Scot Allison was sitting at KSBar and Grille in Lexington when a big grin came across his face.
“I got the text message and I got this big grin across my face. I remember my wife asking me what was so funny. So, I handed her my phone and she saw the text and I saw her face light up,” said Allison.
After 34 years as an official, Allison received the news that he would be the home plate umpire for the Kentucky high school baseball state championship game.
“It was just very humbling to know after 34 years and all the effort. I’ve been to other state tournaments, but to call that championship game behind the plate was just going to be a great experience.”
Allison played football, basketball, and baseball at Nicholas County High School, graduating in 1988. His officiating career started the next year.
“I got into umpiring little league and softball and just felt I had a knack for it and I liked it. I liked being around the game. So, when I graduated high school, I knew I wasn’t going to play at the next level and it was just a way to stay in touch with the game.”
Since then, he’s officiated three state baseball tournaments in 2008, 2018, and 2023, and numerous region and district tournaments.
Scot’s dad, Larry Allison, coached baseball for 41 years and was an umpire for 13 of those and helped Scot get into officiating.
“My dad loved the game of baseball. I would call him every night and we would get to talk about what players looked good and what type of game it was.”
Scot thanked his dad and the veteran umpiring crew for his longevity and success as an official. This past season, Scott was named Outstanding Official of the Year for baseball by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.
“The training that I had and the veteran guys that I worked with really brought me along and had an understanding of the rules and understanding of the game. If it wasn’t for those guys I don’t know that I’d be where I’m at today.”
Allison has been a basketball official for over 30 years as well. Some of the biggest games, he says, are Campbell County and Bishop Brossart at Campbell County Middle School and Augusta and Bracken County at Augusta.
Like basketball, the 10th Region and 11th Region share officials under their baseball officiating association. In the state tournament, officials do not work games their home region is playing in or the games where the winner could advance to play their home region. The KHSAA and officiating association work together to assign officials to games.
With powerful 11th Region teams like Lexington Catholic, Tates Creek, Madison Central, Sayre, and Lafayette, and Campbell County and Harrison County in the 10th Region, Allison has called many high-profile games. However, it has also knocked him out of chances to officiate some state tournament games.
Being the person calling calling balls and strikes for every pitch would certainly be nerve wracking, especially in the capstone of Kentucky high school baseball. However, Scot was excited and ready for the opportunity.
“Back in the day when I started I would have gotten nervous. But, after working and seeing the teams I knew where going to play in the finals, there might have been a little nerves there in front of 3,500 plus people, but once they throw that first pitch it’s just a regular baseball game.”
This year’s state tournament was one of the most competitive in history. The average win margin was 1.8 runs, and the semifinal and championship games all had 2-1 scores.
The kids are ultimately the ones who decide the outcome of the game, but the teams in this year’s state championship game made it pretty straightforward from an umpiring perspective. There was only one strikeout looking in the game.
“I had one punch-out in the championship game and it’s pretty uncommon to see that. Neither team was overpowering. They just threw it, they swung the bat, and kids made plays.”
In those big games, officials try to become almost invisible on the field and on the court.
“You don’t want to be the center of attention because it’s for those kids and they deserve all the attention. If you can just do the best job to your ability and stay out of all it and let the kids decide everything, then that’s the rewarding experience right there.”
Scot also volunteered to call the inaugural 10th Region Baseball All-Star Game last month. Even after calling dozens of games this season, in all kinds of weather and three decades later, Scot says he still enjoys umpiring for the love of the game and for the kids playing America’s pastime.
“The main reason you keep doing this 34 years later is for the kids.”
Scot will soon start his 35th year of officiating in the 2023-24 school year.