Sports

Time to step up to the plate

by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
Sequim Gazette

A whole bunch of Sequim ballplayers need a helping hand.

 

With 23 teams, Sequim’s Little League organization provides great, healthy activity for as many as 250 boys and girls, offering T-ball, baseball and girls fastpitch from April through early June.

 

There’s only one hitch in their giddy-up: a dire lack of umpires.

 

Randy Perry, the new “umpire-in-chief,” said he currently has “about eight I can really count on.” But, he notes, every one of his umpires has a different schedule. “I need 12-15 I can call,” he said.

 

League President Shawna Rigg said too many potential umps are nervous about taking on the job.

“They’re concerned because they don’t know enough,” she said. “But we have the tools to help them.”

 

Perry said, “It might be a little tough from somebody coming in but if they have a basic knowledge of baseball, we can start them on the baselines. And we can start them in the minors, where the kids are learning, too.

 

“You just call ‘out’ at first, ‘out’ at second. Did they steal the base? And the whole time you’re watching the game, learning it.”

 

Perry said, “If they have a basic understanding of baseball, or softball, it shouldn’t take too long to get up to speed.”

Not too much to ask

Perry said the time commitment isn’t too daunting. “If you can offer one night a week — a game or two — that’s what we need.”

 

The pay is minimal: “We give them a meal at the concession stand,” Perry said. “Maybe a hot dog and a sports drink.”

 

And perhaps, at the end of the year, a gift certificate “for those who have done it the most.”

 

Perry said given their more flexible schedules, retirees are perhaps the best choice.

 

Craig Stevenson, a Little League coach, is stoked about participating in America’s pastime, enthusiastic about “how fun it actually is to get back around baseball or softball fields again by umpiring games. I personally found the Sequim Little League by driving by it one afternoon going to a job site for work and hearing the bat connect and the parents cheer. That sound brought me right back to my days as a kid and all the fun memories.

 

“I just drove up later that week in the afternoon to watch a baseball game and they were short an ump. I had never umped before but knew baseball inside and out and it didn’t take long to get the hang of being behind-the-plate ump. I had a blast smelling the grass, hearing the gloves pop with a hard throw and watching pure baseball. Besides, the view out there is spectacular. The mountain view from behind home plate is ridiculous.”

 

Rigg said the league also could use some volunteers to help work the concession stand. Priority one at this point is finding someone who can arrive at the ballpark by 4 p.m. to open the stand. Rigg said most of the moms and dads are working people who can’t make it that early. “If you’re sitting at home bored, this is a great opportunity.” For more information, call Rigg at 360-808-5448.

 

To sign up as an umpire, give Perry a call during business hours at 683-8637, drop by Sequim Shoe Repair at 425 E. Washington St. or drop him a line at shufixer@olypen.com.

 


Reach Mark Couhig at mcouhig@sequimgazette.com.

 

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