Little League International Announces Name of New Baseball Division
Little League International today announced the name of its newest baseball division: The Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball Division.
The division, the first new program in Little League since 1999, bridges the transition from Little League (46/60) to Junior League Baseball on a full-size field (60/90). It is a league for 11-13 year-olds whose advanced skills permit rules that are closer to conventional baseball, such as leading off bases, pickoff attempts, etc.
In the traditional Little League (Majors) Division, a runner cannot leave the base until the pitched ball reaches the batter, so pickoffs are not part of the game at that level. In addition, Intermediate (50/70) Baseball Division games will be played on a field that is not quite as large as a conventional diamond, but bigger than the traditional Little League field.
The Little League International Board of Directors publicly announced the creation of the Intermediate (50/70) Baseball Division in its annual spring meeting in May. That decision came after volunteer District Administrators voted overwhelmingly to create a new program for 11-13 year-olds.
For the past three seasons, local Little Leagues around the world have chartered 50/70 Pilot Programs, with experimental rule changes along the way to the vote by District Administrators at the Round Table sessions held at various locations around the world early this year. The name of the new division was developed after Little League International consulted with thousands of volunteers and parents worldwide.
“We want to thank the tens of thousands of volunteers in leagues and districts worldwide that have helped us reach this point,” Patrick W. Wilson, Senior Vice President of Operations and Program Development, said. “Their valuable input over the past three years has allowed us to create a way for leagues to offer the game to more players than ever.”
At the local level, the Intermediate Baseball Division will draw its players from within the same boundaries as the “parent” league. When there are not enough players within the league boundaries to play a schedule within the league, two or more adjacent leagues of the same district may, under certain circumstances, combine to form a single Intermediate League (with recommendation of the District Administrator and the approval of the Charter Committee). Each unit league maintains its own Intermediate Division Baseball Charter.
A Tournament structure for the Intermediate Baseball Division has been developed, with play ending in a World Series each year. The site for the first Intermediate League Baseball World Series was announced earlier this month as Livermore, Calif., to be played in August 2013.
“We designed the rules for the Intermediate Division to allow for maximum flexibility at the local level,” Mr. Wilson said. “For instance, a local league could place all eligible 13-year-olds in the Intermediate Division, and all 11- and 12-year-olds in the Little League Major Baseball Division. Or, it could permit some advanced 11- and 12-year-olds to play in the Intermediate League.”
To be eligible for selection to a local league’s Intermediate Baseball Division Tournament Team (“All Stars”), a player must be the correct age, and must have participated in at least 60 percent of the local league’s regular season Intermediate Division games, with an exception if the player misses games because of school baseball.
In the coming weeks, Little League International’s Rules Committee, the Little League Advisory Board, and the Little League International Board of Directors will be meeting to finalize other rules within the new division. Details will be released in mid-November.
Intermediate Baseball field dimensions are, as the name implies, between those of the traditional Little League diamond and a standard baseball diamond. For the Little League Intermediate Baseball Division, there is a pitching distance of 50 feet. The distance between bases is 70 feet. The recommended range of distance, during regular season, from home plate to the outfield fence is 200 to 275 feet.
Two years ago, Little League provided an online tutorial on converting a traditional Little League field (with base paths of 60 feet) to a 50/70 field – so that the field can be used for both divisions, if needed. More than 340 leagues worldwide have chartered the 50/70 Pilot Program in the past three years.