|State Athletic Association Honors County Umpire
|06:07AM / Saturday, December 09, 2023
|Don Singleton, second from the left, prepares to work at game at Wahconah Park with his Berkshire County peers.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A fixture on the baseball diamonds of Berkshire County for three decades has earned statewide recognition.
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association recently named Don Singleton of Williamstown the 2022-23 Baseball Official of the Year in the commonwealth.
It is the latest in a recent string of statewide honors for local high school sports leaders.
Earlier this fall, Wahconah Regional High School coach and former athletic director Jared Shannon was named the MIAA's Unified Track and Field Coach of the Year, and Berkshire County Nordic Ski League director Joe Miller was awarded the MIAA's Distinguished Service Award.
Baseball's Singleton stands out for his even temperament and ability to communicate with players and coaches, according to his peers.
"While his engagement with the community in general is obvious and very noteworthy, it's his demeanor that is most remarkable," according to a nomination letter from the Berkshire County Baseball Umpires Association. "Don's knowledge of baseball rules and mechanics are excellent but it's his ability to communicate with players, coaches, parents and other umpires that sets him above his peers. He is calm, friendly, professional and has a wonderful sense of humor, which, can help to de-escalate tense moments during games."
Singleton has been honing his skills behind the plate since joining the BCBUA in 1992.
His ability as an umpire earned him opportunities to officiate MIAA state championship games seven times -- most recently in 2021. In the summer, he has worked six Cal Ripken World Series, five Babe Ruth World Series and one Little League World Series, in 2005.
In addition to his efforts on the field, Singleton has twice served as president of the county umpires association and has served as president of the local youth baseball league in his hometown.
Since 2004, Singleton has been the BCBUA's rules interpreter.
"He is a teacher, a coach, a mentor and a facilitator," the nomination letter reads. "He is very approachable and non-confrontational. Don is firm and can recites rules when he needs to but most often will apply the rules of the game not based on the rule book but the actual game situation. All very positive attributes of a high school official in any sport. He has personally recruited and trained several members of the BCBUA."
The MIAA will recognize Singleton at a banquet at the association's headquarters in Franklin on Thursday, Jan. 18.
"Having been selected for this award among multiple candidates, you stood out based on your dedication to the sport and officiating credentials," MIAA Associate Executive Director Richard Pearson said in a letter announcing Singleton's selection.
"It is with pride we will honor you as a representative of this important aspect of athletic competition. On behalf of MIAA student-athletes, school administrators and parents, we thank you for representing all officials in your sport."