It’s an umpiring journey that starts in Bend. It could lead to the Little League World Series.
“I think initially I got the bug and I think once it’s in you, it’s in you,” said Oregon District 5 umpire consultant Dave Kramer. “I am passionate about umpiring, being with the kids and the game of baseball. It’s one of these things, that’s a lifelong thing once you start.”
Now a Bend North Little League Umpire, Kramer started his umping career back in 2006. He and former Bend North Little League Ump Derek Gillespie decided to make calls on the diamond when, at the time, the league had no umpires.
“First we tried to fill in, but we quickly realized we didn’t know what we were doing,” said Nevada District 1 umpire, Derek Gillespise.
After learning the game from a clinic both Derek and Dave were hooked.
“As much as I enjoyed coaching my son, I much more enjoyed umping than coaching,” said Gillespie.
For the first time in Bend North Little League history, two teams are in the regional tournament in the same year.
The Majors team will be in San Bernardino, California next week. Joining them on the diamond, making calls, will be Kramer.
“The cool little dovetail is that my good friend Derek Gillespie went with a Bend North team in 2014 and I am having the same opportunity this year to be with another Bend North Little League team,” said Kramer.
Oregon State Little League District 5 is hosting the juniors regionals tournament in Bend at Caldera High School this year.
If the Bend North Juniors team wins regionals, they head to the Little League World Series in Taylor, Michigan. Who would they see behind the plate? Former Bend North Little ump Derek Gillespie.
“I would be very proud to have that happen if Bend North made it there, but to be honest, it would be a little uncomfortable,” Gillespie said.
Umpiring for 16 years — not a paid position, but a volunteer one.
Now in a position to umpire at the highest levels of little league, from a league they got their umpire careers started in.