MEDFORD -- Drive down Archer Drive in Medford and you're sure to stop to make sure you're seeing what you think you're seeing. On your right will be a wiffle ball field fit for serious competition.
"We’ll have people driving by on the streets and you’ll see them slow down or back up and it’s pretty fun to watch that," Medford Mustangs infielder and DH Jack Thompson said.
Jack along with his two brothers, one of which is Bennett, sophomore at South Medford and Jack's Mustangs teammate, play at the field affectionately known as "Thompson Yards." Their dad came up with the idea years ago.
"One day, my dad came up to my brother, my younger brother, and I and he said, 'So, I have two ideas for our yard: we can either make a wiffleball field or put in a batting cage,'" Bennett recalls.
Bennett wanted the batting cage, but he was overruled by his other two brothers and so ground was broken on Thompson Yards. It now has a fence along the entire field, including a taller area of fence in left field. There are trees and a house fully in play, everything you'd expect from a wiffle ball field in a side yard.
"My dad's always been very elaborate when it comes to stuff like this," Jack said.
The boys would still like to add even more to the field, including finishing the grass in the outfield, so there will be a full dirt infield, grass outfield, and dirt warning track. There was one idea Bennett had that went a little too far.
“About a year ago, our neighbors were having a garage sale and I wanted to put in a Jumbo Tron, because they had a giant TV," Bennett recalls, "But my dad turned that idea down real quick.”
When it comes to Thompson Yards, there's nothing like a game under the lights. Flood lights at every area of the outfield ensure the teens and their friends can play even after it gets dark.
"I love playing night games here and just watching the ball disappear over the fence," Bennett said.
Jack and Bennett have always been teammate or adversaries on the wiffle ball field, but they had never been on the same baseball team on a permanent basis until this summer. That changed when they each made the Medford Mustangs' final roster. Bennett will be a sophomore this upcoming season while Jack is moving down to California to play collegiately at Westmont College.
“As the school year was winding down, I was really devastated, because all the times we spent out here together, I was like, “Wow, I only have a couple more months left with my brother,'" Bennett said.
Thanks to one final full season at Thompson Yards and a summer together with the Mustangs, Jack and Bennett will get a proper goodbye.
“I’ve seen him play so many times, so to be able to actually be part of a team with him is pretty special," Jack said.
"To be on this team and be with him for one last summer to spend every day with him, it’s made the process of being on the team that much more enjoyable," Bennett said.
On the wiffle ball field, they'll continue playing for bragging rights, often against one another. On the baseball field, as the summer winds down, they'll be battling side by side, trying to earn the Mustangs another state championship.
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