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Wallenpaupack Area Little League

What's New 2020!

Hello Wallenpaupack Little League Members,

 

We are very excited about the upcoming 2020 Baseball and Softball season. Every year, the Board of Directors and its members take time to discuss the prior season, what worked, what didn’t and what we can do to better the experience for the coaches, parents, and most importantly, the players. This year brought a few interesting issues to bear. Our goal is, and always has been to provide a fun learning environment for the kids of our area, while making sure safety is held above all else. Below is what’s new this upcoming season and what to expect…


We added an additional baseball division, the 50/70 Intermediate division. It is played on a slightly bigger field with 50’ pitching distance and 70’ base paths, instead of the 46’/60’ field that Little League Majors and below play on. This division also implements the more advanced rules and regulations making it more like school baseball and “the Pros”, allowing for leading before the pitch, pitchers able to pick off runners, on deck batters, and also adding one addition inning of play. This division allows for a wider age group, which also gives the opportunity for League Age 13 yr olds and chance to play one more year of Little League. There were a few main reasons for this addition, and will explain some of them now…

  • Little League International changed its league age cut off date a few years ago for baseball. This year, because of the rule change, there are several players that are 12 years old in sixth grade that are considered league age 13, so as we were constructed originally as a league these players could not play in little league or try out for the middle school team leaving them no place to play baseball this year. By adding this division, it does give these players an opportunity to play and not lose a season of baseball before they try out for the school teams.

  • After some Board Members spending time watching Middle school baseball last season, we came to realize that most of the 13 year olds moving on were not equipped with the proper skills, arm strength and baseball knowledge to succeed on the next level playing on the much larger 60’/90’ field with a completely different set of rules.

  • This division will be based around all 13 yr olds and to the 11 and 12 yr olds that possess the required skills and knowledge of the game. This decision was made to make sure that the skill range was not to far spread so the coaches and kids in this division could learn what is needed for the next step up.


In the Minors and Majors divisions, the target age groups have both been lowered by one age range (Majors 10-11, Minors 8-9) This does not mean that other ages cannot play in these divisions, but just like always, the skill sets needed to play in these divisions must be shown at the mandatory evaluations. Again, some of the reasons these decisions were made are as follows…

  • Many parents and coaches have expressed their concerns about the necessity of teaching the kids certain skill development that they don’t get until they are older, sometimes making it difficult to get the time and experience to perfect these skills.

  • A few rules have been modified based on each division to put more emphasis on player development. This will give the coaches an easier time to manage the game by game decisions to make sure players of all skill sets get the best experience within the rules and regulations that Little League International sets forth.


IMPORTANT INFO

We want to be as transparent as possible so parents can feel as much comfort as possible that Wallenpaupack Area Little League is putting the kids first. There have been many changes in Little League Baseball Rules and Regulations over the years since when some us parents have played. We want to take this chance to also help everyone understand which ones have changed, and which are myths of the years. Little League International allows for each Little League to modify some rules to help the demographic of their area and age groups. We will cover some of the important ones as follows

  • There is NO “must slide rule”. The rule states that a runner must avoid unnecessary contact. If contact is inevitable, then the runner must slide. There are many sub-quotes to this rule which we urge all coaches, players and parents to learn, but the myth is that a runner MUST slide at any play at a base, which is false.


  • Age groups defined by Little League International are Intermediate is 11-13 yr olds, Little League Majors is 9-12 yr olds, Minors is 5-11 yr olds, Tee Ball is 4-7 yr olds. Each Little League is given the right by Little League International to build divisions as they see fit (for example, adding the “Rookie” division, which is technically considered Minors Coach Pitch). Other than 12 yr olds, each Little League is given the right to place players based on skill development and for safety reasons. Little Leagues are NOT allowed to decline any 12 yr old that wants to be placed in Little League Majors division.


  • As per Little League International, Majors divisions MUST have evaluations, and MUST have a draft for team selection. Little league allows the local leagues to evaluate all other age groups and draft accordingly to maintain safety and a competitive balance.This is why every year, we state that evals are MANDATORY. This is Little Leagues way of making sure that during the draft, the team Managers (who are the ones that draft their own teams) have the opportunity to select the players on a fair and level ground. When a player is unable to attend the evaluations, the Little League Board of Directors has the right to place the player as they see fit.


That last part is what leads us to our final and most important piece of information…


In the most recent years past, skill levels in age groups vary a lot making it difficult to teach proper skill to every player on each team.  This also limits playing time for weaker players and not developing skills within each division. By the Little League now making it MANDATORY for Majors division to attend the evaluations, and a league option to evaluate all other age groups except tee ball this will help make sure that we can place the players in the divisions that will not only help the coaches teach the skills they need, but will close the skill gap giving EVERY player an even chance to get playing time. There is also a safety element to doing it this way as well. Having a player playing in a division they are not ready for can lead to unnecessary injuries and the last thing anyone in the league wants is a child hurt. If a player can not properly “defend” themselves from a player that is more advanced, it can lead to avoidable injuries.


Please understand, that none of these topics are decided unilaterally, and all are discussed and voted on by the Board of Directors. Our monthly meetings are open to the public for anyone to attend and provide input. We always urge for people to come and provide insight into some of the things the public sees. This is for the kids, and we try to make sure every decision that is made is for them.



Note These changes are for Baseball only. Softball will remain unchanged from last year.