Reggie Johnson peers in at the plate while working the bases during a Marysville High School baseball game earlier this season. The Marysville resident has earned his first state tournament assignment. He will work second base during a Division II state semifinal game at Huntington Park in Columbus on Friday.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
Umpires, just like coaches, have to work their way up the ladder until they reach what they consider to be the pinnacle of their careers.
Marysville resident Reggie Johnson knows all about that climb, which started 11 years ago.
“My first-ever game that I umpired was at Marysville Middle School,” he chuckled.
From that first junior high game, Johnson kept going up the rungs of success.
His venture was steady and now the hard work has paid off.
Johnson will umpire one of the high school Division II state semifinal games on Friday at 7 p.m. at Huntington Park in Columbus. That game will feature Tallmadge against Dayton Chaminade-Julienne.
“I was just flabbergasted when I found out I had earned a state tournament game,” Johnson told the Journal-Tribune.
Johnson said he was notified of the assignment right before the start of the 2018 high school season.
He was supposed to umpire a Division I state semifinal game. Those games are set for 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Friday.
Due to a scheduling conflict with an umpire on Johnson’s crew, they were switched to a D-II game that evening.
“I’m still blown away,” he said. “I never thought I’d get this assignment.
“It took me five years before I received my first tournament assignment of any kind,” he said.
Umpires for regional and state games are assigned by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
Those assignments come after umpires have been evaluated during regular season and lower-level post-season games.
Johnson, who has umpired in three regional and three district championship games, has also worked a lot of camps in under to improve his skills.
“It’s just an evaluation process that all umpires go through,” he said of the state selection.
Johnson will make calls at second base during the state semifinal game.
Prior to that, he worked a Division I regional championship game last Friday at Dublin Coffman High School.
High school is not the only level that Johnson was umpired throughout the years.
He’s been one of the men in blue for NAIA collegiate contests, as well as American Legion games, The Ohio State University Club level, men’s senior adult leagues and men’s amateur leagues.
Johnson, who is a test driver for the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty, has also been a boys and girls high school basketball official for 11 years. He has worked as high as the district tournament in that sport.
Johnson is on cloud nine about his upcoming baseball assignment.
“I’m very ecstatic, but I’m also humbled by it,” he said. “Not everybody gets to work a state tournament game.”
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