Darrin Besescheck can’t pin down the exact moment when he felt the emotion welling up from inside.
Following a 17-year journey, the Shelton native was chosen to umpire at the 66th Little League World Series, and on Friday night found himself standing behind home plate and giving the signal to New Castle, Ind. pitcher Cayden Smekens to throw the first pitch to Gresham, Ore. batter Devon Batcher.
“It might have been during that first inning, but it was just a feeling of emotion, almost euphoria,” Besescheck, age 45, said on Monday afternoon.
“Personally, it wasn’t being at home plate, anywhere on the field is good for me.”
Besescheck took the time to catch up on living the dream between umpiring Europe’s rain-delayed game with Great Lakes, and then heading back to take the field with Chinese Taipei and Mexico on Monday night.
“It’s day-to-day scheduling now,” he said. “The only games I can’t cover are Fairfield and New Jersey from the Mid-Atlantic because they’re both considered from my area [Valley, District 3].”
A Notre Dame of Fairfield graduate, Besescheck began umpiring Little League baseball at age 16 with North End in Bridgeport.
“At the time I was thinking World Series, but I wanted to get better and attended as many camps and clinics as I could to learn the job,” he said.
“The whole experience has been fun. My wife Lisa came in on Friday and left Monday morning. My mom, daughter Alexa, sister and brother-and-law have been here.
“Tuesday, my son D.J. and my nephew Michael are coming in for the rest of the week.
Besescheck and the rest of the umpiring crew — 13 from the United States, one from Germany, one from Puerto Rico, and one from Canada — got into town on Tuesday, Aug. 14.
“We had two meetings the first day and another on Wednesday to go over all the organizational stuff, plus grounds-rules,” he said.
There are no egos among those in the umpiring crew. Just a bunch of guys who love baseball and want the best for the kids playing the game.
“You’re right, unless you are an umpire coming to Williamsport for the first [and only time] and you tell people, they say, ‘What’s the big deal?’
“We know it’s the pinnacle for us, top of the line.”
Plate umpires were microphones for sound, so Besescheck was told to be careful.
“They said to just be myself,” he said of his habit of talking with catchers from both teams.
“I just say stuff like nice throw, or isn’t this a great game. Hey, these are the only guys protecting me from the pitch.”
Downtime for the umpires is early in the morning or late at night.
“Our game between Japan and Chinese Taipei took three hours on Sunday night,” he said. “I went with my family to this great restaurant downtown and they were willing to serve us even though it was close to midnight.
“[Little League] treats us so well. They have the teams in the Grove and have us in a great hotel.
“Like I said, we all get along great, and our wives have formed a Wife Umpiring Club. I think they’re having a better time than us.
“An hour before every game the umpires meet for pre-game. We knew each other from facebook and emails and started poking fun at each other from the first day.
“We’re a bunch of grown-up kids having fun.”