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Canton native selected to umpire at Little League World Series

Canton native Mike Comeau wlll be umpiring at the Little League World Series in Oregon, Aug. 8-14.

Canton native Mike Comeau will be umpiring at the Little League World Series in Oregon beginning Thursday and running through August 14.

A Canton native who walked onto the field as umpire for the first time because no one showed up to umpire his younger brother’s Little League game will be walking onto a softball diamond in Portland, Oregon on Thursday as an umpire in the Little League Softball World Series.

Michael Comeau, who began umpiring with Canton Little League in 2005, will be one of 12 umpires working the World Series, which runs through August 14.

Comeau was selected for his World Series assignment in May. 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.

“I have a great love for baseball and softball,” Comeau said. “I’m certainly past any playing days I might have so it keeps me involved in the game.”

Comeau was nominated by officials in Connecticut’s District 6 and the Eastern Region. His experience umpiring at Eastern Regional for Big League softball (ages 16-18) in Maryland in 2011 and the U-10 Eastern Regional softball tournament in Pennsylvania last year was a big plus.

Mike Comeau

Mike Comeau

Like all Little League umpires – even at the World Series, there is no pay. It is a volunteer position. The umpires pay for their own transportation and lodging. They take vacation time to umpire.

Comeau grew up in Canton and played Little League baseball, earning a spot on the All-Star team as a 12-year-old. He was a catcher on a Jaycee Courant team coached by his older brother, Matt, and the late Sim Kaye.

He played one year in the Canton High program but his baseball career came to an end when he was injured competing on the Canton wrestling team as a sophomore. He was wrestling to stay in shape for baseball.

Home from college one afternoon, Comeau was at his younger brother’s game (Eric) and coaches were combing the stands for someone to umpire because the assigned umpire wasn’t at the game. Comeau and his father volunteered and a seed was planted.

After graduating from Johns Hopkins, Comeau took a job at Hamilton Sunstrand. One afternoon, he was looking for something to do after work. He showed up at the Canton Little League field to see if he could help.

Yes, there was something he could do.

Canton Little League sent Comeau to umpiring school and put him to work the next spring. They also made him umpire in chief, responsible for coordinating the scheduling and training of the league’s umpires.

In 2009, he became umpire in chief for District 6, helping to coordinate scheduling for the regional baseball and softball tournaments and training. And Comeau helped step fill a void in the district, as well.

“When I first came, the district was in limbo,” said Michael Mentone, the current administrator for District 6. “The outgoing administrator hadn’t been around for a year. Mike kept the district afloat. He stepped up and keep the district going.”

Comeau spent three years as the umpire in chief in District 6, umpiring games in Canton and across the district, which includes the Farmington Valley and the northwest Connecticut towns of Torrington, Plymouth, Litchfield and Falls Village.

“He has boosted our umpiring by running clinics throughout the year,” Mentone said. “He has brought the level of umpiring up. He takes real pride in the umpires that were working with him. He wants to make sure they were well trained.”

Aside from Comeau, three other District 6 umpires received regional and World Series assignments this summer. Torrington’s Kenneth Resler is umpiring at the Big League Softball (ages 16-18) World Series in Delaware. Simsbury’s Mitch Gross is at the Junior League Baseball (ages 13-14) Eastern Regional in New Jersey while Torrington’s Walt Fisher umpired at the Little League Softball Eastern Regional in Bristol in late July.

“One of the things that makes Mike most remarkable is that he has no kids (playing Little League). That is unusual,” said fellow umpire Bob Barnes of Canton. “He does it because he loves the game and wants to help out.”

Many umpires get their start in Little League because their children are participating.

For Comeau, the season begins in January with off-season training classes for the district umpires. It ends in October with fall ball league games.

On many a summer night, Comeau is on the field umpiring baseball or softball. He enjoys the mental challenge and working with his fellow umpires.

“It’s a unique group of guys who have taken up the challenge to excel. You work as a team to do the best you can,” he said. “And there is the opportunity to learn and make yourself better.”

Comeau works at Pratt and Whitney in East Hartford. He is the lead engineer on an external design team. This spring, he stepped down from his District 6 position as umpire in chief after moving to Manchester. But he is still umpiring in the District and helping out whenever he can. He coordinated the scheduling for the recent Section II state tournament, which was hosted by District 6.

And he is out on the diamond, umpiring baseball and softball games across the state. And for the coming week, he will be across the continent umpiring at the World Series.

Mike Comeau stands ready for a pitch in a recent Junior Division state championship game.

Mike Comeau stands ready for a pitch in a recent Junior Division state championship game.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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