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HomeLocal NewsDramatic Walk-Off Home Run Ends Wifflemania XL

Dramatic Walk-Off Home Run Ends Wifflemania XL

PARSIPPANY — Back in 1984, in a local backyard with only a couple of teams, the idea of Wifflemania was born. Since those initial backyard games, the event has grown exponentially over the past 40 years. During those years, the games have moved from that backyard to locations in Knoll Park, Manor Park, and now Smith Field. In addition, the league has expanded from those initial teams to include now two leagues, an American and a National League, comprised of 14 different teams each.

Of course, the players, whose teams are comprised of a mix of young and not-so-young teammates, come out for the fun and competitive nature of the games, but the bottom line is that Wifflemania is a charitable event. All proceeds from the lively and well-attended event go to various local charities, as they have for the past 40 years. 

MVP of Wifflemania XL, Jeremy DeCotiis of New Era.

Wifflemania has long been passionate about Nicky “The Commish” Jannarone, whose hard work, commitment, and effort come to life every year during this highly anticipated sporting event. The outing is sponsored by the Parsippany Athletic League (PAL), Morris County Order of the Sons of Italy Lodge 2561, and local businesses and restaurants.

 On Saturday, June 15th, the crowds came out, set up chairs and tents, and cheered on their favorite team, all while mingling and reconnecting with friends and neighbors. As an added treat, hot dogs, hamburgers, or Italian sausage, freshly cooked right off the grill, was readily available courtesy of the Sons of Italy. Food was free to players and fans, but a small charitable donation to the cause was also appreciated. It would not be easy to imagine a more positive, community-minded event reflective of a strong and healthy commonality than Wifflemania.

The games, which follow a “March Madness” elimination style, began at 10:00 a.m. The final championship game ended around 6:30 p.m. Fortunately, it was a weather-perfect day, with temperatures around 80 and a very mild, comfortable breeze. Nick Jannarone expertly managed to keep the games moving at a lively pace, with three teams competing continuously. Age, physical condition, and skill level may have varied significantly, but it was evident that everyone on and off the field was having a great time.

Wifflemania XL Champions-New Era: Austin DeCotiis, Jeremy DeCotiis, Zach Doumas, and Matt Ajaj.

The last two teams standing at the end of the day were New ERA (National League) and Harry Ballers (American League). This was a championship rematch from 2022, and New Era was going for their 5th title (a new Wifflemania record) while Harry Ballers were seeking their 2nd championship. While games last three innings, the championship game goes for five.  It ended up being an exciting rematch, and things began to look dire for New Era, as the Harry Ballers bats got hot, and they gained a 4-run lead with an inning to go.  Never to give up, New Era rallied and tied the game in the bottom of the 5th, causing the game to go into extra innings. Notably, this was the first extra-inning championship game in 17 years. A dramatic walk-off home run by ERA’s team Captain, Austin DeCotiis, who was also awarded MVP, sealed the deal.

It was a great day, an exciting game, and, most importantly, a home run for charity. Congratulations to New ERA teammates Austin DeCotiis, Jeremy DeCotiis, Matt Ajaj, and Zach Doumas on their hard-won victory.

Commissioner Jannarone is already working on it, and everyone is looking forward to Wifflemania XLI.

Nick Jannarone
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Patrick Minutillo
Patrick Minutillo
Patrick Minutillo is a longtime Parsippany resident covering restaurant reviews for Parsippany Focus and Morris Focus. Reviews will also appear in Parsippany Focus Magazine, Tri-Town Focus Magazine as well as Morris Focus Magazine.
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