Female umpire Jen Pawol to work home plate in Triple-A championship

September 29th, 2023

The Triple-A National Championship game is a way for fans to see future stars on the mound and at the plate.

But it’s also a chance to see those behind the plate before they reach The Show.

Jen Pawol, who earlier this season became the first woman to umpire at the Minors’ highest level in 34 years, will be the home-plate umpire for the Triple-A National Championship game between the Norfolk Tides and the Oklahoma City Dodgers in Las Vegas on Saturday, which airs at 10 p.m. ET on MLB Network and MLB.com.

“I am honored to be selected to work home plate for the Triple-A Championship,” said Pawol, one of five women to umpire in pro ball (and the only one to do so above Single-A) in 2023. “This assignment is certainly the highlight of my umpiring career so far. I want to thank my regular-season partners, crew chief Jonathan Parra and Austin Jones, for their support and camaraderie all season.”

Pawol will work home plate in the championship game between the Orioles' and the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliates.

Pawol played softball at Hofstra University and at the Amateur Softball Association Major Fast Pitch level for 10 years before she made the transition to umpiring. The former catcher worked college softball games and made stops at the Big 10.

Like many MLB prospects, Pawol began her affiliated career in Rookie ball, umpiring in the Gulf Coast League (now known as the Florida Complex League) and becoming the seventh female umpire in Minor League Baseball history in 2016. 

"For me, personally, I just love doing the job," she said before starting that campaign. "I'm passionate about it, and it's just part of who I am."

Pawol has advanced steadily through the ranks, calling MLB Spring Training contests and games at the Single-A, High-A and Double-A levels before earning a promotion to Triple-A, where she has called both Pacific Coast and International League games in 2023.

“I got to see her in Salt Lake,” said Oklahoma City manager Travis Barbary. “She did a great job, and I'm sure she's excited to be a part of the championship game.”

Pawol also helps the next generation as an instructor at the 2023 MLB Umpire Prospect Development Camp. This season, the 46-year-old was one of five women to umpire in affiliate ball, along with Isabella Robb (Single-A Florida State League), Lianna Rix (Rookie-level Arizona Complex League), Gina Quartararo (ACL) and Xcaret Ramirez (ACL).

Pawol has continued to burnish her résumé at the highest level of Minor League Baseball, culminating with the opportunity to call balls and strikes in the championship matchup and beyond this fall.

“Jen’s continued development in Triple-A merits the home-plate assignment for this weekend’s championship game in Las Vegas,” said Rich Rieker, MLB’s director of umpire development. “We also look forward to seeing her in upcoming Arizona Fall League games as she continues on her path.”