GREENVILLE – The four-man Southwest District baseball umpiring crew slated for the 2021 Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I state championship game was in Greenville recently umpiring an American Legion Post 140 game to work as a unit before heading to the prestigious appointment.
Sidney’s Scott Barr, Greenville’s Dave McCartney, Troy’s Chris Madigan and Vandalia’s Chris Prokes representing the West Central Ohio Umpires Association in Piqua will be on the field Sunday at Akron’s Canal Park with a 7 p.m. start time when the teams take the field for the Division I state championship game.
“What makes this crew really special is we are all from the West Central Ohio Umpires Association based out of Piqua,” Prokes said. “This is our 75th anniversary season so to have this crew going – and we have two other umpires going to do other state games – that’s very special to us in our 75th year.”
Prokes is slated to be behind the plate calling balls and strikes, Barr will make the calls at first base, Madigan will cover second base, and McCartney will man third base.
“It’s an honor to be chosen out of all the umpires in Ohio,” Greenville’s McCartney said. “It is definitely an honor especially to work with these guys – the best in the business.”
There is a tight selection formula to be included in a voting pool based on scores from coaches, school athletics directors and peers with the OHSAA selecting from the pools based on feedback from the state regions.
“I was honored to be the crew chief in the 2018 Division II state championship game,” 29-year OHSAA veteran umpire Scott Barr said. “We had Chaminade Julienne and Wapak in Columbus at the Clippers’ stadium.”
OHSAA 14-year veteran Chris Prokes will lead the four man crew on the field as the crew chief, umpiring his second state championship game.
“I think we get respect,” Prokes said. “Before the game they generally read an announcement about how the officials are selected and suggest that this careful process assures that you are getting the best on the field that day, so we get that right off the bat.
“Our presence on the field, the way we conduct the game, the crispness of our calls, our mechanics and how fast we hustle in our rotations goes a long way to doing that,” Prokes added. “I think the players and coaches come in with a little bit heightened sense of good behavior in the dugouts and on the field.”
“They expect us to be on top of our game, and we expect that of each other – we want to be on top of our game,” 12-year veteran umpire Chris Madigan said. “We want everyone to view us at that level so we are going to do the best we can to be prepared for absolutely everything out there.”
“As an official, that’s what you work for, all the hard work, the hustle, giving that 110 percent so that one day when you are selected to work a state game you are going to work it just like you would any other ballgame,” McCartney added. “It is truly an honor to be selected. There is somewhere around 3,000 certified umpires in the state of Ohio, so to make it to that game and be selected is just truly an honor.”
“We’re here for the kids,” Madigan concluded. “We umpire for the love of the game – and the kids learning the game.”
Contact Darke County Media Sports Editor Gaylen Blosser at email@example.com or 937-569-0122.