CANTON — For the second straight season, an umpire from Canton will on the diamond at the Little League Softball World Series in Kirkland, Washington.
A year ago, Canton native Michael Comeau was one of 12 umpires selected to work at the World Series. This year, Canton resident Bob Barnes has been recognized and selected to work at the World Series.
It’s the highest honor that Little League baseball and softball can bestow on an umpire and the selection means that the umpire is considered among the best in the world. Barnes was nominated by officials from Connecticut’s District 6 and the Eastern Region.
Barnes will umpire at the Junior Division Softball World Series on August 10-16. Teams include players who are 13 and 14 years old.
“You know what to expect when you work with Bob. Each time you do a game with him, you’re doing a game with a very professional umpire,” said Jeff Rheault of Terryville. “It was no surprise he was asked to do a game at a higher level. You prove yourself at the district level and you need to prove yourself at the state level.”
Barnes has been an umpire in Canton and District 6 for 12 years. He played basketball and baseball in high school in Orleans, Vt., and dabbled in a little umpiring when he was younger.
“I’ve always been a rules junkie whether it is baseball or golf. I want to know how the game works and its mechanics,” Barnes said.
He umpires baseball and softball games. He serves as the assistant umpire in charge in District 6 and is a member of the Board of Directors of Canton Little League. “It’s a good way to give back to my community,” Barnes said.
Barnes and his wife, Dotty, have two children, Emily, 15, and Sam, 13. Emily and Sam both participated in Little League. Sam is now a youth umpire in Canton.
“You get a front row seat to some of the best games in town. I enjoy being on the field and working with the kids,” he said. “It keeps me fit. It keeps me moving and it gets me outside. I really enjoy it.”
There are some differences between baseball and softball. “Girls say please and thank you. Their demeanor is different,” he said. “But it is very competitive at this level. Softball is a faster game.”
Barnes is one of five umpires from District 6 to be selected to umpire regional events. Barnes is the only one going to the World Series this year.
“To get chosen for any of these (national or regional) events is an honor,” Rheault said.
Linn Baranowitz will be umpiring at the Eastern Regional Senior League softball tournament (ages 14-16) in Worcester, Mass.; Dan Cisowski and Comeau will be at the Eastern Regional Big League softball (ages 14-18) tournament in Worcester; and Andy Resler was selected to be an umpire at the Eastern Regional Major Division baseball tournament in Bristol beginning this weekend.