A possible shortage of local baseball umpires may affect the upcoming seasons of some high school and youth teams.

Kevin Loy of the Skagit Umpires Association said the group's ranks are shrinking and it needs folks to literally step up to the plate.

"We just squeaked by last year," Loy said. "That's not going to be the case this coming year. We are going to need some help."

The Skagit Umpires Association provides umpires for high school competition in 13 school districts. Its members also work American Legion games and local tournaments.

Those interested in becoming an umpire can call Loy at 360-421-8396 or email baseballskagit@gmail.com.

The association is planning to offer training sessions in late January with games beginning in early March and ending in late July.

In years past, the Skagit Umpires Association had as many as 25 umpires. Last season, that number was 16.

Loy said 22 is seen as just enough, while 24 or more would be optimal.

"We need folks," Loy said. "The average age of our association's members is 50. None of us is getting any younger.

"Umpiring is very rewarding. Every once in awhile, I walk off the diamond saying I did a hell of a job. Being an ump is a really good hobby once you get past that first year. It can be very entertaining. It's also a lot of fun."

— Reporter Vince Richardson: 360-416-2181, vrichardson@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter:@goskagit, Facebook.com/VinceReports/

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