The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

June 23, 2013

A Don McCormack column: Phone call paves way for step up

Paying a Sunday morning visit to the variety store...

Man in blue

Being selected to umpire in the state softball tournament never gets old hat for Rick Nemet, but even he admits he received a bonus when time came for the 2013 event the weekend of June 6-8 in Akron.

“It was originally scheduled to work the Division I state semifinal between Mentor and North Canton Hoover,” the former Jefferson boys basketball coach (not to mention, the high school for yours truly there) said. “But on Monday (of the week of the tournament), Jerry Fick (the Director of Softball Officials Development for the Ohio High School Athletic Association) called and changed me to do the plate for the Division II state championship game, which ended up being between (Newark) Licking Valley and (Springfield) Kenton Ridge.”

Nemet, one of the most well known and respect officials in both softball and volleyball in Northeast Ohio, admitted it made for an even more special trip to Firestone Stadium in Akron.

The game he worked did not start until 7 p.m. and was the final game played in the state tournament.

“It was cool,” he said. “That was quite an upcharge.”

Especially, considering the scores of the two games.

North Canton Hoover blew out Mentor in the game Nemet was slated to work, 15-3, in a five-inning, mercy-rule verdict.

However, Nemet’s contest in the D-II title game was a thriller, with Licking Valley holding off Kenton Ridge, 6-5. Licking Valley held a 6-2 lead going into the top of the seventh, but the visitors scored three times in the top of the frame to make it a nailbiter.

You can catch Nemet in action behind with plate — with fellow crew members Walter Opperman at first base, Charles Hall at second base and Bob Berzonsky at third base — on replays of the Division II championship game, which was played in 70-degree weather and took 104 minutes to complete, on STO.

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