Spring Training Games Feature First Female Umpire In 17 Years

Female Umpire Jen Pawol

Photo: CBS 12

For the first time in 17 years, a female umpire is working spring training Major League Baseball games.

47-year old Jen Pawol made her debut at Cacti Park of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach for Saturday's opener between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals.

“It was it was really, really an amazing feeling," said Pawol. “I greatly appreciate everyone's enthusiasm. Everyone's welcoming attitude on the field tonight was just very very special.”

Pawol says that during the game, the Astros bullpen coach ran out to tell her that he has a daughter who plays sports and that it was good to see her out there.

Her crew chief, Lance Barksdale, tells CBS 12 News that he'll never forget that night.

“It was neat. It's one of those games that I remember. You always remember your first World Series, first all-star game, but it's a special time for me to remember this time that I got to share it with her on the field tonight."

He says Pawol earned the spot.

The next day, she suited up for the Nationals-Marlins game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter.

Pawol has worked as an umpire for 18 years, including 10 in amateur baseball and 8 in the minor leagues.

She'll continue working spring training games in Palm Beach County over the next few weeks.

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