By Darryl G. Smart
When Mike Storoschuk began umpiring, it was just a way to be part of the game he loves. Little did he know, only a few years into wearing the blue, he not only had become a fixture on ball diamonds in and around the area, he would be rewarded for his leadership and hard work while calling balls and strikes.
Over the weekend, Baseball Ontario held its annual awards virtually, and Storoschuk was given the Dick Willis Memorial Award for Umpire of the Year -Level 3.
“I am honoured and humbled about winning the provincial Umpire of the Year – Level 3 award,” Storoschuk said. “It certainly was not expected, but appreciated in the sense that it is something that you work hard at for the love of the game of baseball. It was surprising to hear my name called out during the virtual ceremony as it was never on my radar. I was pretty thrilled.”
Storoschuk’s love of baseball can go back to his childhood, as he made a name for himself on the diamond as a player, and later on as a coach in the Simcoe Giants system. But once his kids were done playing, Storoschuk, a teacher at Lynndale Heights Public School, found a new calling.
“Umpiring is a great way to stay connected to a game that I have played, coached and been involved as a parent all of my life,” Storoschul said. “I have had the opportunity to umpire at several levels – rookie to senior and some Elite baseball games as well. Umpiring locally has given me opportunities to travel from Simcoe to Delhi, Tillsonburg, and Port Dover. It is always a pleasure to work with a partner in any game situation.”
Storoschuk said there are a number of great umpires in the area and he’s just happy to be part of that group of people he enjoys working alongside. Storoschuk said he leans on local umpires Ross Carson, Paul MacCormick, and Greg Zelem in several situations. And one thing they all stress is respect.
“A fellow coach who I had the pleasure of working with always said, ‘Respect the Game’ whether a player, coach or umpire, it is a common theme,” Storoschuk said.
As for being a mentor to young umpires, that’s something he always enjoys being part of.
“One thing I believe in, is don’t be afraid to ask questions to better yourself,” Storoschuk said. “When working with younger umpires, I’m always available to answer their questions or offer advice and provide lots of encouragement and praise.”
While Storoschuk won the Level 3 Umpire of the Year award, Simcoe Minor Baseball Association were recipients of two other Baseball Ontario awards. President Jeff Shortt earned the Don McKnight Memorial Award for Affiliate Volunteer of the Year, while Markus Woodley was named Player of the Year 13U and below.
Smart Sports Network will feature both individuals this week.