The Star-Herald

Local umpire, back from Virginia, gains national honor

David DeMerchant of Presque Isle recently returned from Sterling, Virginia, after umpiring in the Class B 16-U Girls’ Fast Pitch National Softball Championships.  

The tournament was held July 25-31 and DeMerchant had the honor of working the championship game.

This was the fourth consecutive year that DeMerchant was selected to umpire in a national tournament. Selection is based on past national and local tournament experience, according to DeMerchant.

“All these tournaments have exceptional talent, with pitching being very dominant and scoring very low,” DeMerchant said. “It’s a chance to be selected and represent Maine and meet other umpires from around the country.”

He had also worked a national men’s tournament in Florida in 1999.

DeMerchant just completed his 34th year as a softball umpire. He was busy this summer umpiring Junior Olympic girls softball tournaments in South Portland and in Lowell, Newburyport and Tewksbury, all in Massachusetts.

“It’s a lot of work to get to this level and demands lots of travel, time and money,” he added. “You don’t get rich doing these tournaments as game fees range from $30 to $45 per game, and you get around 10 games per tournament, but it’s about meeting others who have the same interest and seeing new places.”

One of the prestigious honors he recently received is induction into the National Indicator Fraternity. To qualify, umpires must be affiliated with the American Softball Association for at least seven years, have experience umpiring in at least three national tournaments and be recommended by their state commissioner and regional umpire-in-chief.

DeMerchant is only the 27th umpire from Maine to gain this honor and the only one north of Bangor. Of the more than 60,000 softball umpires in the United States, only 3,000 are part of the indicator fraternity. His name appears under the umpires’ section of the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

He is also a member of the gold, silver, bronze and blue ASA umpire medals program.

DeMerchant is a member of the Northern Maine Board of Approved Softball Umpires and has been umpiring since 1978. He also officiates soccer, basketball and baseball.

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