Williamsport Tournament Overview
Each year Needham Little League sends two all-star teams (Needham American and Needham National) to participate in the Little League International Tournament in three age categories: 12U (age 11-12 eligible); 11U (age 10-11 eligible) and 10U (age 9-10 eligible). Needham’s teams compete in the Massachusetts District 11 tournament held at a handful of complexes in various towns beginning in late June/early July. There are a total of 16 districts in Massachusetts. District 11 includes teams from:
The District 11 tournament uses a pool play format. The 11 teams are divided into two pools based on a random drawing. Towns with two teams in the tournament are not placed in the same pool. Each pool plays a round robin schedule which ensures a minimum of four games for one of our teams and five games for the other team. After the round robin schedule is complete, the top four teams from each pool advance to the Elimination Round, which uses a single elimination format. The district tournament takes about 2 ½ weeks to complete.
The winner of District 11 moves on to the Massachusetts Section 3 tournament. There are four sectionals in Massachusetts; each sectional has four district winners competing. The four sectional champions then compete in the Massachusetts State tournament with the winner moving on to the New England Regional Tournament held in Bristol, Connecticut. Finally the New England Champion moves on to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. There are eight United States Regional winners and eight International Regional winners. The U.S. champion plays a final World Series championship game against the International champion.
Needham teams of note:
- 2014 – Needham National made it to the District 11 semifinal.
- 1993 - Needham West made it to the Sectionals by winning the District 11 tournament.
- 1975 - Needham East made it to the Sectionals by winning the District 11 tournament.
- 1973 – Needham West became State Champions by beating Northampton East 16-14 in the State Title Game.
- 1968 - Needham West made it to the Sectionals by winning the District 11 tournament.
- 1954 - Needham was crowned State Champions and participated in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
Note: In the past, Needham’s Majors divisions were based on geography. The teams were referred to as Needham East and Needham West. In the early 2000s, Needham’s Majors divisions were renamed Needham American and Needham National. For more on the history of the Massachusetts State Little League tournament, visit Little League tournament history.
For Needham Baseball players participating on a Majors team, the road to Williamsport begins with the selection of Williamsport teams by each league (American and National). Each league can select up to 14 players (who must be age eligible before May 1 of the tournament year and have played in at least 60% of their team’s games in Needham Little League that spring) to represent their league in the Williamsport Tournament.
All players in the Majors Division will be notified by email regarding details of the Tournament per the rules of Little League International. Players interested in being considered for selection to one of the two teams participating in the Williamsport Tournament must indicate their interest in being considered for a team by registering online at www.needhambaseball.com prior to May 1. There is no player registration fee to play in this tournament. Full commitment to the practice and game schedule is mandatory.
Majors players, managers, and coaches will be given a ballot that includes the names of all 11- and 12-year-old players who have registered their candidacy for a Williamsport team. Managers and coaches may vote for players in their respective league; however, they may not vote for a player on their own team. In May, the Williamsport Director, in conjunction with the Williamsport Committee, will collect the ballots and tally the votes. All Majors league players will vote for eight players in their league, and the six players with the most votes will be selected (Note: any player ballots with less than eight votes will be declared invalid). A meeting of Majors team managers/coaches will be held in May to cast votes for six additional players, and the top five vote-getters will be selected for each league’s Williamsport team.
The remaining roster slots (up to three additional players) will be selected by the team manager, with the approval of the Williamsport subcommittee. The manager may elect to run a tryout to gather more information in making these decisions.
Players will be contacted by the Williamsport Tournament team manager shortly after selection, but not before the June 15 deadline (or two weeks before the start of the tournament) in accordance with Little League International regulations.
Managers interested in coaching a Williamsport team representing the Needham American or Needham National Majors leagues must be active coaches on the roster of a Majors team during the current season. Any coach interested in coaching a Williamsport team must indicate their interest by registering their candidacy online at www.needhambaseball.com. The Needham Williamsport Committee will review and select a manager for each Williamsport team. A selected manager may choose his own coaching staff, with the approval of the Williamsport Committee. The selection of the manager will take place after the balloting to determine the first 11 players in each league.