Needham Baseball and Softball is pleased to announce the opening of registration for the 2020 Fall Baseball Season. We’ll be offering four separate programs for the 2020 Fall Season serving players from 1st grade through age 15.
The Fall season will begin with practices and games starting in early September (after Labor Day) and will run through mid-October.
Fall Development League
Rising 1st and 2nd grade players (school year 2020-2021). Each team will be provided with two 1-hour clinics in Needham each week (most likely Tuesday and Thursday evenings). These clinics will be operated by professional coaches from Frozen Ropes with support from Needham parent/coaches. Each team will also play 1 “coach-pitch” game per week (typically on Sunday afternoons). This league focuses on building confidence and developing fundamentals through drills, light practices and games. If possible, we will attempt to group players with others from their elementary school and each team will have a mix of both 1st and 2nd grade players.
AA – Majors Fall Season
Rising 3rd through 6th grade players (school year 2020-2021). The intention is for the AA – Majors Fall Season to essentially be an extension of the Summer Season that Needham Little League is currently running (but with new team placements specific to the Fall season only). It will be an “in-town” league and all games will be played in Needham. However, given that it starts to get dark earlier in the Fall, the plan would be to have practices during the week and games on the weekends. Similar to our typical Spring program and the current Summer program, this league will be broken down into 3 separate divisions based on age and skill level:
Majors – all players who are playing in the Majors Division of Needham Little League in the current Summer season (or who were placed in Majors for the previously-scheduled 2020 Spring season but withdrew this summer) or who turn 12 years old between September 1, 2020 and August 31, 2021 will be placed in Majors. However, players who turn 13 years old September 1, 2020 or thereafter and who played in Majors this Summer will play in Intermediate Program this Fall; see below.
AAA – all players who are playing in the AAA Division of Needham Little League in the current Summer Season (or who were placed in AAA for the previously-scheduled 2020 Spring season but withdraw this summer) or who turn 11 years old between September 1, 2020 and August 31, 2021 will be placed in AAA (unless that player is playing in Needham Little League Majors level in the current Summer season). Players who will turn 9 or 10 years old on or before August 31, 2021 and are in 4th grade (2020-2021 school year), will be eligible for consideration to play in AAA at the discretion of the league director or via a draft process.
AA – all players who are in either 3rd or 4th grade for the 2020-2021 school year and do NOT fall into one of the above categories will be placed in AA.
Intermediate (50/70) Program
Needham will again be running the Route 128 Intermediate Fall Ball program from Needham and a handful of surrounding towns. Players turning 13 years old between September 1, 2020 and August 31, 2021 will be place in the Intermediate League (unless they are requesting Big Diamond and are drafted into that league). Players turning 12 years old between September 1, 2020 and August 31, 2020 may petition to be placed in Intermediate instead of the Majors Program at the discretion of the league director. This program utilizes a 50-foot distance from the mound to the plate and 70-foot basepaths (instead of the 60/90 big diamond used from high school through the major leagues). This intermediate field is a great bridge for 13-year-old players making the transition to the big diamond as the throws are not quite as long and it will provide an introduction to leading, stealing and having to manage baserunners while pitching.
Norwood Diamond Club Big Diamond Program
Norwood will again be running a competitive travel program on the full 60/90 diamond for players from a handful of surrounding towns who turn 13, 14 or 15 prior to May 1, 2020. This program is designed to give players additional chances to learn and practice the new skills required of players on the big (90') diamond in the following spring season and for current Big Diamond players to get an additional season of competitive baseball. All games will be played in Norwood on weekends, with practices in Needham during the week.
In addition to the above document, please refer to these clarifying FAQ:
Q - What should coaches be disinfecting?
A – They should disinfect shared surfaces used during a practice or game. This could include dugout benches, bases, the bin handle, equipment used like the rake, and the lock. Disinfecting the hand sanitizer pump too is important! Coaches should be using hand sanitizer as they arrive at the fields prior to handling these items too. The provided disinfectant requires 10 minutes of contact time to be effective. Spray nozzles and pumps should be picked up by coaches – contact your league director if you do not have them yet. This is essential for holding baseball activities.
Q – When do players need to wear their face cover?
A- It is required to be on unless they are playing one of the 9 defensive positions in a game or actively participating on the field in a practice. The nose AND mouth should be covered to be effective. Just because a player is wearing a face covering does not mean they should not try to distance themselves from others. The league provided “buffs” should be washed between uses. Even if you personally are not concerned with the safety aspect of it, the town and state are requiring these things of us in order to play baseball on their fields.
