State Position a Huge Accomplishment
The WIAA State Spring Baseball Tournament is a recognition of the best of the best among high school baseball and umpires. But for others, it’s much more than that.
For WIAA Officials that are selected to umpire the State Spring High School Baseball tournament, June 12th- 14th at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute, it’s a huge accomplishment. This year, Rich Hohl, a Central Wisconsin native, was chosen as one of 12 umpires.
“It’s an honor to be recognized,” he said of the experience. Mike Klein and Jim Krueger, also Central WI natives and crew mates of Hohl, have also umpired at the state level, Klein in 2000 and 2001, 2007 and 2012, and Krueger in 2016 and 2017.
Umpiring at the state level is a challenge in itself; the average tenure of an ump on the field is anywhere between 15-20 years. Hohl has been umping for 24 years, Klein for 32 years and Krueger for 25 years. Besides having a long tenure, umps need to have worked at least 6 years to reach Master status, the status of many of the umps at the state level, need to have completed a minimum of 5 varsity games per year to register as a WIAA Licensed Official, have a satisfactory coach score, and have a score of 5 points or higher on a scale from 1-6.
Each umpire, once selected, umpires two consecutive years. First year they are considered freshmen, umping semi-final games, the second year considered sophomores and umping championship games.
Klein says that all four of his trips were very favorable, with no delays or rain-outs. On the topic of being a freshman official; Klein said “As any first-time state tournament umpire will tell you, the first trip is nerve-racking. Each time you get selected to go, you want to get every call and every pitch right to prove that you belong there.” Hohl adds that now that he knows the ropes a little better, he’s even more excited to go back to the Fox Cities Stadium next spring.