Summer Baseball and Softball
Summer Baseball and Softball in Hanover Township consists of two programs – Williamsport and Tournament. Summer ball provides an opportunity to continue to play at a more competitive level with the goal of allowing as many players as possible to participate. But it is important to realize that sometimes the numbers at each age level dictates whether or not there is a spot for every child.
The Summer Season
Summer ball is usually a 6-week season that runs from June 15th to July 30th. Players in the Farm AA through Juniors/Seniors division are eligible. Hanover teams play against teams from other towns. As there is a competitive selection process, the program is intended for the stronger players to further develop their skills. In most cases, it is a significant commitment as practices are generally held 5 to 7 days per week and there can be games any day of the week throughout the 6 weeks. Players and their families that cannot make this commitment may be unable to participate as there is no flexibility to change rosters once the summer season starts. There is also very little opportunity to influence scheduling so one needs to be available throughout this time and committed to baseball/softball as a priority.
There are two types of Summer teams – Williamsport Tournament and Local Tournament.
A Williamsport team is one playing in the official Little League tournament sponsored by Williamsport (the headquarters for Little League). These teams are typically comprised of U10 (i.e. league age 10 or younger), U11 and U12-year-old teams and are the most competitive teams that represent Hanover Township. The Little League World Series that you see on TV in August is the U12 national tournament for boys and the televised softball games are for the U12 national tournament for girls.
The structure of the Williamsport tournament starts with Pool Play, where all teams in the District (Hanover is part of District One - http://www.llnjone.org) are split into pools and teams play a round robin tournament against every team in their pool. A limited number of teams advance out of Pool Play and go on to Districts. The District winners advance to Sections and those winners advance to the State Tournament. State champions then play in the Regional Tournaments and Regional champions advance to Williamsport, PA (baseball) or Portland, OR (softball) for the Little League World Series.
Teams competing in a Williamsport tournament are guaranteed only the Pool Play games (which can be as few as 3 games if there are only 4 teams in a pool). If a team fails to advance out of Pool Play, the team may be entered in a local tournament to allow the kids to play more games in the summer.
Teams that continue to advance in a Williamsport tournament can play well into August.
A Local Tournament team plays in locally-sponsored/organized tournaments against teams from neighboring towns. These tournaments are generally well established with a long history of play. The tournament schedule is typically comprised of 10-12 games, with all games played at a single site or in a traditional home-and-away format.
Any manager or coach on the official Williamsport roster is eligible to coach a Williamsport team. Any adult who has completed the background check and other requirements and has coached in the applicable division is eligible to coach a Tournament team. Interested applicants should contact the All-Star Coordinator once discussions about the summer season begin.
Summer team managers go through a formal selection process – they are interviewed and voted on by the HTLL Board. Summer team managers are selected before summer teams are selected.
Williamsport team managers are given the opportunity to specify the number of players they wish to roster. There are various rules regarding minimum playing time, roster sizes, number of allowable coaches, etc. that are dictated by Little League. Managers often take these into consideration when determining their preferred roster size.
It is possible that a Williamsport manager’s child may not be selected for the Williamsport team. In that instance, the manager has the opportunity to select his/her son/daughter, but must increase the roster size by 1 in order to do so. That is, the manager’s child does not take the spot of a player voted on during the player selection process.
There is a formal nominating and voting process for selecting the Summer teams. The process used by HTLL has proven to be effective at selecting competitive teams and the same process is used by many other towns. The selection process is a rigorous one that is taken very seriously by the managers and the Board; meetings often last several hours.
About half-way into the season, the All-Star Coordinators meet with the League VP and managers for each division. At that meeting, there are preliminary discussions about the stronger players on each team so that managers can make a point to observe these players in action (e.g. when their teams next meet or any other opportunity).
Around Memorial Day, managers are asked to nominate players from their team that they feel are able to play at a competitive level for the Summer. The child must be of the appropriate age, have played in a certain number of games, and be able to make the commitment in order to be considered. There is no minimum or maximum number of players that need to be nominated per team. Managers should consult with their coaches to develop a list of nominations.
Managers will discuss the nomination with the parents to gauge their ability to commit their summer to baseball/softball and any other extenuating circumstances. It is the parents’ decision as to whether to discuss the nomination with their child or not. Parents must return the Commitment/Information Form as instructed by their manager.
The process is similar for each division. All managers meet with the All-Star Coordinator, the League VP and the Player Agent. At the beginning of the meeting, each manager is asked to list the top ten players in each division for each league age. Each manager then has an opportunity to discuss and rank each of the players who have been nominated from his/her team. Absences due to vacation or other commitments as indicated on the Commitment Form are also disclosed. Unless there are fewer than three teams, each manager can only vote for one player from their team and it is expected he/she is voting for the player he/she ranked highest during the player discussions.
After all players have been discussed, the managers will begin the voting process. The U12 Williamsport team is voted for first. Managers will vote for x number of players, where x is the chosen roster size less 2. For example, if the Williamsport manager has chosen a roster size of 12, the managers would vote for 10 players. The votes are tallied and the top x (e.g. 10) players by vote are selected to the team. Ties are broken by a re-vote on just the tied players. The Williamsport manager is encouraged to take the players with the next highest votes to round out the roster, but is not required to do so.
Exception – if there are only 12 players eligible for a Williamsport team, all 12 players will be selected for the team and no vote is taken.
The rest of the Williamsport teams are then voted on similarly. Players can play on a team at an older league age, but cannot play “down”. Once the rosters for Williamsport teams are filled, the remaining players are either voted on Tournament teams or, if there are not enough available spots, told that they did not make a summer team.
The HTLL Board reserves the right to make decisions that are in the best interest of the Summer program.
8U is the earliest age for summer ball. 8 and 9 year olds do not participate in Little League sanctioned tournaments (i.e. Williamsport), only in local tournaments. As this is the first year parents and players may be aware of the opportunities for Summer ball, the level of commitment required is not as stringent as for older age groups. But, as with the other ages groups, this is an opportunity to play at a more competitive level.
The Summer team manager selection process begins in late May. The player nomination process starts after Memorial Day. Williamsport teams cannot be announced before the earlier of June 15 or two weeks before the first game. Tournament teams are generally announced at the same time but can differ, depending on the tournament.
Questions? Contact the