By Garth Newlands. Continued from Part 1: In Your Community – Whalley Little League
Now that the league stuff is out of the way I will tell you a bit about my son’s team and division. He is on the 9-12 year old minor Yankees team; they have been doing well and are in 2nd place right now out of the 4 teams in their division on the season.
The 9 year olds find it a little intimidating at times playing with the older boys and girls. Yes girls, Whalley is a mixed league and you will find that most teams have at least one girl on them, but there is no special treatment. They are there to play with the boys and do very well.
The younger ones stand right in there at bat and some pitchers fire the ball, but that’s baseball. There are some walks and some really good hits, although I haven’t seen one go over the fence yet for a home run. There are batters who may get hit by a pitch, but that does not happen very often. Errors in the field do allow for some home runs and for parents laughter in the stands, but they keep it down so the kids don’t hear. Usually the cheering is much louder anyways.
In this division they do make sure that safety is first and 9-10 year olds have a pitcher the same age as do the 11-12 year olds. However, a younger pitcher can pitch to older players if they can bring the heat … and in some cases they really do!
The batting order is set up to minimize pitcher rotations due to the age range on the teams and sometimes an inning will see 2 or 3 pitchers. To save a pitcher’s arm, the league does not allow any player to throw more than 35 pitches. Changing them up can slow the game down since a new pitcher gets 5 pitches or so to warm up first. However, they get 5 innings in with the 6th being an open inning for runs.
The first 5 innings are held at a 5 run maximum or 3 outs, whichever occurs first. It keeps the game moving along and prevents a lop-sided game. I remember growing up before these rules and losing 22 to 2… it sure taught me a memorable lesson. Rules such as the 10 run mercy rule allow the kids to have fun, although the teams can have off days. These rules have their benefits and drawbacks as life is not as simple as these rules. That’s another topic for another day.
At this level of baseball the kids are still learning the plays that go along with the game. There is a lot of entertainment for the fans that have either watched or have played baseball themselves. The bloopers can be very entertaining….although maybe not so much for the kids!
Check out the video I shot and you will see the kids having a great time. Be sure to stop by Whalley Ball Park for some entertainment almost any evening of the week. Now … play ball !!!