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TeeBall, CoachPitch, Minor, Major Divisions and Junior League

ALL DIVISIONS:   Practices for all divisions may begin 2-3 weeks prior to opening day, if weather/field conditions permit.  "Little League Age" is the child's age as of August 31.

Tee Ball is for new players 5-6 years old who want to learn the fundamentals of hitting and fielding.  (4 year old's are also permitted with parent involvement, must and complete two years of tee ball).  In Tee Ball, players hit a ball off a batting tee. Pitching to the kids is not allowed in order to keep the game going quickly and to provide the most opportunities for fielders to make plays on batted balls.  Rules of the game may be varied to accommodate the need for teaching. The primary goals of Tee Ball are to instruct children in the fundamentals of baseball and to allow them to experience the value of teamwork while having FUN! Parents are strongly encouraged to become involved in this introduction level of Little League. After completing a Little League volunteer application and passing a required national background check, parents may become involved in practices, and be eligible as coaches, managers, umpires, local league board members and other volunteer positions within the league.  The only required equipment for tee ball is a glove.  Cleats are optional.  Balls, bats, tees, hats, helmets and shirts are provided.   Tee Ball is twice a week:  one "game" each week occurring Monday through Thursday evening 5/5:30 to 6/6:30 and one practice usually on Saturday mornings/afternoons (exact time to be determined by each individual coach/team.  Teams can practice Sundays too if it works better for them and there may even be some week night times available depending on how many kids sign up).  Practices and games should be approximately 1 hour (regardless of how many "innings" are played) due to kids attention span at this age!  No score is kept in games and all players bat each inning.  All plays are made to first base.  Players in the field should be rotated between 1st base, 2nd, SS, 3rd and the pitcher's mound to ensure equal opportunities for everyone to make plays in the field.  There is no "catcher" position and "outfielders" are only used if there are more than 5 players on a team.  The last batter in an inning clears the bases.  Fielders try to make a play at first only, and then the first baseman gets the ball back to the coach at home plate.  A coach should be at home plate assisting the batters with the tee and instructing on proper hitting technique and there should be a coach or coaches in the field keeping the fielders focused and ready to make a play on a batted ball.  Once the play is made to first, the first baseman should be throwing the ball to the coach at home plate.  "Outs" should be announced and the fielders encouraged to keep track of how many outs they get, explaining that in the upper divisions a team gets to bat once they get three outs.  Runners should be encouraged to get to first base as fast as possible and to over-run the base into foul territory to maximize their speed and for safety!  If a runner is out however, they do get to stay on base and finish advancing around the bases with each new batter.  Coaches for all tee ball teams are volunteer parents/family members/friends of tee ball players and we strongly encourage and support any participation! 

Coach Pitch and/or AA Minor Division is for some 6 year old's with one year of tee ball experience, but is mostly for 7/8 year old's.  In this division the focus is still on building skills and learning the basic rules of the game.  Kids are still learning how to throw and catch properly.  Coaches now pitch to the hitters and runners advance only one base at a time while fielders try to make FORCE outs at any base.   There are no tag-outs (this is to encourage players to think ahead about what they are going to do with the ball when they get it  and to avoid chasing runners to try to tag them rather than throwing the ball to your teammate).  Unlike tee-ball, a runner does go back to the dug out when they are "out".  Every batter bats each inning regardless of how many outs are recorded however.  There is no "catcher" position.  Infielders should play close to the infield grass and "outfielders" should play very shallow, almost on the infield.  Outfielders should get the ball in to the second baseman or shortstop while infielders should be looking to get the force out at the easiest base.  Outfielders should be rotated each inning or each game and all children should be getting opportunities at each position.  When pitching teams should agree upon an appropriate # of pitches that each batter will get to swing at.  Batters will be more focused when they know they only have 6 or seven pitches to try to get a hit.  After the agreed upon # of pitches, a coach can do soft-toss or use a tee to allow the hitter an opportunity to put the ball in play and run the bases.  Typical "games" are 1.5 hours long and usually 3-4 "innings".  Score is not kept and there are no standings or playoffs.  Before the game there is a half hour of practice time to work on throwing, catching, proper swinging techniques, base-running, fielding, etc.  Prior to Opening Day, teams will practice 2 days/week if fields are playable.  After Opening Day, Teams will have 2 games per week (typically Monday/Wed or Tues/Thurs) with the half hour of practice time before each game.  Make-up games are primarily scheduled for Fridays.  The only required equipment for coach pitch is a glove.  Cleats are optional.  Balls, bats, hats, helmets and shirts are provided.  Many kids will have their own bats and helmets at this level.  Baseball pants are strongly encouraged but not provided.

AAA and/or Minors Division is for "Little League age" mostly for 9/10 year old's who are ready for more competitive games very close to full baseball rules.  Some 8 years old's who have completed one year of coach pitch, may also be ready for this level.  While continuing to focus on player development the training is primarily done at the practice level.  The teams play two games per week along with a team practice.  Games are during the week and practices are typically on the weekends.  With some exceptions, full Little League rules apply to this division.  Some exceptions are a 90 minute time limit for games (no new inning will start after 90 minutes of play), a limit as to how many runs are scored per inning and a limit on how many stolen bases can be attempted per inning. Interleague play does occur with neighboring towns such as Dudley, Oxford, Charlton, Auburn, and Southbridge.

Major Division is our most competitive level of play within the LLB structure.  In 2016, we expanded to inter-league play with teams from District 5, as well as our usual intra-league schedule.  Major Division teams play 2 games during the week and practice 1 or 2 times each week as well. The division age level is for "Little League age" 10 - 12 year olds and some 9 year olds as well (selection to a Major team after "tryouts" and permission from Board member needed).  Although the players will continue to grow their baseball skills and knowledge, we still focus on playing the game for fun.  All 12 year-old players will be drafted to a Major Division roster.  The number of 9-11 year-olds is based on available roster spots and the player "evaluations" in March. 

Junior League Baseball is a minor division of the Senior League charter and is available for individuals 13 and 14 years of age who wish to continue to improve on their baseball skills concurrently with or in preparation for High School baseball. Games are played on a bigger field and teams travel regularly for away games agaisnt other town's JL teams.

Senior League Baseball is sometimes available if there is enough interest.  This division would be for individuals 15 and 16 years of age who wish to continue to improve on their baseball skills concurrently with or in preparation for High School baseball. Games are played on a bigger field and teams travel regularly for away games against other town's SL teams.

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