run Derby, and Champions Dinner. The exact schedule for the scrimmage games, which will be held at Gravelly Point, will be announced once the playoff schedule is set.
“We’re excited to be hosting the national champions in DC,” Commissioner Gallaway said. “In addition to some important practice for our NWLA All Star team heading to Ohio, we look forward to showing TBW what our style of wiffleball looks like.”
PWL and TBW have met twice in the tournament both in pool play. TBW won both meetings, 18-5 in 2013, and staging a come from behind 7-4 victory in a late night game under the lights in 2012.
The exhibition will take place just under a month before the 2014 NWLA Tournament which will be July 18-20 in Columbus, Ohio.
The PWL team is still currently in the process of being selected. Open tryouts for all league members continue this weekend, and will wrap up next week. Commissioner Gallaway will ultimately select the final roster that will be sent to Ohio. The teams have consisted of six players the past two seasons, but there is movement in the NWLA to expand rosters this year.
The PWL has competed in intra-league scrimmages before with the Kalamazoo Wiffle League from Michigan and there are closer NWLA teams to DC. The selection of TBW for the practice sessions was not random, however.
“Absolutely I want our team to practice against the best team in the country. No doubt about it. You don’t get better playing weaker opponents. You get better playing better teams. Hosting WESEM, or HWL or KWL wouldn’t help us, we’ve beaten them. Been there, done that.” Gallaway said.
As is the case with other national championship teams visiting Washington, the Lightening are expected to visit the White House and be received by President Obama.