The Lower Hudson Valley Umpire Association (LHVUA) provides umpires for adult softball, little league (NY District 18), and travel teams in Rockland County. The Association also provides umpires for various charity tournaments in Rockland. The LHVUA was renamed from its former Rockland County ASA (1976-2017) in 2017, with the name change having become official in 2018. We have partnered with USABL since 2018, and our umpires also officiate in neighboring New Jersey.


The RCASA’s predecessor was the Orangetown Umpire’s Association, which was established in 1975 by Thaddeus (Ted) Mazzella. Ted (Mr. M) felt that since softball was becoming a booming sport in Rockland, he needed to train and provide enough umpires to officiate three softball leagues — two in Orangetown, and one in Bergen County, NJ. Twenty-two games were played weekly from April to July with playoffs stretching into September. His umpires learned softball rules and mechanics in six sessions at a local high school. In the 1980s, the sessions were increased to eight. One-umpire games were common during the regular season, with two umpires utilized in the playoffs. Each umpire earned $8.00 to $11.00 a game, while wearing light blue shirts and carrying whisk brooms.

Ted wanted to have official softball rules in Rockland County. So in 1976, the Rockland County ASA chapter was established. The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) was founded in 1933, which became the country’s governing body of softball rules (only 23 pages).

Mr. M was RCASA’s first Commissioner/UIC (1976-1986). He trained the first woman (Connie DiMaggio, Class of 1976) to become an ASA umpire. Ted also trained the first Little person (Harold Schulman, Class of 1977), and the first father and daughter umpires (Chris & Ann Joyce).

The Association would not be where it is today without the vision and leadership of Thaddeus (Ted) Mazzella.

In 1981, the Official Rules of Softball were established. The RCASA continued to provide umpires for adult softball leagues and girls’ softball, Ramapo ASA, and Clarkstown Girls’ Softball in the late 1990s early 2000s.

The Association also provided officials for some of the Little Leagues which included New City, Nanuet, Stony Point, and Congers.

When travel softball and baseball became a permanent part of the Rockland landscape, RCASA took on those games as well, which paid better than the Little Leagues at that time. The ‘S’ in ASA did mean softball, but the RCASA had — and has — umpires who are proficient in baseball as well.

We earned a reputation for being the ‘kinder, gentler’ umpire association. The Little League motto ‘Make the Right Call’ is what we strive for during a game. 

The RCASA was renowned for having women umpire Little League, Travel and adult softball games. Two women in our association were members of our board of directors. One continues to officiate games (all levels); and the other is ‘retired from umpiring,’ but is currently CFO of our Hank Jaxel/Bill Demarest College Scholarship Fund.

Our traditional light blue umpire shirts, worn mainly for softball, were augmented in 2017 with red umpire shirts for baseball. Along with plain navy blue umpire caps and ball bags, it gave members a new fresh look, so that we did not have to hear that the ’S’ in ASA meant softball — or some other ’S’ word — anymore.

In 2018, our new logo patches were worn on the light blue and the red umpire shirts, along with our new navy blue LHV caps.

The RCASA — now the LHVUA — continues to provide umpire clinics for new umpire candidates, as well as training youth umpires from the youth leagues that we officiate for. We’ve had youth umpires join the association(s) once they turned eighteen years of age.

The 2020 global pandemic saw baseball and softball almost grind to a halt. Some little leagues opted to have ‘a season.’ New ‘social distancing mechanics’ were put in place. Our umpires were calling balls and strikes from behind the pitcher. Social distancing guidelines kept participants ‘safe,’ and hand sanitizer and masks (see photos) were the ‘new normal.’

The LHVUA was the first umpire association in Rockland to wear our current black uniform items with gray umpire pants. A sharp look indeed!

The LHVUA continues to provide umpires for the youth and adult leagues in Rockland County.

References: Our Town Newspaper by Arthur R. Aldrich and Thaddeus (Ted) Mazzella.