Lochie loves all of the game
SOFTBALL: Whether its on the mound as a player, coach, or as an official, a Gladstone youngster is paving his way in the sport.
Lochie Martin is this week's Yaralla Sports Club Junior Sports Star winner and takes home $500 for his talents.
It was a unique situation which prompted the 16-year-old into umpiring.
"I was too old for a junior division and not old enough for the seniors so I took up umpiring so I could still be part of the game,” Lochie said.
He began softball umpiring in 2014 where he helped out at Saturday fixtures.
Over this time he umpired with more experienced members of our association, learning the rules and techniques required.
The following year Lochie began to seriously pursue an umpire pathway where he sat his level one exams and took an active umpiring role each week.
He was plating in most weekends in the under-13 or U15 competition.
He also stepped in whenever required in other competition fixtures.
In addition he plated in the U12 inter-school and representative school competitions as they arose.
In 2016 Lochie obtained his level two accreditation at the U15 Boys State Championships held in Rockhampton.
He remains the highest accredited Umpire for Softball Gladstone.
And it's a case of no news is good news after the games that he has umpired in.
"I like it most when people walk away from the game and all they talk about is the game....not the umpiring,” Lochie said.
"Then I know I've done a good job.”
Lochie said his experience as an umpire also allows him to take advantage of this as a player.
"I see the ball better when I'm batting and I think more strategically because I know the calls and then how to use them to our team's advantage,” Lochie explained.
In the 2016-17 season, Lochie took on a shared umpire co-ordinator's role for the Gladstone Softball Association where he began working with the junior members in a Green Shirt Program.
Lochie supported two juniors and one senior member to pass their 'on diamond check-list' and encouraged them to sit the level one exam.
Lochie continues to umpire at state fixtures for both Softball Queensland and Queensland School Sport and at national competitions to build on his expertise.
He continues umpiring at weekly fixtures in Gladstone and the local area, building his capabilities in the senior grades.
When asked what is more difficult - umpiring or playing - his answer was not really surprising.
"Umpiring because there is a more pressure on you to make sure that a game isn't decided by one of your calls,” Lochie said.
Lochie is currently working on his next goal which is to obtain his level three accreditation.
He also plays in Softball Gladstone's U19 and U17 representative sides and made the Capricornia Secondary Schoolboy team. He has also achieved his level two coaching accreditation and co-coaches the Indians in the Junior Fastpitch competition.
Umpired Junior and Senior Fixtures and Finals for Softball Gladstone - 2015-17
Umpired Junior and Senior Finals for Softball Bundaberg - 2017
Umpired U12 Primary Port Curtis and Capricornia Competition - 2016-17
Umpired 10-12 Qld School Sport State Titles 2016-17
Umpired U15 Boys National Championships 2017
Umpired U15 Boys Qld State Championships - 2016-17