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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 30, 2009

OIA faces shortage of umpires

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

Although a single pitch has yet to be thrown, the backlash is already being felt from the O'ahu Interscholastic Association's decision to play Saturday doubleheaders in baseball and softball this coming season.

There might be a shortage of umpires to account for 10 baseball and 10 softball games that will be scheduled on Saturdays. Each game has two umpires, meaning at least 40 will be needed with each crew working both games of each doubleheader.

"We have about 35 (umpires)," said Walt Yamatsuka, one of the umpire coordinators. "Of course, guys get sick or have to work."

Yamatsuka said umpire shortages were already experienced on the Big Island in past seasons when some Saturday games were rescheduled during a weekday. He said if there are not enough umpires, some OIA games will have to played during week days.

The OIA scheduled doubleheaders to cut down transportation costs. An average bus rental is $145. Since the OIA plays a double round-robin, each team will alternate being the "home" team.

With that, the OIA umpires' group is seeking umpires for the coming season. Those interested should call Yamatsuka at 295-4707 or Warren Okinaka at 927-1360.

Umpires for softball split $60 per game, while those for baseball split $75, Yamatsuka said. The home plate umpire usually gets a slightly larger share. He said new umpires usually start off working the bases before working home plate.

Also, the Hawaii Amateur Softball Association (ASA) is hosting a softball umpires' clinic 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Palolo Recreation Center softball fields. The fee is $45. Fast and slow pitch plate and base mechanics will be covered, as well as 2009 ASA rule changes.

It is open to veteran umpires and new ones. The clinic also satisfies a prerequisite to be eligible to umpire in state high school tournaments, if an umpire had not attended a state or national umpire school in the past five years.

For information about the clinic, call Roger Javillo at 389-7871 or email at javillor001@hawaii.rr.com.

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at skaneshiro@honoluluadvertiser.com.