USA Softball of Maryland-DC-Delaware steps up for MLB All-Star Game Week

Aug. 06, 2018, 5:20 p.m. (ET)

Submitted by Steve Zawierucha, USA Softball of Maryland-DC-Delaware Umpire-in-Chief


USA Softball was well represented at Major League Baseball’s (MLB) All-Star Week.  In addition to participating at PLAY BALL Park for the third-consecutive year, USA Softball of Maryland-DC-Delaware also provided umpires for the inaugural All-Star Jennie Finch Classic and the Armed Services Classic. 


Up first was the Inaugural All-Star Jennie Finch Classic. An extension of the PLAY BALL program, the MLB, USA Softball and MLB Youth Softball Ambassador Jennie Finch brought in 10 Junior Olympic teams from across the county.  Composed of girls’ 17-Under from MLB Youth Academies, MLB’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program, Jennie Finch programming and USA Softball from around the country and Puerto Rico.  Players received instruction from Finch and other USA Softball National Team players and coaches and received all uniforms, equipment and apparel from MLB.


USA Softball of Maryland-DC-Delaware was honored to provide umpires for the four days of competition organized by Koely Kempisty, Coordinator for Baseball and Softball Development. After three days of intense competition, it all culminated with the Championship Game, held on Monday, July 16 at the Nationals Academy.  Playing in this game were the teams representing Compton, Calif. and the Nationals from Washington, D.C. with Compton winning the Championship. 


Working the Championship Game of the All-Star Jennie Finch Classic were Michael Hemphill, David Jefferson, Kerry Joseph and Ben Melson.  Also umpiring the All-Star Jennie Finch Classic were Joe Band, Diane Carden, Ken Daniel, Robert Kern, Lynn Krahling, Jon Johnson, Brad Jones and Kerry Joseph. 


USA Softball of Maryland-DC-Delaware also provided an officiating crew for the Championship Game of the inaugural “Armed Services Classic”, which took place on July 13 at Nationals Park. Serving as the opening event to the MLB All-Star Week festivities, the Armed Services Classic featured co-ed teams from each of the five branches of the U.S. military competing in round-robin action for the chance to compete in the Championship Game.  

Each roster was comprised of 16 active duty members from the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy. This event was a great opportunity to show appreciation for our Armed Services and is intended to be part of the All-Star activities moving forward. 

With round-robin action held June 2-3, the preliminaries ended with the Army and Air Force squads moving on to the finals. With the event open to the public and a free-ticketed event for service members and loved ones, tickets were distributed among the five military branches as well as military service organizations.

In the Championship finale, spectacular defense and timely hitting by both teams, encouraged by thousands of friends, family and service personnel, ended with Air Force winning by a 9-2 margin. 

After the conclusion of the game, a special home run contest took place where one pre-selected member from each military branch competed for a chance to hit in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday, July 16.  Two players advanced and later appeared in the televised Home Run Derby, which was aired live on national television.

USA Softball and USA Softball of Maryland-DC-Delaware worked hand-in-hand with MLB to make this happen.  Jack Hutcherson (Commissioner of USA Softball of Maryland-DC-Delaware) along with Jack Mowatt (Commissioner Emeritus) worked closely with Nicole Murray from the Washington Nationals  and David James from MLB while Steve Shortland (former Head Coach of the USA Softball Men’s Slow Pitch National Team and retired U.S. Air Force) worked as liaison with the teams and MLB.

USA Softball of Maryland-DC-Delaware was proud to have nine umpires get the call throughout the Armed Services Classic. Working the Championship Game were Ron Foushee, Beverly Funicelli, Jonathan Johnson, Bobby Kern, Trevor McCallam and Ryan Melson while Dan Garrison, Lorraine Gloster and Don Miller had the opportunity to work during round-robin play.