Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Spring is near.  Spring training has already started for major league players.  Registration for Lowell Little League is in full swing.  Games start in April for those signed up for the spring season.  It’s not too late to sign up and become involved!

The League

Little League International provides rules and regulations to local Little League groups.  The parent international organization was started in 1939.  A volunteer Board of Directors manages and organizes the Lowell league.  “We are currently a group of 6 and are willing to take on many more volunteers to help complete the long list of jobs that need to be completed for another successful season.“ says board member Bobby Hughes.  Parent volunteers serve as coaches.  Doyle Baseball facilitates a coaches’ clinic for those in teaching roles at the end of March.  

If you know of an older child who is interested in baseball, all are encouraged to join.  Hughes comments, “We encourage anyone interested in learning about baseball to come out and give it a try. Experience does surely help in a player’s success, but it is not a requirement.”  Little League teams provide the opportunity to work on personal skills while being part of a team where doing your best, win or lose, is part of the Little League Pledge.

There’s No T-Ball in Little League!

Boys and girls who are five and six years of age start off in an Early Developmental League (EDL), which is co-ed.  What does that mean?  This gives kids the opportunity to learn the skills needed for playing in a game.  Half of the “game” time is spent learning the basics when it comes to batting, catching, throwing, and running the bases.  The second half consists of playing a mini game to practice what has been taught.  

What’s that about not using a tee?  The thought is to eliminate the transition of hitting a ball which is not moving vs one being thrown by a pitcher.  “Our program is not called Tee Ball because even though during practices we will introduce the little ones of how to bat off a tee, during the mini game they will have the ball soft tossed to them.“ explains the Lowell Little League’s website.

Beyond the Basics

Starting at age seven boys and girls part ways.  Those who are seven and eight will play in games and rotate positions.  This is a great time for players to learn about various game scenarios and hone in on a defense position or two to focus on.  In addition to a weekly game a weekly practice is also held

At age nine and above players typically have assigned defensive positions as they’ve become familiar with the game over the years.  There is also more “competition” in games as well.  

Dusting Off Home Plate

Those looking for more information are invited to a meet and greet this Saturday, March 11 from 10-11am at Vela Bake Shop.  Representatives from Lowell Little League will be available to answer questions and chat about the league.

The majority of the games are played at Creekside Park however some may take place at the high school or on the field between Bushnell Elementary and Lowell Middle School.  The spring season opens April 22.  Check individual divisions for what day(s) of the week practice and games will take place.  Players must purchase gray baseball pants, glove, and shoes.  But all other equipment and uniform jerseys, which are t-shirts are provided.  

Lowell Little League is currently looking for 2017 sponsors.  Businesses and individuals can become a sponsor with various contribution levels to choose from.  “Based upon the level the sponsor receives a sign at Creekside as well as their name on a team uniform and business logo on the team site and website.” indicates Bobby Hughes.  The sponsor section of the Lowell Little League site provides necessary information on becoming a sponsor.  Sponsorship funds are used to purchase equipment and uniform shirts in addition to other operating costs.

During 2016 there were 550 participants in the Spring Program and 201 in the Fall Program.  The following deadlines are approaching quickly for those who wish to register for the spring session.

5-6 and 7-8 year olds – March 25
9-10 and 11-12 year olds – March 12
13-14 year olds – late April after middle school baseball is complete

5-6 – March 25
7-8, 9-10, and 11-12 year olds – March 12

If you’re interested in volunteering in some capacity you can also contact one of the board members to see where a good fit might be for the upcoming season.  It’s not a requirement for a volunteer to have a child participating in the league.  Soon the diamonds at Creekside Park will be bustling.  Sounds of a baseball being hit off a bat along with an occasional “heads up!” will fill the air.  Don’t miss out on registering a participant, becoming a volunteer, or taking on the role of spectator.  Play ball!!

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