Local umpire headed to Little League World Series

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 10:43 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - “This is the pinnacle of Little League umpiring”.

That’s what Donnie Caudill says about being selected to call the Little League Baseball World Series.

His journey began in Harris County where he was a little league baseball coach for his son. As his son outgrew his baseball pants, Caudill’s love for little league grew even larger. For the past 14 years, he’s become a very successful umpire at Northern Little League.

“I put a lot into this every year and I’m very fortunate to be able to do it,” he said.

His experience includes calling three regional tournaments with his first one going back to 2015.

Caudill was in Warner Robins for the Southeast Softball Regional, which is one of his greatest memories.

“To call that softball tournament was something I thought I’d never reach that level,” he explained. “When I did, it was pretty amazing and now to be selected for this tournament is just mind blowing.”

Now, his favorite moments are the smiles on the players’ faces.

“They’re just innocent kids wanting to play a ball game. I just like being out here, and giving my time. It’s just a lot of fun and what I love doing.”

Caudill stresses the importance of being “level-headed” while being surrounded by fans, parents and coaches.

“You have to just go out there and call a game and understand that emotions are a big part of it,” he said. “You have to stay calm and call the game like you see it. The important part is you’ve got to diffuse it quickly.”

Bart Mace, District Umpire-in-Chief, has been alongside Caudill for years. Mace started his umpire career in 1999, later transferring to Northern in 2006. He calls Caudill a “good friend of the family” and enjoys watching him make a difference.

“He’s excelled at everything he’s done, and I’m happy for him,” he added.

Regarding the umpire shortage, both Mace and Caudill believe their jobs are all about the kids, not what’s going on behind the fences.

“We struggle to find umpires, but the good ones we have, we’re good with keeping them here for Little League, but I’ve seen at the high school level, there’s a real problem,” Mace said. “We should be out here for the kids, not for ourselves or mom and dad.”

For anyone looking to becoming an umpire, Caudill has one piece of advice:

“Just remember why you’re out here. Come in and focus on doing the best job you can do.”

Next on his to-do list is the Junior or Senior Baseball World Series. In the meantime, Caudill and 14 other umpires are preparing for the Little League World Series, which begins Aug. 16 on ESPN.