A baseball player, especially a pitcher, seldom expects to get recognition from an umpire and vice versa.
A pitcher always wants a close call and an umpire, of course, is never wrong. Such is the nature of an umpires relationship with a pitcher.
So when Richmond Hill pitcher Scott Strickland was recently honored by the Hinesville Officiating Association as their "Player of the Year" it was a huge surprise.
"I had heard of the award but never dreamed I might get it. I guess I did something to catch their eye." said Strickland on receiving the award. T
The Richmond Hill senior went on to take his turn to praise the umpires and the Hinesville Officials Association. "We really do have good officiating in our area, and I am very honored and thankful for the award".
Association president Bill Downs made the presentation at Beef O Brady’s this past Monday in front of family, friends and head coach Mitchell Curry.
Downs wished he could have presented the trophy in front of all Strickland ‘s team mates but lamented that it is always difficult when a baseball player wins the award because the season ends at the end of the school year.
Downs explained that all the athletes that compete in the sports the association officiates, including soccer, basketball, softball, and football are eligible for the award.
He has seen some talented players in other sports receive the award during his tenure, the most notable being the football brothers from Glennville, Shannon and Sterling Sharpe that both went on to successful professional careers, and they still keep their trophy in their respective offices.
The award has been nominated for, voted on, and purchased by, Hinesville Association officials for the past 30 years.
On his thoughts about this past season Strickland felt his Wildcat team was extremely talented and is proud that he was able to help them get back to the state playoffs in his final year.
While he acknowledged that he did not have as good a year pitching statistically as he did his junior year, he felt that he did have a good season and was satisfied with his effort.
He also was able to improve his batting average and drove in a lot of runs and played well in both the infield and outfield for the Wildcats.
Strickland who has signed to play for Augusta State University will report there at the beginning of August to start working out with the team.
Head coach Skip Site and Strickland have been in close contact throughout the season and he is hoping Strickland can make an early impact on a graduation depleted roster.
"They lost their best three hitters to injury this season so even though they got off to a fast start they only ended up around .500" explained Strickland on his new teams 2007 season.
Of their current status; "Coach Site has said with losing so many seniors he hopes to have me work in to the week-end rotation, which means I would pitch conference games".
That conference is the Peachbelt which includes Armstrong Atlantic University so local fans may have a chance to see Strickland on an area pitching mound again one day soon.