FOR teenage boys at an all-girls tournament, Aiden Kelly and Mac Reith-Snare certainly made an impressive mark on the 2014 Australian All Schools Girls’ Softball Championship at Blacktown last week.
The Orange Softball Association duo umpired throughout the All Schools championship, with Reith-Snare earning the prestigious role of plate umpire for the final.
Kelly, too, impressed Softball Australia appointments board members and took pride of place as a base umpire in the first versus fourth semi-final.
Both say the tournament was extremely rewarding.
“I thought it was fun. I learnt a fair bit out of it. A lot of more experienced umpires were there and gave me a lot of feedback on stuff to work on. That was really good,” Kelly said, enjoying his best year in four years of umpiring.
“I took a lot out of it and hopefully I can do it again next year.”
Reith-Snare said the standard of softball, particularly in the final, was something he won’t forget.
But with that standard comes added pressure.
“It can be (tough), definitely,” Reith-Snare, 14, said.
“It’s high school for one thing, I suppose the coaches are a bit tougher because it is high school.”
Kelly enjoyed the lift in competition.
“As Mac said, because it’s a high school tournament, the level of ability is a bit higher, the games are just that little bit more intense,” the 15-year-old Kelly said.
“And then players and coaches are trying to do everything to win. It just bumps it up a bit and makes it more fun.”
Umpiring at the Australian All Schools Girls’ Softball Championship was a definitive goal of both this season, and with the success achieved, particularly Reith-Snare’s appointment as home plate umpire in the final, both can expect higher officiating honours in the future.
“There’s the state championships after this, then appointments in Sydney,” Reith-Snare said.
“With Aiden doing the base umpiring for the one-v-four game, they know he’s capable of doing that in another final ... or with me umpiring in the final, it’s the exact same thing. You get more appointments out of it.”