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Published: Saturday, 6/10/2006

Parrish: Umpires return is good call

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Glad to see the umps? You bet. Hens catcher Max St-Pierre
greets regular umpires R.J. Thompson, left, and Chris Hubler.
Glad to see the umps? You bet. Hens catcher Max St-Pierre greets regular umpires R.J. Thompson, left, and Chris Hubler.
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Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish had a one-word description for the return of Triple-A umpires to Fifth Third Field for the first time this season.

"Beautiful," said Parrish with a smile on his face.

Minor-league umpires began this season on strike, forcing International League teams to use replacement umpires. The results, say managers around the league, were sometimes spotty.

"Some of the [replacement] guys were bad enough that anyone in the ballpark could have called it - except the guy calling it," Parrish said. "And I've had fans all over the league come up to me and say, 'Those umpires stuck it to you tonight.' The fans know."

One reason Parrish was happy that the regular umpires returned was because of what he felt was their superior ability to call balls and strikes.

"They call a breaking ball better. That was obvious from the first inning on," Parrish said of last night's umpires. "Tonight, when the balls went by the hitters I had an idea whether it was a ball or a strike."

Ottawa manager Dave Trembley also was happy to have the regular umpires back.

"I'm just glad for the game that the professional umpires are back," he said. "It's good for the game [to have them back]. It's good for the players. And it's good for the league."

WELCOME HOME: Bowling Green native Andy Tracy made his first appearance at Fifth Third Field since 2002. He is Ottawa's everyday first baseman after coming to the Baltimore organization in a trade with Cleveland in February.

He went 1-for-3 last night with a double and added a walk in the 1-0, 10-inning win by the Lynx. On the season Tracy is hitting .260 and leads the team with 10 homers and 34 RBIs.

HOME RUN DERBY: The Mud Hens will host local high school baseball players trying to qualify for a spot in the Triple-A All-Star Game's home run derby. The competition will continue until July 3, when the top four high school hitters in the points standings will be invited to join the top home-run hitters in Triple-A baseball at Fifth Third Field July 10. The top two high school hitters will compete with the players. The third and fourth-place finishers will shag balls in the outfield.

The leader is Perrysburg's Nick Hefner, with six points, while Whitmer's Steve Sumner is second with five. St. Francis' Aaron Dudley and New Riegel's Travis Nye are tied for third with two points each.

THREE-DOT DATA: Jack Hannahan's seven-game hitting streak ended with an 0-for-4. Ottawa's Shawn McCart was at Fifth Third Field for the first radio broadcast of a road game in the team's 14-year history.



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