Spring Baseball Overview
Spring Baseball Programs
|Kindergarten||An instructional program with tee ball for kindergarten players.||No|
|First Grade||An instructional program with tee ball and coach pitch intended for 1st grade players.||No|
|A||An instructional program with coach and player pitch intended for 2nd grader players||No|
|AA||A competitive and instructional program for 10- and 9-year-old players on a 60-foot diamond.||No|
|AAA||A competitive and instructional program for 11, 10 and stronger 9-year-old players on a 60-foot diamond.||Yes|
|Majors||A competitive program for 12-year-olds and stronger 11- and 10-year-old players on a 60-foot diamond.||Yes|
|Intermediate||A competitive and instructional program for 13-year-old players on a 70-foot diamond.||12yr olds only|
|Big Diamond||A competitive and instructional program for 13–16-year-old players on a 90-foot diamond.||No|
- 6-, 7-, and 8-year-olds - no tryouts
- 9-year-olds - Eligible/optional to try out for AAA. Tryouts are scheduled in the Fall for players registered for the following Spring. Players will not be considered for AAA without a tryout.
- 10-year-olds - Eligible/optional to try out for AAA and/or Majors. Tryouts are scheduled in the Fall for players registered for the following Spring. Players will not be considered for Majors without a tryout.
- 11-year-olds – All non-returning Majors players will try out for AAA or Majors or Both. Tryouts are scheduled in the Fall for players registered for the following Spring.
- 12-year-olds –Tryout required for all Non-returning Majors players. Tryouts are scheduled in the Fall for players registered for the following Spring.
- Intermediate 50/70 Program for 12–13-year-olds. Tryouts required for 12-year-olds only. Tryouts are scheduled in the Fall for players registered for the following Spring.
NOTE: Tryouts are for evaluation and placement purposes only. Everyone who registers will be placed on a team.
SEE BELOW FOR DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT EACH LEAGUE
If you have further questions after reading these descriptions, please reach out to the appropriate league director that can be found on the Board of Directors page.
Kindergarten & First Grade Baseball
Overview: Instructional programs divided into two different leagues based on age and grade level. Practices in April are run by Frozen Ropes staff with volunteer coaches assisting. Focus is on instruction and fun, we do not keep score or have umpires. Kindergarten Baseball uses a tee to start and switches to coach pitching after the 6th game. First Grade Baseball starts out with the tee and progresses to coach pitch starting around the 3rd game.
Coaching: At these levels we strive to have one manager and 2-3 coaches per team. The manager takes a leadership role during on-field games and practices, as well as the off-field communication with the parents. You absolutely do not need to have prior experience in coaching baseball to volunteer.
Season: Teams practice 1-2 times per week at the beginning of the season and occasionally on weekends. Games replace the weeknight practices in May.
Rosters: Typically rosters and schedules are finalized by the end of March. Friend requests are used in team formation but are not guaranteed to be honored.
Overview: An instructional program with a hybrid of coach and player pitch intended for 2nd grade players. Games are 90 minutes (or 6 innings whichever comes first). The season starts with coach pitch but transitions to kid pitch in June. No score is kept, the focus is on instruction and learning higher level baseball skills. When player pitch begins there are no walks. If the pitcher throws 4 balls, a coach from the hitting team pitches to complete the at-bat.
Eligibility: Based on age and grade level. Friend requests are used in team formation but are not guaranteed to be honored.
Schedule: Games are mainly scheduled on weeknights and begin in late April. Teams typically play 1-2 games each week. Practices may take place in early April and on weekends.
Overview: An instructional program for primarily 9 and 10 year old players with a lightly competitive aspect. Games are played on a 60 ft diamond. The full season is player-pitch, with umpires and called balls/strikes. All Managers and Coaches are volunteers and parents are encouraged to volunteer.
Eligibility: To be eligible for AA, players should attend tryouts held in the fall. At tryouts, any player Little League Age 9 can opt to be considered for AAA, and any Little League Age 10 can opt to be considered for AAA and/or Majors. Any Little League Age 9 or Little League Age 10 year old who does not qualify for the AAA or Majors divisions, or who does not attend tryouts, will be assigned to AA. Please note that players that do not expect to qualify of AAA or Majors and request placement directly to AA, should still tryout for the purpose of forming and balancing teams.
Leagues: AA plays a unified schedule, but in accordance with Little League regulations, technically has 2 leagues, National and American. Starting at the AA age level, due to the large size of Needham's program (in terms of enrollment), Little League requires that Needham have 2 leagues assigned on an objective basis. Needham Baseball assigns children based on their birthdates with even numbered birthdays assigned to the AL, odd numbered dates to the NL.
Schedule: Games are mainly scheduled on weeknights and begin in April. Teams typically play 1-2 games each week. Practices may take place on weekend. Playoffs are held at the end of the season. All teams qualify for the playoffs.
Overview: Competitive and instructional program for 11, 10 and stronger 9 year old players on a 60ft diamond. At the AAA level, we place children and form teams with a focus on establishing competitive parity. We do not honor friend requests.
