Summer Teams – Overview & Selection Process
Southborough Little League (SLL) seeks to accomplish two primary objectives with its summer baseball program; 1) to provide a competitive, high-level-of-play opportunity for its most advanced players at each age level AND 2) to provide an opportunity for as many players as possible and interested to continue to enjoy the game of baseball throughout the summer.
Each summer, Southborough Little League provides interested players the opportunity to continue to play baseball through the summer months by organizing and supporting the formation of summer league teams. Each year, the specific teams formed and tournaments they play change slightly due to Little League International rule modifications, local tournament availability, and importantly, the number of Southborough players at each age level interested in playing summer ball. Unlike our Spring program where SLL has the flexibility to determine the specific eligibility criteria and rules for the different divisions (AA, AAA, Majors, etc.) to best suit our town program, the eligibility criteria and rules of our Summer program are primarily determined by Little League International and the local tournaments we play. That said, there are certain general guidelines and player expectations that we follow and communicate to those interested.
The goal of our team selection process is to accurately assess the demonstrated baseball skills, knowledge of the game, maturity level, commitment to summer ball practice and game schedules, and demonstration of general good sportsmanship of all interested players. The expected outcome of the process is that our program will field competitive summer ball teams comprised of responsible young men and women that represent the program and the Southborough community in a positive manner.
The process for determining summer teams varies by age. The selection process for our 11 and 12 year old teams will be made based on past performance, heavily weighted by performance during the most recent spring season (see below for details). The selection process for our 10 and under age group teams will be made based on both spring performance assessed by a formal coach evaluation process and an on-field evaluation coordinated by our Player Agent. On-field evaluations will be conducted by knowledgeable evaluators (spring coaches, experienced league officials, and/or independent baseball experts) who do not have a child or vested interest in the age group they are evaluating. For example, evaluations for the 10 year old teams will be conducted by knowledgeable and objective evaluators who DO NOT have players at the 10 year old level.
Selection of 11 and 12 Year Old Teams and the Juniors Teams
These teams will be selected through a confidential balloting process of thehead coaches of the respective SLL Divisions. To begin, each coach independently submits a list of the players at each age group he/she feels are most capable and deserving. The Player Agent then tallies the votes and all players that appear unanimously on all coach’s lists are selected for the team. The balloting process is repeated until 12 players are selected for the team. For example, if 6 players appear on all coach’s ballots in the first round of balloting, then those 6 players are selected for the team and removed from future rounds of balloting. Coaches will then submit a ballot with 6 more names and so forth until all roster spots (generally 12) are filled.
The ballot process is overseen and administered by the SLL Player Agent to ensure fairness and integrity throughout the process. In the event that a unanimous vote cannot be achieved on all 12 roster spots after several balloting rounds, the Player Agent can choose to ‘relax’ the unanimous voting standard or take other appropriate measures to facilitate completion of the team roster. The Player Agent has final say as to how many rounds of balloting must be completed before it is appropriate to relax the unanimous standard and such a decision should be considered an unusual exception to the process.
After the selection of the District “A” Teams at each age level, the respective head coaches will vote on the remaining players who have expressed an interest in playing summer ball for purposes of inviting such players to the 11 and 12 year old Sizzler teams or the Juniors Minuteman team.
Selection of 10 and Under Teams
Selection of our 10 and under summer teams will be determined by an on-field evaluation process that is validated against evaluations and recommendations provided by league coaches and coordinators of the current Spring season. Team roster recommendations will be provided by evaluators and the SLL Player Agent and will be subject to final review and approval by the SLL President. It is possible that player’s will be invited to more than one tryout session to ensure the accuracy of the team selection process.
On Field Process
On-field evaluations will include an assessment of hitting, running, fielding ground balls, fielding fly balls, throwing, pitching, and catching. Evaluations will also entail live situational drills and simulated scrimmages. These interactive workouts will help us evaluate players in game like situations and test their baseball knowledge and decision making skills.
Baseball team selections (and most other sports) are an inexact process by nature. SLL aims to make team selections as fair and equitable as possible. Evaluators will consider all aspects of a player’s ability when making team selection recommendations. For example, careful consideration will be given to a player that may be an exceptional pitcher but who lacks in general running and/or fielding skills vs. a player who is well rounded in several skills but may not be outstanding at any particular skill. In addition, consideration will be given to a player’s attitude, hustle, coachability, etc. as final recommendations are made. It is possible that a player of average physical ability with exceptional baseball knowledge and other intangibles may be selected over a player with superior physical ability who might lack the important intangibles that are critical to the success of a competitive team. Such judgments can be difficult and will be made with the utmost care and integrity.
Summer baseball is generally much more competitive than our spring program. As such, a strong commitment to both practices and games is required of both coaches and players. In general, it is expected that player’s will prioritize summer baseball over other sports activities. These attendance expectations are even higher for District “A” teams which generally carry smaller rosters and are playing at the highest level of available competition for that age group.
Finally, summer ball is all about having fun playing ball, albeit at a much more competitive level than spring ball. For players who are serious about improving their baseball skills, summer ball represents a beneficial and enjoyable opportunity.
Summary of Summer Team Selection Process
- Selection of 11 and 12 Year Old teams as well as Juniors teams by multiple rounds of unanimous private balloting of head coaches, supervised by SLL Player Agent and SLL President
- Selection of 10 Year Old and younger teams by on-field evaluation process including both skill assessment and live scrimmaging validated by past performance and Spring coach evaluation
- Spring season coaches will provide formal player evaluations of spring season performance that will inform the summer team selection process
- Objective and unbiased evaluators will evaluate 10 and under players
- SLL Player Agent and SLL President will maintain strong oversight over team selection processes and final roster determinations
- Player’s overall character, behavior, and baseball skill will continue to be key factors in summer team selection process
- Player’s must have participated in a minimum of 60% of regular season spring games to be eligible for summer team consideration
- A player’s school grade may be considered when selecting “B” teams. For example, a 2nd grade 9 year old and a 4th grade 9 year old may be placed on different teams