Tim Hughes loves his family, the Mets and umpiring Little League Baseball, probably in that order.

He’s been umpiring for about 20 years in the Mamakating Little League, on the same field he learned to play baseball. Like most of the players who have ever played youth ball, Hughes also dreamed of the big time, in his case umpiring at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Hughes got his call-up, so to speak, at Christmas when he was chosen to be one of 16 umpires for this week’s international championships. He departs Tuesday, and the games begin Thursday.

“I thought it was awesome,’’ Hughes, 53, said. “I am really looking forward to it. It means a lot to me.’’

Being selected for the Little League World Series is no lottery, though thousands apply for the once-in-a-lifetime privilege. Hughes has been considered one of the top umpires in the local District 19, encompassing Orange and Sullivan counties, and has earned the right to officiate postseason games at the district, section, state and regional levels. And the only way to be considered for Williamsport is to work at regionals, which almost didn’t come to pass back in 2010.

After years of waiting, Hughes was selected to work the Little League Baseball Eastern Regional in Bristol, Conn., and had to report by Aug. 4. His third daughter was due to be born July 31, and Tim told his wife, Michele, that there was no way he was going to miss her birth. “To me, my kids are my world,’’ he said.

Michele understood how important this Williamsport quest was for her husband and told him she would have a cesarean section if it came to that. Fortunately, Makayley arrived on time, and four days later the Hughes family trekked to Bristol for vacation as Tim worked the regional for 10 days.

“My wife is one of my biggest supporters,’’ Hughes said, his voice cracking. “I wouldn’t be here without her. I wouldn’t be going to Williamsport.’’

Hughes has been a die-hard Mets fan since he was a kid. His eldest daughter, Shealey, was named after Shea Stadium, and second daughter, Emiley, completed the family first initials spelling M-E-T-S, with Makaley adding insurance for the namesake.

The last required step for Williamsport was being assigned to one of Little League’s other World Series, so Tim and his family headed to Livermore, Calif., last year so he could work the Intermediate Baseball World Series.

Hughes got into umpiring by accident. He decided to attend his nephew’s Little League game one night and the contest was delayed because no umpires had shown up. Soon enough, Hughes signed up to be an umpire, and has volunteered in the Mamakating Little League in a variety of positions for two decades — he is currently its treasurer.

“I’m a kid-oriented person,’’ Hughes said. “I love kids. I always try to help them the best that I can. Volunteering to umpire is one thing. I always try to make sure at the end of the day that all the kids had a great day of fun and a memorable experience on the field.’’

Hughes has developed a reputation for being a consistent balls-and-strikes umpire behind the plate. He keeps the peace but Hughes — who serves as a correctional officer in Napanoch — is not afraid to throw out an unruly coach, player or parent. “People know not to push my buttons too far,’’ he said. As for any habits, Hughes must have a frozen bottle of water on hand to drink during a game.

John Bell of Port Jervis Little League, who worked the 2013 Little League World Series, has been umpiring District 19 all-star games with Hughes for years.

“One thing about him is he reminds me of a catcher,’’ Bell said of Hughes. “He is just so into it. Catchers run the game. Catchers are driving the bus. He’s like that. He is so into the game, he is so excited in a good way. He takes it seriously. That’s why he has gotten to this level.’’

Hughes is the third District 19 umpire to work in Williamsport, following Bell and Town of Newburgh’s Frank Policano in 1979.

“I think we will be very pleased with Timmy,’’ said Policano, 84, who is also the East Region’s umpire-in-chief and a supervisor at Williamsport since 1989. “He’s had great dedication with Mamakating (Little League) and all the years that he has worked up there. Just a great guy. You can count on him. … It’s an honor to have him picked to do this here.’’

Hughes is no stranger to Williamsport — he has been taking his daughters to the famous home of the Little League major baseball championships for years. This year will be very different since he will be manning one of six umpiring positions on the field, sometimes twice or three times in a day. And instead of an audience as small as a dozen at his home diamond, now there will be an audience of 10,000 in the stands and upwards of 30,000 more surrounding the field, plus a worldwide television audience in the millions.

“It’s definitely on your mind, of course,’’ said, Hughes, who umpired a game in front of 9,500 one time at Eastern Regionals. “The kids are striving to be World champions and United States champions. There’s a lot at stake, absolutely.’’

Bell has done his best to give Hughes all the tips from his experience, and Little League brought all 16 umpires to Williamsport in May for an orientation course, even umpiring a couple of local games to get a feel. “To me that helped tremendously,’’ Hughes said.

The best piece of advice, though, was simply embrace the experience.

“You are there to do a job and umpire,’’ Hughes said, “but enjoy it while you’re doing it.’’

kmcmillan@th-record.com

Twitter: @KenMcMillanTHR