Daily Times, In The Community: Dutch trip a treat for longtime ump Pompilii
By Harry Chaykun, Special to the Times
It's been more than 45 years since Don "Legs" Logan of Chester asked Delco Baseball League player Sylvester "Sonny" Pompilii if he would be interested in becoming a softball umpire.
Pompilii hesitated at first before agreeing to give it a try. The retired Chester-Upland School District principal is still at it, preparing for another spring of working Atlantic 10, Big East, Ivy League and Colonial Athletic Conference games as well as fulfilling his duties as an ASA of PA deputy umpire-in-chief. He will be hosting a clinic for NCAA umpires at the Airport Marriott Saturday.
Last week, Pompilii returned from The Netherlands, where he was the American coordinator of umpires for the Indoor Cup of Softball, a three-day event which included teams from the host country, Great Britain, Italy, Russia, Czech Republic and the United States.
"Most of the other countries send teams of adult players or even their national team," Pompilii said. "The American players are mostly juniors and seniors in high school."
"The games are played with eight players because they have a short right field in each of the halls that they use, and we have a number of special rules. Each umpire works a minimum of six games, but they could work as many as nine during the tournament. The game is a lot faster, and each game has a 50-minute time limit, so there really aren't a lot of high scoring games."
After the tournament concluded, Pompilii and the American umpires spent some time in Paris before returning home.
"Every year, as the time for the tournament gets closer, I get excited about making another trip," Pompilii said. "You meet some great people from all over the world, and you always have a good time."
"One of the girls I talked to from Texas said that when she went back home to school she would have to write a paper about all of her experiences."
Susan Eds of Missouri, Tatem Stoelting from Texas and Joel Petrie, Tom Fitzsimmons and Bob Allen of Michigan were the umpires from the United States who worked with Pompilii in the tournament.
"We get so many emails every year from people who want to go to the tournament," said Pompilii, who worked the 16U national tournament at Delcastle Recretation Center in Delaware last summer. "I try to use the recommendations I get as well as going by what I've observed if I've seen someone umpire."
"It's a great experience and a very competitive tournament, and we want to make sure we have the right people who are there umpiring."
Pictured below: Chester resident Sonny Pompilii, third from left, joined, from left, Susan Eds of Missouri, Tatem Stoelting from Texas and Joel Petrie, Tom Fitzsimmons and Bob Allen of Michigan, on the umpiring staff at the Indoor Cup of Softball in The Netherlands.