Brisbane umpire James Shield with FNC pair Paul Latta and Geoff Hallman
Brisbane umpire James Shield with FNC pair Paul Latta and Geoff Hallman contributed

Local umpires create history

FAR North Coast baseball umpires Paul Latta and Geoff Hallmann reached a milestone when they took to the field to officiate in the Australian Baseball League at the weekend.

They officiated the game between the Brisbane Bandits and Canberra Cavalry at Holloway Field, in Brisbane.

This is the first time in FNC baseball's eighty-year history that two local umpires have officiated in the top league in Australian Baseball.

While Latta has umpired a number of ABL games in the past, this was Hallmann's debut at the top level.

Latta was the Umpire in Chief while Hallmann and Brisbane's James Shield, covered the bases.

Both umpires have a wealth of experience officiating games in numerous national junior tournaments and also spent six weeks in the United States at the Jim Evans Umpiring School to learn some of the finer points.

The umpiring school can take up 10 hours per day, six days a week under the guidance of Major League umpire Jim Evans.

In 2010, Latta was selected as the Australian representative umpire in Venezuela for the Women's World Series

Both Latta and Hallmann took up umpiring over 15 years ago in local competition games from juniors through to the top grade.

From there they have both fine-tuned their skills putting many hours behind the scenes to excel in the game

While the local team, Brisbane Bandits, were defeated 8-2, the umpiring was without incident which is what all players, spectators and officials hope for in any sporting game.

The game was part of the opening of the ABL season and the third in the series.

Both look forward to suiting up again at that level.



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