Eligibility: In order to be eligible for AAA, players must attend tryouts held in the fall. At tryouts, any Little League Age 10 or 11 can opt to be considered for Majors. While any Little League Age 11 year old who does not qualify for the Majors division will be assigned to AAA, tryouts are required for the purpose of forming and balancing teams, even if requesting automatic placement in AAA.
Schedule: Games are mainly scheduled on weeknights and begin in April. Teams typically play 1-2 games each week. Practices will take place on weekends and/or during the week. Playoffs are held at the end of the season. All teams qualify for the playoffs.
Overview: Competitive program open to all 12 year olds and stronger 11 and 10 year old players on a Little League 60ft diamond
Eligibility: In order to be eligible for Majors, players must attend tryouts held in the fall. At tryouts, all Little League Age 12 year olds will automatically be placed in Majors; nevertheless, for purposes of forming and balancing teams, all Little League Age 12 year olds must attend tryouts in order to be eligible to participate in the Majors division Any Little League Age 10 year old who opts to try out for Majors but does not qualify for the Majors division will be assigned to AA or AAA, and any Little League Age 11 year old who opts to try out for Majors but does not qualify for the Majors division will be assigned to AAA.
Schedule: Games are mainly scheduled on weeknights and begin in April. Teams typically play 1-2 games each week. Practices may take place on weekend or during the week. Playoffs are held at the end of the season. All teams qualify for the playoffs.
Overview: A competitive and instructive program on an intermediate sized diamond (50’ pitching distance and 70’ base paths).
Eligibility: The league will consist of 13-year-old players and stronger 12 year old players.
Twelve-year-old Intermediate League players retain their eligibility for the post-season Little League Tournament. A limited number of roster spots are available for 12-year-olds and tryouts may be required.
Schedule: Games are mainly scheduled on weeknights beginning in April. Teams typically play 1-2 games each week both in Needham and surrounding towns. Practices may take place on weekend or during the week. Playoffs are held at the end of the season. All teams qualify for the playoffs.
Overview: Competitive program on the 90’ big diamond for players aged 14-16 as well as the stronger players from the 13 year old age group.
Eligibility: Anyone can sign up between the ages of 13-16, there is no tryout. Rosters will be created to be as balanced as possible based. Friend requests are not considered during roster formation.
Schedule: Games are scheduled on weeknights beginning in April. Teams typically play 1-2 games each week both in Needham and surrounding towns. Practices may take place on weekend or during the week. Playoffs are held at the end of the season. All teams qualify for the playoffs.
Summer Baseball Overview
Ages 8-14 Travel Summer Baseball
Needham Baseball provides a highly competitive summer travel baseball program for players in the 8U - 14U age groups. These teams are for dedicated baseball players. The program stresses skill development and competition.
The summer starts in late June and extends into August. Teams that make the playoffs could play into the middle of August.
Players will be expected to attend practices, regular season games, playoffs and possible tournaments. The high level of commitment is necessary to be able to field teams and make our program successful.
- Teams at 8U will be playing the Friendship League. The Friendship League does not have tiers and our teams will be as balanced as possible. Friendship League teams typically play two games per week and all teams qualify for playoffs.
- Teams from 9U through 12U will compete in the Suburban Youth Baseball League. There will be an “A” team and a “B” team at each age level. Teams at the age levels may play at least one weekend tournament. If registration numbers are sufficient, we will field more than two teams at each level. For example, in 2023, Needham fielded four teams at 9U and three teams at 10U.
- League placement and the number of team at the 13U- 15U will depend on registration numbers.
Each year Little League Baseball’s (LL) Needham Baseball & Softball (NB&S) affiliate seeks to field teams from each of its leagues (Needham American and Needham National) in the town of Needham Massachusetts to participate in the Little League-sponsored baseball tournaments. There are tournaments in three age categories: 12-year-olds; 11-year-olds; and 10-year-olds. 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. As of 2023, District 11 includes teams from Needham, Ashland, Canton, Dedham, Dover-Sherborn, Framingham, Hopkinton, Medfield, Norwood, Sharon, Westwood and Walpole. The District 11 tournament typically begins in late June and takes about two weeks to complete.
Needham Fall Ball offers a great opportunity for players to gain experience in the game outside of the traditional season. While Major League Baseball heads into the playoffs and World Series, Needham players from 1st grade to age 15 can work on fundamentals, hone more advanced skills, play new positions, and learn more about the game. The fall league is enjoyed by players ranging from those who cannot get enough baseball to those simply interested in taking their game to the next level as they advance to higher tiers of competition. Many of our players participate simultaneously in other sports, with a special devotion to baseball.
Registration: Registration will begin shortly run to mid-August. Late sign-ups will only be permitted if room is available. Early registrations, before the school year ends, are recommended.
Season: The Fall season will begin with practices and games starting in early September (after Labor Day). Game and practice schedules will be ready in late August or early September, depending on the program.
