The grass is wore out under Nolan Wolfe's feet, which are comfortable in green and black slide sandals.

He settles in, short blond hair a mess, ready to swing the yellow bat clenched in his fists as hard as he can.

The pitch arrives outside of the strike zone. It's a brushback and Wolfe lunges back out of the way.

That's when his friends laugh at the absurdity of it all. He does, too.

They're playing wiffle ball.

Blair Little Leaguer Chase Cottle, 12, established the Backyard Wiffle Ball League with his friends in May. It was several years in the making, so carefully considered plans were in place. There was a 10-to-12 player draft and teams created for them to compete on.

Cottle makes sure stats are taken — his little sister, Kasey, is among the various stat-keepers — and bought all of the necessary supplies with Christmas, birthday and chore money. He made the strike zone backstop with PVC pipe and spray painted his own foul poles yellow.

“Off the charts proud,” said Heather Cottle, Chase's mother. “He's just completely done it on his own and that's awesome.”

On July 30, the boys got together near Chase's house at the grass lot — their field — next to the First United Methodist Church. The batter's box and pitching position are worn down to dirt and the basepath is largely based on their imaginations. A card table adorned in a red, white and blue bunting is set up under a nearby tree, where Kasey sits with a clipboard in her arms.

It sprinkles here and there, but the boys hardly notice as cars go by on the bricks streets and hammering can be heard in the distance. For Chase, its as good as any other day for a ballgame.

“Wiffle ball is a really fun thing,” he explained. “Just a backyard, fun game that you can play anytime in the summer.”

One of the 12-year-old's first baseball memories was hitting a wiffle ball off of a baseball tee.

“A little plastic tee you can probably get at Walmart for $12,” Chase said.

But he's graduated past that.

“He's really put all of the effort into making (the league) as official as possible,” Heather explained. “I'm beyond proud because he spends his days out here, even if its just him.”

The level of stat-keeping Chase wants, though, takes data entry indoors on a computer, too.

“You know, it's just fun to see and act like the majors to see how you're doing,” he said.

So far, Hayden Daggett and he are the clubhouse leaders.

“It's very competitive and it's just a fun game,” Daggett said. “We try to see who wins — the whole thing.”

Scheduling three-game series with everyone's busy schedules takes patience from Chase. But parents support the endeavor, dropping their kids off if the walk is too far to First United Methodist, which “means a lot to me,” Heather said.

When play starts, though, it's all on Chase and his buddies. It's their rules. The alley pavement is the outfield fence and if the ball goes over, it's a homer.

“Not many youth players can hit a home run,” the league commissioner, Chase, said. “So when you hit a home run on this field, it's really special and it feels good in your heart.”

It also pulls at his mother's heart strings. It reminds her of days growing up.

“Your friends gathering, bikes piled up,” Heather recalled. “It's just very reminiscent of childhoods gone by, which is awesome and sad at the same time.”

Dreams are still strong at 12 years old, though, just as they always have been. When asked if she can envision any of her brother's friends in the MLB, Kasey pulled her stat-keeping pen from paper and said, “Yeah,” maybe a few. “Maybe my brother.”

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