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SHEPHERDSVILLE - The Bullitt East Lady Chargers won’t be the only locals heading to Owensboro for this week’s Rawlings/Kentucky State Softball Tournament.
Umpire Tony Stivers, who works out of the Sixth/Seventh Region Association has been selected to work the three-day event in Owensboro. Stivers worked the Sixth Region Softball Tournament last week, being behind the plate for Bullitt East’s romp past Presentation and then being on the third base line for the semi-final game against Holy Cross.
(Another Bullitt County umpire, Jim Frans, who works out of the Eighth Region, was part of the umpiring crew for last year’s state tournament.)
This is Stivers eighth-year as a softball umpire in the Louisville area. Just recently, Stevers was recognized with the Jim Thorpe Award that goes each year to the Outstanding Umpire of the Year in the two Louisville regions.
This will be Stivers first working trip to the state tournament.
It was eight years ago that Stivers son, Chad, graduated from Bullitt Central after a strong basketball career. With the new free time, Stivers listened to friend Rob Johnson about the two of them doing what it took to become softball umpires.
Stivers did all the work only to have Johnson veer off at the last minute to become an assistant softball coach at North Bullitt. Eventually, Johnson became the head coach at North Bullitt for one year and now works as an assistant coach at Bullitt Central. Stivers stayed the course and stuck with umpiring.
“I do it because it is fun,” Stivers said recently before a post-season game. “It’s about the kids. I do it for the kids.
“When I got the award I told them that,” he added. “It’s all for the girls.”
Stivers reeled off a long list of umpires from Bullitt County who work either out of Louisville or for the Eighth Region. That group included Jimmy O’Brien, Mike Burke, Ron Flora, Jon Shoulders, Art Harbolt, Paul Kulmer and Richard Ramirez from the Louisville Region along with Jim Frans, Brad Frans and Rick Clements from the Eighth Region.
When he was younger, Stivers played some slo-pitch softball and he did a little umpiring at that time. Now, during the summer he works a few non-KHSAA softball events, but most of his work is done in the spring with the high school teams where he will work two to four days a week.