Cape Cod, Mass. (August 10, 2004) - ECAC umpire Walter Bentson (Boston, Mass.) received the first annual Curly Clement Award last Sunday. The award was presented to the Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) Umpire of the Year at Spillane Field in Wareham prior to the Gatemen’s final home game of the season.
Twenty-five ECAC umpires, along with spouses, friends, and children paid tribute to Walter Bentson on Sunday, August 8. Despite a debilitating illness, he has worked behind the plate in more than 175 games this year at the college, junior college, high school, and top summer league levels. Bentson serves on the CBUA/New England Board of Directors and is the President of the Boston Park League, the oldest amateur baseball league in the country.
"Walter is not only a great umpire, but an inspiration to us all,” said Nick Zibelli, ECAC Director of Baseball Umpiring. “I tip my hat to the Cape Cod Baseball League for honoring Walter with the first annual Curly Clement Award."
The presentation was made by CCBL Commissioner Paul Galop and CCBL Umpire-in-Chief Sol Yas along with Zibelli. The Wareham crowd of 1,100 fans paid tribute to Bentson with a standing ovation.
"I am overwhelmed with the support shown by the CBUA membership,” said Rick Cacciatore, CBUA President. “There are strong ties that bind us together as sports officials. Walter is truly a focal point of the umpiring fraternity."
The ECAC, in its fourth consecutive season in assigning umpires for the CCBL, provided more than 9,500 umpiring assignments this past season for more than 250 institutions. There are 86 ECAC umpires that were assigned to the 660 Cape Cod Baseball League games this summer.
The ECAC's membership includes 321 Divisions I, II, and III colleges and universities from Maine to North Carolina. The conference provides services to its constituents that include: administration of 113 championships and events in 35 men's and women's sports; assigning officials in 15 sports; coordinating awards; administration of affiliate organizations, conventions, meetings, marketing, officiating, playing leagues, public relations and special events. The ECAC serves as the primary conference for selected members in the sports of men's and women's ice hockey, men's lacrosse, men's gymnastics, wrestling, fencing and rowing.