SPARTA — Highland Youth Softball Organization recently honored “one of our favorite umpires” Jim Wharton.
On May 6, Wharton was recognized at the first HYSO home game for his oldest great granddaughter, Saylor Squires, who plays in the 8 and under division.
Every jersey has the orange COPD ribbon along with his initials, JW. Wharton was given a complimentary jersey and was asked to throw out the first pitch of the game.
HYSO is a first year, non-profit organization based in the Highland school district whose only focus is girls softball.
Every year, the group will be playing for a purpose in honor of a member of the community.
“Many of us have had the privilege of having him behind the plate. Always seen pulling in with his ‘Hey Blue’ license plate,” HYSO board members said.
Readers may remember Wharton worked as the sports editor at The Morrow County Sentinel for four years in the 1990s. He is a longtime newspaperman.
Wharton has written and published several books, mostly regarding Highland and Morrow County sports. He authored one on 6-man and 8-man football in the area.
He finally put down his umpire gear a few years ago. Soon after that he was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Now he enjoys watching his great-grandchildren play ball at the complex.
“This year we play for you, Mr. Wharton, in honor of your many years of dedication to the game.”
Highland Youth Softball Organization is composed of Michelle Croy, Ty Hicks, Dane and Shelly Mooty and Ginny West.