SIMSBURY – Mitch Gross has been volunteering as a Little League umpire for 20 years. This year, he earned an invitation to be an umpire at one of the nine Little League World Series championship tournaments.
Gross, a Simsbury resident, was selected to be an umpire at the Intermediate 50/70 World Series tournament in Livermore, California, just a short drive away from San Francisco. He was one of three umpires from District 6, where Canton, Avon and Simsbury compete in Little League baseball and softball, to be selected for a World Series assignment.
Torrington’s Dan Cisowski was selected to be an umpire at the Big League softball (ages 16-18) World Series in Delaware and Torrington’s Linn Baranowitz was chosen to be an umpire at the Junior League softball (ages 13-14) World Series in Kirkland, Washington.
It’s the highest honor for a Little League umpire to work a World Series.
It continues a tradition of excellence among District 6 umpires. In 2013, Canton’s Mike Comeau was selected to be a World Series umpire at the Little League softball championships in Portland, Oregon. A year ago, Canton’s Bob Barnes was honored with his selection to be a World Series umpire at the Junior Softball finals in Kirkland.
The Intermediate 50/70 tournament is a new tournament in Little League. This was just the fourth year. The difference is that the pitching mound is 50 feet away from the plate instead of 46 feet in Major Division (ages 11-12), the most popular age group in Little League. The basepaths are 70 feet long instead of 60 feet.
It’s an intermediate step for the players who next move up to the major league size diamond – 60 feet from the mound to home plate and basepaths of 90 feet. Players in the tournament are 12 and 13 years old and games are seven innings instead of six.
The Intermediate 50/70 tournament had 11 teams in the tournament including five international teams (Canada, South Korea, Curacao, Czech Republic, Puerto Rico) and six American squads. A team from Central East Maui in Hawaii beat undefeated South Korea in the championship game.
Click on the following link for additional photos of Gross working at the World Series.