White Bluff’s Hank Freeman will realize dream to umpire at Little League World Series today at 2 pm

Hank Freeman

Hank Freeman

It’s not just kids that get the thrill of being a part of the 75th annual Little League World Series that starts today in South Williamsport, Pa. It also is an honor to be chosen as an umpire for the international event and Dickson County resident Hank Freeman will realize a dream of his own when he calls out “Play ball” at today’s first U.S. Division game. The White Bluff resident will be behind the plate to call balls and strikes when Jackie Robinson West of Chicago takes on Lynwood Pacific from Washington at 2 pm on ESPN and will spend the next 10 days working ballgames. Freeman has worked for years with leagues in White Bluff, Burns, Charlotte, Clarksville and Cheatham County as a volunteer umpire. Through an evaluation process, local leagues recommend umpires for district tournaments, then district administrators recommend umpires for state tournaments. To be selected for the regional tournaments, umpires first must be recommended by the district administrator. Freeman first worked a regional tournament in 2008 in Florida. Regional directors then recommend umpires for the various World Series events held across the country. Freeman’s six-year quest after his first regional tournament was rewarded this year when he got the call to go to Williamsport for the most famous Little League tournament in the world. “Being able to go is first and foremost a great honor and privilege,” Freeman said. “It is an opportunity, not to show off my skill, but to participate in a small way in an event that is all for the kids. It is an honor to be selected and an incredible privilege to be allowed to be on the field with these young athletes from around the world.” Freeman will not be on the field for any game that includes the Southeast Region champions from South Nashville, which features Robert Hassell III, the son of 1987 Dickson County High School graduate Robert Hassell II, giving Dickson County two connections to this year’s World Series.