AA Baseball Division
Age: 7 - 9
We offer a AA Division baseball program for all 8 and 9 year old boys and girls and a few of the highest skilled 7 year olds who have excelled in Rookie baseball and are ready to advance to a level of baseball with live pitching. The AA Division is the biggest transition for children to make in their young baseball careers, and is the level where squishy baseballs are replaced by the regular hard balls. The players will pitch to the hitters, but if 4 balls are thrown before the batter strikes out or puts the ball in play, a coach will finish pitching to that batter. This gives pitchers the opportunity to adjust to pitching in game situations without having to worry about walks. In the latter part of the season, the transistion will be made to full player pitching with walks and regular baseball rules.
Our AA Division is where all players will gradually make the transition to playing complete baseball rules by the end of the season, including base stealing. This can be a very stressful experience for children, especially when they face live pitching for the first time,which tends to be very wild at this level. We take every precaution to ensure the safety of our young ball players, including requiring facemasks on all batting helmets used at this level. However, getting hit by a pitch, even though they are thrown relatively slowly, is part of the game. A child not prepared for this can be traumatized and permanently discouraged from continuing their enjoyment of the game in future years. Any 8 year olds that are not prepared to make this transition should sign up for the Rookie Division, so they can get another year to acclimate to squishy baseballs being pitched from an accurate pitching machine before they venture into the arena of live pitching with hard baseballs.
Baseball is a high-skill game requring a higher degree of athleticism than most youth sports programs. At Heartwell Cal Ripken baseball we realize that some children simply don't possess the physical coordination that others do, yet we believe they still deserve the opportunity to enjoy the wonders of the game of baseball just as much as more athletically gifted children. Furthermore, some children may not begin playing organized baseball until an older age than many kids. We wish to provide a program that can be fun for all players, no matter what their skill level and degree of athleticism, without putting anyone at risk of injury by playing in a division that is inappropriate for their skill level. Consequently, we allow a diverse range of ages in each division to accommodate such concerns. If you feel your older child has neither the experience nor the skill set to play with others their age, please make a point of signing them up in the lowest division for which they are eligible by age. They may still be selected for a higher division if their evaluation indicates they are appropriate at that level, but, in such a situation, your approval will be sought to move them up to a higher division than the one in which they are registered.
All boys and girls who are league ages 8 or 9, as well as a few of the highest skilled 7 year olds ready to hit live pitching, and the few inexperienced or unskilled 10 year olds, are eligible to participate in our AA Division, regardless of where they live. Any player who registers for the AA Division is guaranteed to be drafted onto a team, but not necessarily in the AA Division. If significant safety concerns exist for any 8 year old registrants, they may be placed by virtue of the draft process in the Rookie division instead, where there is minimal danger of being hit by a pitch since pitching machines are used. In addition, only a very small number of the top 7 year olds will have spots available on a AA Division team. Priority will be given to insure that all eligible 8, 9, and 10 year olds will be placed first on the AA Division teams, and only the remaining available spots will be allocated for the top 7 year olds in the draft. All others will be placed on a Rookie team, even if it is their 2nd year in the Rookie division.
Evaluations will be held for every registrant of this program and will be announced at a later date. All registered participants will receive a card the week before their scheduled evaluation date with the exact time the child is scheduled to be evaluated. Proof of age (original birth certificate) must be brought to the evaluations (along with the registration fee if not yet fully paid) and presented at the sign-in table at the Snack Shack in order to certify each child for participation in the program and register him/her to be evaluated.