Clark Cole of Hermon is one of 12 umpires from around the United States and Latin America selected to work at the 12th annual Junior League Softball World Series, to be held Aug. 15-21 at Kirkland, Wash.
Cole, a veteran coach and umpire in the Bangor area, has been umpiring at Junior League level (ages 13-14) in Maine District 3 for the past six or seven years, and last summer worked the Junior League’s Eastern Regional tournament at West Haven, Conn.
“I don’t think I expected it this quickly,” said Cole of this year’s World Series appointment. “I was picked for the regional last year and got to work the plate in the championship game, and they told me to put in for the World Series this year so I did.
“You’re talking just 12 umpires for a World Series, so it’s an honor to be selected.”
Cole is one of at least two Maine District 3 umpires who have been tapped for such postseason duty this summer.
Bill Juilli of Brewer has been assigned to work at the Senior League Baseball U.S. East Regional to be held in early August in New Jersey.
Appointment as a member of a World Series umpiring crtew is considered the highest honor Little League Baseball and Softball can bestow on an umpire.
To be considered for selection, an umpire must have previously worked a recent regional in the same Little League division as the World Series for which they are being considered. An umpire is eligible to be selected for a World Series assignment once every four years.
Cole will leave for Kirkland, Wash., a suburb of Seattle, on Aug. 13 to arrive in time for pre-tournament meetings the day before the event begins.
The Junior League Softball World Series is formatted the same as the Senior League Baseball World Series that will be held for the ninth consecutive year at Mansfield Stadium in Bangor this summer, also Aug. 15-21.
The tournament features a 10-team field with five U.S. regional champions, a host team and international representatives from Canada, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Europe-Middle East-Africa.
The teams are divided into two five-team pools that play five days of pool play leading to a semifinal around and then the championship game.
The umpires for all Little League World Series are volunteers, and are not reimbursed for travel expenses, and between travel costs, a rental car and other expenses, Cole expects his eight-day trip to Washington could cost him “a couple thousand dollars.”
“It’s Little League, and you know when you put in the paperwork that it could cost you quite a bit, especially if it’s a cross country trip,” Cole said. “But I’m sure the experience will be well worth it.”
Cole, who also umpires during the high school season, expects he will have worked more than 60 games this season before making his World Series debut.
Last year, he umpired 74 contests from the start of the school season through the Junior League East Regional championship game.
Cole said he would have one familiar colleague on the Junior League Softball World Series umpiring crew in Fred Lesser of West Deptford, N.J.
Lesser and Cole worked together during last summer’s East Regional.
Other members of the 2010 JLWS umpiring crew will be Miles Darnall of Dade City, Fla.; Gary Eldred of Moreno Valley, Calif., Orlando Hernandez of Coconut Creek, Fla., Greg Hodges of Needville, Texas, Raymond Laramie of Hammond, Ind., Gilbert Paulina of Willemstad, Curacao, George Rohr of George West, Texas, Mark Saurer of Louisville, Ky., Eric Snively of Pilot Rock, Ore., and Gerard Takiguchi of Dublin, Calif.