Little League Needs Umpires

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Payson Little League is in dire need of baseball umpires and officials.

For those interested, Tracy Purtee -- who will serve this season as supervisor of umpires --ill host an organizational meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 27 at the Payson Public Library.

A portion of the evening will be dedicated to a training program for umpires. Follow-up training sessions will be held.

The program, Purtee said, will help prospective umpires gain valuable insights into how to conduct a Little League baseball game.

A typical working evening for umpires could begin about 4:30 p.m. Games continue until about 9:30 p.m.

The season gets under way April 26 and continues until June 20. Games are played on weekday evenings only.

This year, Payson Little League will feature 22 teams. The Major and Farm divisions will be made up of six teams each. Five teams are slated for the Minor division. The Senior division, which was made up of four teams last season, will have five squads this year.

Currently, Purtee has about nine umpires ready for the season, but would like to have at least six more on the roster. Candidates do not have to be certified, but should have a working knowledge of the sport.

According to Purtee, high school youngsters are eligible to apply.

Minor league umpires receive $15 per game. Major umpires earn $18 a game. Senior league umpires who work behind the plate earn $25 per game. Those who work the field are paid $22.

For more information, call Purtee at 478-4337.

Hoff speaks out

Former Payson High School football and track and field star Jeremy Hoff, now a member of the NAU team, had some interesting quotes after winning the Big Sky Men's Shot Put Indoor Championship with a personal best heave of 59 feet, 4 inches.

"It feels great to be a Big Sky champion. Ever since I was a freshman, this has been one of my goals," he told reporters. "I wanted to go out and do the best I could and beat as many of the Weber (College) guys as I could. I was happy with my throw, but I know I have more in me."

Hoff was slowed most of the season by cysts on his wrist. He's expected to undergo surgery soon, but will be ready for the spring outdoor season. Earlier this year, Hoff was elected one of the senior captains of the Lumberjack team.

Dedicated golfers

If dedication to your sport is a measure of success, the Longhorn golf team is on the verge of a banner season.

Several members of the team, frustrated they couldn't practice this week due to snow and wet fairways, drove to Phoenix for a few practice rounds. Before leaving, the group didn't know where they would play. Their game plan was to drive around and find a course they could get on quickly.

After a 10-day break from prep play, the team returns to action tomorrow (Saturday) at the Thatcher Invitational at Mount Graham Golf Course.

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