Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Capaha Field hosts 4th annual Michel’s Classic Wiffle Ball Tournament

Monday, October 23, 2023
Members of the 7-11 age division face in the first round of pool to start the day. The Michel Classic is a wiffleball tournamnet held to fundraise money for less fortunate children interested in playing sports, this was the 4th annual Michel Classic with all 4 taking place on Capaha Field. This years event was held on Oct. 21.
Photo by Hunter Caldwell

The fourth annual Michel’s Classic Wiffle Ball Tournament was held at Capaha Field on Saturday, October 21. The event is hosted every year by the Michel family in commemoration of David and Ron Michel, who passed away in 2020 and 2001, respectively.

The tournament, founded by Sarah Schellingerhout, along with her brother Jeff Michel, began in 2020 at Capaha Field for the purpose of funding local underprivileged youth sports in the Cape Girardeau area. All proceeds are allocated to cover expenses such as league fees, equipment, and jerseys to give children a chance to play sports.

Sarah Schellingerhout, along with her husband Matt Schellingerhout are local to Cape Girardeau and wanted to give back to their community in a way that helps local youth.

“We saw a great need that there are kids out there who wanted to be involved in [youth sports], and so we’re looking for a way to give back and also continue to hold the legacy for both my father and brother,” Schellingerhout said.

When the tournament was founded, 20 teams took the field in honor of Ron and David. Since then, Michel’s Classic has garnered massive community support, which Jeff Michel is grateful for.

“When my brother passed away, we didn’t really have a proper memorial for him,” Michel said. “So that’s how it all got started. So every year it seems to grow a little more. We’ve been averaging about $10,000 a year, and we give 100% of it back to anyone who signs up with us and needs our help.”

Sports have deep roots in the Michel family, with several of their family members playing in Cape Girardeau and beyond.

“[My father and brother] both played for the Capahas. My brother won a state championship with Cape Central and with the Legion team. He was an OVC pitcher of the year for SEMO. My dad played six years with the Minnesota Twins and a little bit with the Cardinals,” Michel said.

Members of the 1st place team in the 7-11 age division pose with the founders of the Michel Classic and their 1st place plaque after their victory in the championship game. The Michel Classic is a wiffleball tournament with 3 age divisions playing during different portions of the day across multiple miniature fields set up on Capaha Field.
Photo by Hunter Caldwell

In the four years since the tournament’s inception, it has garnered substantial food and beverage donations from the community.

“[The food and drinks] are all donated. Five hundred hot dogs and 600 bags of chips come from one guy, and the kegs are donated by Three Eagles,” Michel said. “We make $3,000 off the beer. We don’t promote it early in the morning with the kids, but the adults, you know.”

The tournament is divided into two halves, one in the morning for kids and one in the afternoon for the adults, with a home run derby in between the tournaments.

Capaha Field holds a special place in the hearts of Sarah and her husband, Matt Schellingerhout, just as it did with her father and brother.

“I grew up on this field,” Schellingerhout said. “My brother played on this field, my other brother who passed away played on this field, my dad coached on this field so we really wanted to bring it home here. Matt and I were married on this field. This is our second home.”

(Left) Matt Schellingerhout and his wife, Sarah Schellingerhout pose for a photo during the days festivities. Sarah, is a founder of the Michel Classic alongside her brother, Jeff, Sarah believes sports provide important lessons that can be used for the rest of your life.
Photo by Hunter Caldwell

The tournament has grown since its conception, hosting as many as 30 teams. This year’s tournament hosted 26 teams, and ran from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.