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He's out: Veteran Umpire Ben Heugel Retires

By Jarrett Guthrie, editor

TAMPA – After years on the diamonds of area high schools, it was only fitting that West Coast Umpires Association (WCUA) official Ben Heugel got just a little extra time on the field as Tuesday’s game at Gaither – his final game as an umpire - stretched into extra innings. Heugel, who spent 38 years calling balls and strikes, fair or foul, smelling the breath of arguing coaches, and from time-to-time, even taking a belly bump or two, worked his final game in the bucket on Tuesday as Gaither picked up a 3-2, district win over rival King.

Heugel, a graduate of King High and the University of South Florida, joined the WCUA and the Florida High School Athletics Association as an umpire in 1981, at the age of 17 and spent time in nearly every board position for the West Coast, including an eight-year stint as the association’s president. He also was chosen by his peers to work six state championship games, numerous region final games, and has been a dedicated i…

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