For Lee Smith of Nobleboro, it was an opportunity of a life time when he was invited to umpire at the Senior Little League 13 to 16 Regional softball tournament in Worchester, Mass. on June 25 to 30.
He was nominated to work the tournament by District 2 Administrator Dana Verge.
While Smith has been a baseball and softball umpire for about 10 years, he said the Regionals was the biggest venue he has worked. He has worked high school playoff games, and Babe Ruth, and volunteered for many years as a Little League umpire, where he officiated District and State Little League championship games in Maine.
Smith was notified early last winter that he had been selected for the six day regional tournament. He was the only umpire from Maine to be picked for the 12 member umpiring crew at the tournament.
“I was surprised. They go through quite a few applications,” a humble Smith said.
Grandparents watched the Smith’s four kids, while he and his wife Becca headed south for the tournament. “It was like a mini vacation. I was quite happy to be doing it,” Smith said.
While there Smith, a 1994 Georges Valley graduate, umpired 12 games in six days and saw teams from Maine to Maryland compete. Pennsylvania won the Regional Senior League title, which Smith umpired along with the semi-final game. Pennsylvania then moved on to the World Series.
Four umpires did each game at the tournament, and Smith did an equal number of games at each base. While he likes officiating at all four spots, Smith said behind the plate is his favorite, because “you are more into the game behind the plate.”
Smith said he saw a lot of “good ball” during the tournament. “The pitching was outstanding. There was a girl from New Jersey that had a good change-up. They played a lot of small ball, with bunting and stealing.”
Defensively, Smith said the girls “made all the routine plays. I saw a couple of double plays which is rare in softball with the bases so close together.”
“It really was an honor to be selected,” Smith added.