SOUTH PORTLAND — After the caps and gowns and yearbook inscriptions start to fade from memory, it becomes harder to stay tight with all your old high school buddies.

Unless, of course, you happen to have a bunch of white plastic balls with holes in one hemisphere, a backyard with three fences, and an impartial beach chair to call balls and strikes.

Chris Biskup, a 2008 South Portland High graduate, even started a website (biskupwiffleballleague.blogspot.com) to keep track of statistics.

“I love going over there,” said Connor Hasson, a South Portland graduate who will enter UMaine-Farmington next month. “We’ve played two or three times a week for most of the summer.”

Nick Lagios leaves for the University of Colorado today, and others will follow, so a four-team double-elimination tournament was held over the weekend.

Rules are straightforward. Two outs per inning. Any foul over a fence is an out. Any pitch hitting the beach chair is a strike. Reach four balls and your count clears. Reach eight balls, and take first base. On the deck is a home run. On the roof is a double. Off the roof and onto the deck is a triple.

Behind the pitcher are a resin bag and extra balls. Pegging is allowed, even encouraged. Foul lines are painted onto the grass, as is a red safety square at first base. “We had too many collisions,” Biskup said.

John Kerry, who plays baseball at the University of Southern Maine, hit lefty so he wouldn’t mess up his baseball swing. Keegan Hyland, a Division I basketball player, spent six weeks at Gonzaga University this summer, so he only got 14 at-bats (resulting in four hits) in the Biskup backyard. “I would say,” said Hasson when asked of Hyland’s Wiffle ball prowess, “that basketball’s probably his strong suit.”

After 19 games over the weekend, a champion was crowned – The Bang Brothers outlasted The Magic Sticks. The MVP award went to one of the few current high schoolers, Logan Gaddar, Nick’s younger brother and the last pick in the draft. He reached over the deck to prevent a potential walk-off home run.

As long as they have enough players, they’ll continue through August. One final task remains.

“Before I leave for school,” said Biskup, who plays baseball at New England College, “we have to get some grass seed to fill in the bare spots.”

 

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: [email protected]