Q- When should I contact my manager about a possible COVID exposure or high risk travel?
A – If your son or daughter (or a coach themself) has been exposed to a confirmed COVID positive person, please contact your manager immediately and they will escalate it up to the League Director and a group on the Board to follow our protocols. If there is a probable case, please use your judgement and be safe and hold them out until it is confirmed either way. If a household member is diagnosed with COVID, the player(s) and coach in that home will be asked to avoid baseball events until (a) the later of (i) 14 days after diagnosis and isolation of the household member, or (ii) 3 days after the household member no longer has symptoms of COVID, and (b) the player(s) and/or coach, as applicable, has been cleared to resume baseball activities by their primary care physician. Even if not diagnosed, if someone in your household is displaying COVID symptoms, the player(s) and coach in that household should refrain from attending NB&S events. If you have travelled outside of the 7 state area (NE + NY, NJ), we are asking that the state’s 14-day quarantine instruction be followed and that you notify your team’s manager and league director about the travel. As we are now required to report multiple unexcused absences to the town Board of Health, please be in touch with your manager in these cases.
Q – What should I do to properly sanitize my hands?
A - Enough sanitizer should be applied that the entire surface of the hand is wet (back, palm, in between fingers) and then rub your hands together until the sanitizer has completely dried before doing anything else.
Q – We are having trouble distancing the kids on in the “Extended Dugout”. Any suggestions?
A – Many teams have found bringing a chair for every player has been effective. If they are sitting in their chair, they are less likely to wander from their distanced personal spot. Also, having players place their equipment at fence poles, which are often separated by 10’, provides an excellent guide for separation when off the field and on water breaks.
Q – How can we end the game without a handshake line?
A – In the spirit of good sportsmanship, some softball or baseball teams are lining up (distanced) along the 1B and 3B lines and either clapping or tipping the cap to the other team.
Q – What should the safety monitor for each team be doing?
A – They are there to remind the kids to sanitize frequently, make sure kids are distancing in the “extended dugout” and reminding them to wear their face coverings largely. This lets the coaches focus on the game better.
Q – Should kids help with field prep this season?
A – No – this should be done by coaches, preferably from the same team to limit touching equipment before it is disinfected before being put away. It is best if one team, the home team, handles all field prep and access to the bin.
Q – Should I leave the disinfectant or hand sanitizer in my car?
A – No. These items will lose their potency after exposure to prolonged extreme heat.
Q – How do you deal with clearing a bat for a player?
A – One way could be for the coach to clear their player’s bat by holding the barrel. Hopefully coaches and players are regularly sanitizing during the game too. It is also a reminder that it is good practice to disinfect your child’s equipment after each game/practice or sit unused for a couple days.
Q - Why are you requiring only the players/coaches to retrieve foul balls?
A – We are limiting contact with the baseballs to just the defensive team in the field. This reduces incidental contact by others and potentially reduces the spread of a case.
Q - Should fans engage in social distancing and wear masks at the games?
A - Yes. The state and local Board of Health have required social distancing and masks in situations in which distancing may not be possible.
Q – What if the team is playing outside of Needham?
A – Rocket Travel and Needham Softball teams are playing at fields outside of Needham. Each travel league has additional guidance for the out of town fields. The outside leagues are providing additional guidance to teams and players traveling to their out of town games. Your son/daughter’s coach will share additional guidance that may be above and beyond what Needham Baseball & Softball shared for games played in Needham against another Needham team. If there is clarification needed, please work with the respective directors of the league.
Q – What if I see something that appears problematic under the Covid safety rules?
A – Bring your concern up to coaches or a team’s safety monitor and, if not resolved, contact the appropriate league director. The league cannot undertake investigative and police work, so everyone is relying on the family members who are participating and the entire community to comply with appropriate safety measures.
Congrats to Ryan Lavelle and Steven Donovan, this year’s Jackie Bergen & Jim Windhorst Memorial Scholarships winners!
Jackie Bergen & Jim Windhorst Memorial Scholarships
-Jackie Bergin was a young man tragically killed in a car accident in the early 1990’s. He participated in Needham Little League as a youth and cherished the diamond. In his memory his family established a scholarship to honor a high school senior who embodies the spirit of Jackie and his love of the game.
-Jim Windhorst was a Needham Baseball Board member and coach who passed away after a lengthy illness in 2011. He was much loved and respected by all who knew him. In his memory, the board of Needham Baseball & Softball has established a scholarship to compliment the long standing Bergin Scholarship.