In softball, the umpire is the person charged with officiating the game from beginning to end, enforcing the rules of the game, playing ground and making judgment calls on balls/strikes, plays and handling any disciplinary actions. Here in SaddleBrooke, our umpires are volunteers who may also be players during the season or others who just enjoy being a part of the game. Our “crew” consists of 34 residents and non-residents who give up their time to officiate our weekly 14 regular season games.
Dennis Marchand is our chief umpire in charge of educating and training new and past arbitrators here at SSSA. Dennis started umpiring Little League games at age 14, progressing up to the semi-pro level as he aged. For many of those years in southern California, he umpired softball calling a charity game in 1976 for the entire cast of Happy Days. Dennis says the “Fonz” pitched, Ritchie played center and that it was a wonderful experience. Dennis and his wife Diane have lived in SaddleBrooke since 2010.
Another long-time umpire is John Lauder who, with his wife Kathy, moved here less than ten years ago. John began umpiring when he was in high school working 14 Little League games a week and in his college years moved to softball, football and volleyball games. He has been an umpire the past eight years here in SaddleBrooke.
Terry Hurley moved to SaddleBrooke Ranch in 2018 from San Francisco. Terry officiated youth and high school football for many years while residing in New Jersey and picked right up playing and umping when he arrived in Arizona.
Four of our current Board members also play and ump in our association. Director Bobby Carbone and his wife Diana have been here nine years and Vice-President George Corrick and wife Karen came about the same time. Both did not umpire until becoming involved in our association.
Long time Treasurer Ken Crossman somehow finds time to also ump when not performing his many, many duties for our group. Ken is the individual who keeps SSSA financially sound and is literally involved in all aspects of our association. Many of you know his wife Char who is currently on the SaddleBrooke One Board and we cannot thank her enough for pushing Ken out of the house and into our lives. You may also know Ken as the resident “computer geek” in SaddleBrooke who can assist if you find yourself challenged by computer stuff.
Jeff Stolze, another SaddleBrooke Ranch resident, plays in our Competitive league and enjoys umpiring each week when not riding his Harley. Paul Schwin, a Cleveland native, began umpiring in Ohio area softball leagues and still does the snowbird thing since arriving seven years ago.
Steve Grabell is our umpire scheduler and many of you may know him as being the “Chief” usher and greeter at our DesertView Theater performances. So to sum it up, even if you don’t wish to lace it up again on the field, we have an opportunity for men and women who wish to enjoy some outdoor time at the ball field. Contact SSSA President Mark Hojnacki at email@example.com if you get tired of losing arguments at home. We will put you in charge at SaddleBrooke Softball to make the right call!