Watch him play and it’s easy to see that 16-year-old Cade Messer is a good Wiffle Ball player. People who participated or just watched his Wiffle Ball tournament over the weekend in Farley got to see that he’s even a better friend and neighbor.

Messer, with the help of many, hosted the fourth annual South Lake Wiffle Ball Tournament in Farley, July 19-20, with all proceeds going toward Jackie’s Cause, which is affiliated with the University of Iowa. The fund raises money for spinal cord research and is named for Jackie Kluesner, daughter of Scott and Vicki Kluesner, of Farley.

What began from watching online videos has grown into Messer doing all he can to help a classmate.

He said he first became interested in Wiffle Ball about six years ago after watching MLW Wiffle Ball videos on YouTube. “Finally, one year I just went for it,” Messer said. ‘It started as just a small league with 10 players and a small end-of-year tournament.

Those days of small tournaments just four years ago have vanished, as Messer had 54 teams in various brackets this year, playing the game on three fields simultaneously.

He thinks part of the wide attraction is that it is a game that can be played or enjoyed by virtually anyone. “It’s fun for all ages, whether you’re playing it or just sitting here watching, it’s always a good time.”

Parking was at premium in Farley’s South Lake Subdivision, as people turned out to play in the tournament or encourage their favorite players.

There was a concession area and table with wrist bands and t-shirts for sale. Umpires kept the peace and enforced the game’s rules if needed, but mostly it was about fun.

“Everyone is here today to raise money for Jackie’s Cause,” said Messer. “It’s a foundation that raises money and awareness for spinal cord cancer, because Jackie Kluesner started it 5½ years ago.”

Win or lose the games, the tournament still hit a major home run.

Those wishing to still contribute can mail donations to: Jackie’s Cause, 9234 Royal Wood Dr., Peosta 52068.