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Like the players around her, umpire Jen Pawol has eyes set on the Major Leagues

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 10:01 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Until recently, a working Jen Pawol wasn’t used to being noticed. In fact, her unique job instructs her to do the opposite.

“Officials in general, we try to like lay low and just be invisible,” Pawol said. “Just do the work and then and then just leave the game, leave the situation,”

As Pawol’s career, that started in 2016, progresses, so does the spotlight. Powell has been featured on ESPN, Baseball’s Hall of Fame and MLB.com. She even wrote a book last year for kids to get into umping.

“Foul ball is foul ball, no matter what age you are,” Pawol explained.

Like most who work in sports, Pawol started by playing them.

“I just love being on the field,” Pawol said. “Ever since a {I was} little girl, just sports, baseball, had to be on the field. It’s just been ingrained in my DNA.”

As a catcher growing up, umping was the natural transition. Pawol now is an umpire in High-Class A Central, and has worked the opening two games for the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

Her aspirations are no different than any athlete, hoping to make it to the big leagues. She enjoys every part of the game, including spending a hotel-filled season with her partner, Tom ONeill.

“We’ll spend all the way to September 19 together,” Pawol said.

After that, its back to teaching the ones who will follow her footsteps, as more women are participating in umpiring than ever before.

“It’s really fun and enjoyable to be a role model for girls and women,” Pawol said. “It’s a great job. Woman are coming out and we’ve got woman in the system, the pipeline, just a really, really good time right now. Very encouraging "

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