When asked to reflect on ISWB, Church made a promise to return. “What I’ll miss most is getting together with the guys and having a great time while still competing. It always takes me back to the good ole days playing travel baseball and the birthday parties when we just did it for fun. It has always kept the little kid inside me alive. I love everything the league stands for, the guys, and its purpose. You best believe I’ll be back in town for any tournaments and will still go out of town to other tournaments.”
Church will retire as one of the best players in league history. As one of the founding fathers of ISWB, AC ranks 4th in homeruns (48), 4th in RBIs (157), 4th in runs (147), and 4th in runs created (176). He was the league’s MVP in its inaugural season in 2014 and garnered a playoff MVP award in 2015. He has been selected for all four all-star games.
In 3 seasons as manager of the Skeeters, Church led them to a 43-23-1 record, 3 straight title appearances from 2014-2016, a regular season title in 2014, and a championship in 2015. His ability to win was best displayed during the offseason tournaments. Church won each of the first three Wifflin’ for Whitley summer tournaments and captured numerous summer titles before the league was formed in 2014.
However, Church might be missed most for his love of the league. Austin was one of the more dedicated players or coaches that the league has ever had. His leadership and strong marketing skills allowed the league to grow beyond what it could have had Church not been a part of it. He ushered in new ideas, connected the league to some of its first sponsors and served as a vital leader that the commish could count on each week.
Commissioner Brendan Dudas had this to say about Church’s absence, “With Austin leaving, ISWB is going to struggle to grow and succeed as well as it has in the past. He’s always been one of the guys that I would consider ‘co-commissioner’ because of his great ideas and commitment to ISWB. He’s going to be missed, and his retirement is something that will impact the league in many ways.”
A few players from around the league were asked to describe Austin Church’s Wiffle game with a short phrase. Here’s what they said:
“Incredible two-way superstar.”
“Silky smooth slugger.”
“Bold, beautiful, and slightly tipsy.”
“Finds a way to win.”
“Bomb or bust.”
“The LeBron of Wiffle ball.”
While pitchers will breathe a sigh of relief in 2018, the league will miss having Church’s competitiveness and leadership around. ISWB wishes AC the best of luck, and we can’t wait to see you come back!