TROY – Jim Merz, a well-known OHSAA high school basketball, football and baseball official was recently behind the plate umpiring a Greenville American Legion Post 140 tournament baseball game between Greenville and the Dayton Force at Troy’s Duke Park, along with two other generations of his family.
“I’m not sure there are any more grandpa, son and grandson officiating crews like that around,” Merz said.
Umpiring first base was grandson Brayden Peake, while son Ian Merz was making the calls at third base.
The umpiring crew of grandfather, son and grandson all reside in Miami County’s Bethel Township where the threesome all attended Bethel High School.
Now in his 42nd season umpiring baseball, Jim also has more than 30 years officiating OHSAA basketball and football.
Jim’s son Ian, a 2006 Bethel High School graduate, played baseball, basketball and football for the Bees.
“It’s a great feeling,” Ian said of officiating with family. “I love working with my dad and nephew.”
Jim’s grandson, Brayden Peake, the son of Jim’s daughter and nephew of Ian, is a 15-year-old student at Bethel High School where he is a three-sport athlete competing in baseball, basketball and football — and he and looks much older than his 15 years in his blue umpiring uniform.
“I started two years ago,” Brayden said. “It’s a pretty cool experience.”
With many high school officials walking away from all sports, boys and girls, Brayden encourages his peers to get involved in officiating.
“Definitely get involved,” Brayden said. “It’s an experience like no other. You get to connect with the kids more and be out there, get a little exercise — and make a little bit of money too.”
Contact Sports Editor Gaylen Blosser at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 853-6390-Ext. 1751. Read more news, features and sports a DarkeCountyMedia.com.