Fall Development League for 1st and 2nd Graders
Overview: Needham Baseball offers a Fall Development League to give younger players training in the fundamentals of baseball and an additional season to try-out these skills. Establishing proper mechanics is critical at this age and the season will focus on skill development through drills, practices and intramural games. Players are encouraged to attend as many practices as possible and to try their skills in games.
Schedule: Practices are ONE HOUR in length and are expected to be held Tuesdays and Thursdays. Teams will practice once per week, with occasional weeks allowing for two practices. Practices are run by Frozen Ropes, with high school baseball and softball assistants. Games are 90 minutes in length and will be Sundays
Player expectations: Players are expected to bring a desire to learn, a willingness to practice and a commitment to having fun!
Fall Competitive Travel Leagues
9-12 year old Newton Southeast League
Overview: Needham Baseball provides a competitive travel baseball program in September and October for 9-12 year olds. This program is for committed baseball players who want to fit in another season of baseball, get additional playing time and compete at a high level. This is not a "show up and play" league - players are expected to attend most practices and games. This program will stress skill development and competition.
Player expectations: Players will be expected to participate in most team practices and games. Rosters will be kept to 11-13 players (12 preferred), depending on availability at each level. Teams will be evenly balanced.
Schedule: The season typically consists of 10-15 games. Games are usually scheduled once or during the week and once on weekends. Weeknight games begin as early as 4:00 to be completed prior to darkness.
The season culminates with play-offs for eligible teams in early to mid-October.
Fall Intermediate League
Learn all the rules of big diamond baseball, such as leading, pickoffs, balks, holding runners and dropped third strikes, while playing in Needham on a mid-size diamond. Diamond size is a 50’ pitching distance and 70’ base paths. This is the same sized diamond used by many AAU/Elite teams. Great opportunity for rising 13-year olds to transition from the Little League Diamond.
13-15 year old Fall Big Diamond Prep
Overview: This program is designed to give players additional chances to learn and practice the new skills required of players on the big (90’) diamond. All games are on weekends, with practice during the week.
Player expectations: Players will be expected to participate in most team practices and games. Teams will be evenly balanced.
Schedule: The season consists of 2 games per weekend for 6 weekends. Games are typically scheduled on Friday nights and weekends. There are no playoffs, but season may be extended for earlier rain-outs.
Rockets Select Baseball
Mission Statement and Philosophy
Our goal is to develop the youth of Needham to play baseball at a more competitive level, while maintaining a focus on teamwork, player development, safety and positive self worth. While everyone likes to win, it should not be the ultimate goal at the expense of these areas of focus. We should judge our success by teams and players improving with each passing year. We plan to maintain 10U through 16U teams depending on interest by year.
Playing Time – At the 10U and 11U level, playing time should be relatively equal. Players should get the opportunity to play multiple positions regularly during the season. By the 12U level, everyone should still play at least half the game. Positions shouldn’t be fixed all year, but they will start to be more focused. On the 13U-14U level, everyone should still play at least half the game but positions become more fixed and specialized, particularly at the 14U age. At age 15U and above, players should expect to earn their playing time, yet it should still be meaningful, and positions are often fixed during the season. In playoffs, coaches may limit playing time more significantly as this is the time they should “play to win”, but nobody should ever sit an entire game.
Safety – Coaches must follow Pitch Smart age appropriate guidelines and catcher/pitcher conversion guidelines. Parents and coaches share responsibility for coordinating pitch counts between town and Rockets Baseball teams to ensure arm safety.
Team formation – Teams hold tryouts in June for ages 10-13U. Ages 14U and higher may hold tryouts but can invite players back based on coach feedback and may only need supplemental tryouts at these ages to fill open roster spots. Teams are selected by their respective coaches and the program director. The Rockets Baseball board director assists in the running of the tryout and the administrative process, including soliciting feedback for coaches to make player decisions. Teams typically are 13 players.
Pricing – The program goal is to make only a small surplus on average per player so it can put that money back into field development and maintenance. Lower prices = greater opportunities for all to participate in the program. Given our low pricing, refunds are not offered once a player has accepted their spot on a team.
Coaches – We try to hire and retain skilled coaches who can uphold our philosophy and be the magnets for our program. We value baseball skills as well as integrity and character so they can instill good values in our players. All coaches are required to meet background checks for the organization. Failure to adhere to our program philosophies is grounds for termination. At the end of each season coaches will be graded by parents/players on three scores – player development, adherence to the mission and philosophy of Rockets Baseball, and if the player would recommend Rockets Baseball to someone.
Feedback – players should be able to ask and receive feedback from coaches at any time about what they can do to improve and earn more playing time.
Program Director – The league employs a program director paid by the number of teams in the program. Said person will help hire, mentor and evaluate coaches in program. They will coordinate and run tryouts for teams, coordinate scheduling matters for leagues and field/umpire requests of the teams, identify and register teams for tournaments, and coordinate other logistics as needed.