The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


May 28, 2013

Baseball: More than a game for Valley ump

Wife's illness puts benefit in new light


"The prognosis is good, and we're just hoping for the best. That's all you can do," he said. "With the support of a whole lot of very good friends and family, we're fighting it."

Also joining the fight are those involved in Saturday's game. High schools involved include Hughesville, Williamsport, South Williamsport, Jersey Shore, Montgomery, Muncy, Milton, Montoursville, Loyalsock, Central Columbia, Warrior Run, St. John Neumann and Danville, according to the event's web site.

Admission to the game is $2, with items from various sponsors and donors being auctioned. Donations will be collected during the game.

Jake King, an assistant coach for Hughesville and a member of the committee that helped make the event a reality, said the idea first came about while thinking of fund raiser opportunities for the program. King said fellow assistant Mike Earnst thought of the game, and the idea quickly evolved into something far larger than a team fund raiser.

"It's so nice that the conversation started with fund raising for the program and for the team, and it kind of spun into, 'Well, what about this?'" King said.

A discussion between King and other members of Hughesville's staff also sparked a show of support for Nickey.

Not long after his wife was diagnosed, Nickey worked a Hughesville game. Having heard what happened, King and the Spartans decided to wear pink shirts that honored Chris, something Nickey said brought tears to his eyes.

"Joe's just not my favorite umpire. If you talk to a lot of the coaches and players in this area, you'll find that -- as much as umpires are disliked -- Joe is very well-liked," King said. "He's a good official and he's just a good guy. I wanted to make sure that he knew that our program was behind him."

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