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. 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.
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.