Bill Vikara to be umpire in Little League World Series in August
- Gulf Clean Energy Center employee invited to be one of 16 umps in the world-famous youth baseball tournament.
July 22, 2022

Bill Vikara has reached the big leagues of youth umpiring.

A principal technical services specialist at the Gulf Clean Energy Center, Bill will be one of 16 umpires to work the 2022 Little League World Series (LLWS) from Aug. 17-28 at South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

The baseball tournament for 10-12-year-olds, features 10 teams from the U.S. and 10 teams from around the world. Games will be broadcast on ESPN.

“It’s a big deal,” Bill said. “This is the ultimate place to umpire for youth baseball.”

The amazing thing is that he has only been umpiring for 12 years. It started when his son, Andrew started playing baseball in Georgia as a 7-year-old.

“They said we need some volunteer umpires, and would you be interested, and I said why not,” he said. “It ballooned from there. The best thing for me was my very first batter when I was behind the plate hit a home run. I was hooked.”

Bill began umpiring local youth leagues, district tournaments and regional tournaments. In 2015, he was selected to work a LLWS qualifier.

He takes umpiring training sessions every year and says it’s similar to what he does at the Gulf Clean Energy Center.

“It’s all about continuous improvement,” he said. “Every day, people expect you to be 100% accurate all the time, but that’s not feasible. After the game, the umps talk about what happened and it’s an opportunity to get better. Even if I felt like I had a good game, there’s always something you can improve upon.”

It also helped that Bill worked in the Georgia area, which is an “umpire factory.” He will be the fifth LLWS umpire from that park.

He received the official invitation from the LLWS to umpire in 2020, but it was delayed because of COVID-19 until this year.

Marshall Casey, who was the umpire chief for the Southeast Region at that time, said Bill wouldn’t have received an invitation to umpire in the LLWS if he wasn’t doing a great job.

“He just took everything you gave him and applied it to his umpiring,” Marshall said. “Bill started out working with good umpires. They helped him get started in the right direction, but Bill was eager to learn more. He will do a tremendous job.”

Bill is now the District 1 umpire in chief for Florida, one of 23 districts in the state. He has continued prepping this summer by working youth baseball tournaments each weekend.

He began umpiring high school games in the Pensacola area this year and often his umpire mate is his wife, Jessica, who is a highly regarded softball umpire as well. And their oldest son, Andrew – the one who played T-ball where Bill got his umpiring start – is now umpiring as well.

Bill has been to the LLWS before. As a child growing up in New York, he and his father would drive over to South Williiamsport to watch some games. He attended the LLWS in 2019 to watch a friend work as an umpire and was there in May this year for orientation.

He will leave on Aug. 10 to prep for the tournament and a lifetime of memories.

“It’s just surreal,” he said. “Each day it gets closer, the excitement starts to build a little more.”