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Friday, October 9, 2020

Fort Mitchell Resident Cole Hetzel sets world record for “Longest Marathon Playing Wiffle Ball”

Chris Hetzel, Jacob Marker, Alex Grence, Tristan Richards, Andrew Harris, Patrick Mitchell, Jack McMillen, Tim Earl, Cole Hetzel, Griffin Smith 

Last June, Fort Mitchell’s Cole Hetzel set his eye on setting a new record in the Guinness Book of World Records for “Longest Marathon Playing Wiffle Ball.”

“I was looking through the Guinness Book of World Records one day and was thinking about how awesome it would be to have a record of my own,” says the 17-year-old Hetzel.

From St. John’s Field, aka Hetzel’s backyard on Ridge Road, Hetzel hosted a charity wiffle ball event on Saturday, June 20th that played into the afternoon of Sunday, June 21st – more than thirty hours.

St. John’s Field is an impressive backyard ballfield. Inspired by Boston’s Fenway Park, the Hetzel family constructed the field in 2015, when Cole was 12-years-old, as a place for friends in the neighborhood to enjoy a game. For the overnight event, ten floodlights were run from dusk till dawn, lighting in the backyard, we plan to run approximately 10 flood lights from dusk until dawn, powered by electrical cords hung on trees and scaffolding. 

The Hetzel’s were required to videotape the entire game, to help authenticate the record and had multiple cameras on tripods filming the event.

“While the task of building the field certainly wasn't easy, the hardest part of the prep was finding people to help, as Guinness requires two witnesses and an umpire to monitor the game at all times, so I had to call on over 30 people to help out, with some even volunteering their time during crazy hours such as 4-8 am.,” says Hetzel.

In their aim to set the record, Hetzel set rules of ten players on the field at all times, except for 5 minute breaks accrued each hour, and a minimum of two witnesses and one umpire on duty throughout the event.  The player slots were filled with mostly 16 through 18-year-olds from the neighborhood and local schools, with one “old guy,” Hetzel’s father Chris, and one 26-year-old coming in from Boston. 

Patrick Earl and Chris Hetzel 

“As for my friends, many of them thought that I was crazy when I first told them what I was planning to do, but fortunately they were all very supportive and excited to be part of such an event,” says Hetzel. “Once we all heard the good news, we were very excited and didn't know what to say. Guinness has a very strict and lengthy set of requirements defining what is and what is not allowed during the game, so we made sure not to celebrate until we knew we had the title for certain, as our margin of error was quite large with the event being 30 hours long.”

Cole and Chris Hetzel 

Hetzel says setting a world record feels great, especially since so much time and effort was invested by so many people.

“It is wonderful to be able to share such a unique experience with my friends and fellow players, and like many of them, I'd do it again in a heartbeat,” says Hetzel.

Team members for the record-setting game included Jack McMillen, Patrick Mitchell, Time Earle, Griffin Smith, Tristen Richards, Alex Grace, Andrew Harris, and Jacob Marker. With a total of 269 innings, the official score was 638 to 347, with the Fast Plastic team defeating the Fort Mitchell Dillies.

Proceeds were directed to St. Vincent DePaul to benefit the community.  The event was an official registered record in Hetzel’s attempt to set the new record. The event followed guidelines for COVID-19. 

The Hetzels extend their gratitude to the following for their help in setting the new wiffle ball record:


Lance Wells

Don Walsh

Logan North

Brandon Hughes

Mike Piergalski

Lilly Garcia

Doug & Chris Ralph


John James

Matt McBee

Olivia Farmer

Lauren Mulzer

Logan Hamm

Madie Hazzard

Shawn Leonard

Will Christofield

Evan Hinshaw

Grant McElwee

Molly Tierney

Nate Smith

Jim Smith

Tom Middendorf

Tom Gaither

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