It’s been quite a year for Lynn sports officials.
Jim Mello, a 1975 St. Mary’s High School graduate, was a referee in the NFL’s Super Bowl in February. Paul Halloran and Bob “Moona” Mullins were referees in the Division 3 boys basketball state championship game in March.
And next week Lynn’s Joe Gill heads to Pittsfield, Mass. where he will serve as the umpire-in-chief for the Babe Ruth Softball 16-Under World Series.
At 23 years old, the St. Mary’s High School and St. Anselm College graduate is believed to be the youngest person ever to hold the crew chief position at a World Series.
Gill views the assignment as the top achievement in his umpiring career to-date.
“It’s an honor to be the crew chief for the umpires at the World Series,” said Gill. “Being the youngest umpire-in-chief and the only one from Massachusetts for a World Series brings some added pressure but I am up to the challenge.”
In addition to his overall leadership role, Gill will umpire 12-15 games in the tournament and serve as the home plate umpire for the World Series championship game. This is Gill’s second World Series, having previously officiated at the 12-Under national tournament in 2012 in Florida.
Gill will oversee a staff of 12 umpires and will delegate assignments in pool play for four games happening simultaneously at four different fields.
There are 16 teams in the World Series. Rochester, New Hampshire is the New England champion. Massachusetts teams from Plymouth and Pittsfield are the host state teams.
Gill has been a certified umpire for 10 years and a member of the North Shore Baseball Umpires Associatuon for seven years, and Babe Ruth for six years.
He said the games at the World Series can be pressure packed because there is a national championship at stake.
“There is definitely pressure on everyone involved including the umpires but at the same time it is a lot of fun. I have met a lot of people who have taken me under their wing including Skip Mageary, Russ Smith, Tom Lepley, and Jim Rivers, and shown me the ins-and-outs of umpiring. If I put to use their helpful advice and my training from over the years then I am confident I will deliver a strong performance.”
Gill said the coaches at the World Series immediately notice his Boston roots.
“I have an extremely thick accent so when people hear it, especially the teams from the south, they get a huge kick out of it. I always get asked to say “car” or any other “ar” word. I shortly earn the nickname, ‘Boston,’ after that.”
Gill is looking forward to next week’s World Series.
“It is a privilege and an honor to work with such a high level of umpires and task force members. These teams have worked all season in an attempt to win this national championship, and there is no place I would rather be than on the field with my fellow umpires to help crown the winner.”