Josh Brown called umpiring in the Little League baseball state tournament a “huge honor” and a “humbling experience.”
Bradley Cherry is familiar with the feeling. He just completed his 15th go-round.
Aside from Cherry, no other District 6 umpire had worked the state tournament during his streak. Brown, Ashland American’s chief umpire, said he was the first representative of that league in more than 20 years.
Cherry is the third-year state tournament umpire coordinator. The 37-year-old said Brown did a fine job, which helped alleviate stress from Cherry and District 6 administrator Scott Shaffer. District 6 will host the state tournament next summer — likely in Grayson at the new sports complex set for May 2020 completion. The host district typically provides more umpires than others in the state.
Cherry continues to suit up because of “love for the game.”
Brown hasn’t stopped umpiring since his playing days reached a conclusion at age 18 at Alice Lloyd College. Also 37, Brown has nearly two decades of experience under his belt.
“The first umpiring I ever did was a men’s adult league,” Brown said. “I kinda got thrown to the wolves.”
Brown said last week in Prestonsburg opened his studious eyes.
“I learned so much from the veteran guys,” Brown said. “These guys were legit umpires.”
Brown said one of the best teams he saw was the Bowling Green 12-year-olds. Last year Bowling Green’s 12s represented Kentucky in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
“They had a kid playing first base who was 6-3, 220,” Brown said.
“I kept calling him Sean Casey,” he added, referring to the former Cincinnati Red.
Cherry and Brown, both of whom double as coaches, enjoy lending helpful advice to players during games.
“If I notice something where I can help a kid improve to make them a better ball player, I do it,” Brown said.
Cherry worked a Little League region tournament in Indianapolis in 2009. He said his goal is to one day call the Little League World Series.
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