NEWTON, NJ - History is being made at the Little League Baseball State Tournament in Newton this week. While the games are the highlight of the season for the players and their families, the series is notable because, for the first time since the tournament began in 1949, a woman, Christine Sammon, was assigned to umpire the tournament.
"No pressure," Sammon said learning she would be behind the plate for the first game of the series.
According to the organization, the 2017 state tournament marks the first time a woman had been appointed to work the series since it began 68 years ago in New Jersey.
Sammon's journey to the tournament began with her election to be the District 13 Umpire in Chief in Oaklyn. That high recommendation led her to be nominated to her position at the state tournament according to the organization.
Sammon said she has “had great games with five amazing umpires from all across the state."
Little League Baseball umpires are unpaid for their work; “volunteerism is an important part of the organization” they stress.
"District 13 staff would like to congratulate her for her service to the district and her dreams of working a Little League World Series," according to a statement released by the district. "Chris is also highly respected by her fellow district 13 umpires in blue."
The teams that are playing on the District 20 fields at Kittatinny this week end are;
- Section 1, Wayne, District 2
- Section 2, Washington Park of Jersey City, District 7
- Section 3, Holbrook, District 18
- Section 4, Swedesboro-Woolwich, District 15
The double elimination series began on Friday and runs through Sunday. There are six, possibly seven games in the series and Sammon will be in at least four of them.
Sammon lives in Oakly with her wife and their three children. She has been umpiring for nearly 10 years.
"The best part of the day was having my brother Paul [also an umpire] with me all day during the first game," Sammon said. "He encouraged and mentored me, helping to keep me calm. I'm so happy to have shared this with him. He's helped me to be the person and umpire I am."