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 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2010 > September - December > 50-70 Pilot Program to be Offered Again in 2011

50-70 Pilot Program to be Offered Again in 2011

50-70 Pilot Program to be Offered Again in 2011

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Little League International has completed its assessment of the 50-70 Pilot Program that was made available to local leagues beginning in January 2010, and will offer more options for local leagues in 2011.

“By all accounts, the program was successful,” Patrick Wilson, Vice President of Operations at Little League International, said. “Survey results overwhelmingly showed that many local leagues that participated embraced the concept of a division of play that provides a bridge between the standard Little League Baseball field and a conventional baseball field.”

For the 2011 season, the 50-70 Pilot Program will be revised and expanded, based on the input from local league and district volunteers.

Each local league will have a choice to offer the 50-70 Pilot Program in one of the following age groups for baseball:

“Transitional” 50-70 Pilot Program for 12-13 Year-Olds

  • Uses Junior League Baseball Rules and Regulations, with the exception that age groups are limited to 12-13 only.

“Supplemental” 50-70 Pilot Program for 11-12 Year-Olds

  • Uses Junior League Baseball Rules and Regulations, with these exceptions: 1. Age groups are limited to 11-12 only, and; 2. Bats must meet the specifications for bats in the 12-and-under divisions.

A local league could choose to offer both of the above pilot programs, but not in combination. In other words, 11-year-olds and 13-year-olds could not be in the same 50-70 Pilot Program.

The Application for Charter/Insurance Enrollment Form for 2011 will not include a space where the local league can list the number of 50-70 Pilot Program teams. To add teams to the league’s charter, the local League President should simply go to: http://www.LittleLeague.org/50-70

If a league chooses to operate a 50-70 Pilot Program, it MUST open the opportunity to try out to ANY child who is of the appropriate league age above, and who has residence within the league’s boundaries. The league also should publicly announce the opportunity to register for the 50-70 Pilot Program, in the same manner that it publicizes registration for other programs.

Here are the stipulations that apply to each age group with regard to participation in the 50-70 Pilot Program in 2011:

Any 13-year-old who participates in one or more games in the 50-70 Pilot Program for 12-13 Year-Olds:

  • May also participate in the Junior League Division during the Regular Season.
  • Will be eligible for selection to the Junior League Division Tournament Team if he/she participates in at least 60 percent of the Regular Season games in either the 50-70 Pilot Program for 12-13 Year-Olds or the Junior League Division, as of June 15.

Any 12-year-old who participates in one or more games in the 50-70 Pilot Program for 12-13 Year-Olds:

  • May also participate in the Junior League Division during the Regular Season.
  • Will be eligible for selection to the Junior League Division Tournament Team if he/she participates in at least 60 percent of the Regular Season games in either the 50-70 Pilot Program for 12-13 Year-Olds or the Junior League Division, as of June 15. Note: A 12-year-old player who participates for one or more games during the Regular Season in the Junior League Division is not eligible for selection to the Little League (Major) Division Tournament Team.
  • Will be eligible for selection to the Little League (Major) Division Tournament Team ONLY if he/she participates in at least 60 percent of the Regular Season games in the Little League (Major) Division. (See note above.)

Any 12-year-old who participates in one or more games in the 50-70 Pilot Program for 11-12 Year-Olds:

  • May also participate in the Little League (Majors) Division during the Regular Season.
  • Will be eligible for selection to the Little League (Majors) Division Tournament Team if he/she participates in at least 60 percent of the Regular Season games in the Little League (Majors) Division, as of June 15. (Participation in the Pilot Program does not count toward this.)
  • May also participate in the Junior League Division during the Regular Season, but by doing so would no longer be eligible after that point in the Little League (Majors) Division. Such a player would be eligible only for selection to the Junior League Division Tournament Team (not Majors), and only if he/she participated for at least 60 percent of the Regular Season games in the Junior League Division.

Any 11-year-old who participates in the 50-70 Pilot Program for 11-12 Year-Olds:

  • May also participate in the Little League (Majors) Division, or the Minor League Division, during the Regular Season.
  • Will be eligible for selection to the Little League (Majors) Division Tournament Team if he/she participates in at least 60 percent of the Regular Season games in the Little League (Majors) Division. (Participation in the Pilot Program does not count toward this.)
  • Will be eligible for selection to the 10-11-Year-Old Tournament Team if he/she participates in at least 60 percent of the Regular Season games in the Little League (Majors) Division or the Minor League Division. (Participation in the Pilot Program does not count toward this.)

Field Availability

One of the most common challenges in establishing a 50-70 Pilot Program in 2010 related to field space. Many said they do not have a field in their boundaries that could accommodate a 50-70 division.

However, they may not realize that the field is not required to be inside the league’s boundaries to be usable. For instance, if only one field is converted to 50-70 play in a given area, any chartered Little League could use that field to play 50-70 games, provided certain conditions are met as noted below.

The field does not need to be owned or operated by the local Little League. As long as the field meets Little League standards, the owner of the field permits the use, and the local Little League Board of Directors approves the use of the field, it’s acceptable. (In this case, Little League accident insurance would be in force. The owner of the field may ask to be named as an additional insured on the liability policy, but this is not required by Little League International.)

That would allow, for instance, some or all of the leagues in a given district to charter for the 50-70 Pilot Program in 2011, and play those games on a single field.

Another solution may be to convert an existing “standard” Little League field (a field with 46-foot pitching distance and 60-foot base paths) to a 50-70 field, but to allow that field to be used for BOTH divisions.

Such a conversion is possible. Little League International has provided a step-by-step tutorial on converting a field for dual use. It can be downloaded at: 50-70 Field Conversion

Of course, a local league also can convert a conventional baseball field to the smaller 50-70 size. However, doing so would require two separate pitching mounds. (A portable pitching mound can be used in regular season, but not tournament play.)

Other Conditions

  • Leagues will be allowed to operate under interleague play and combined teams.  However, players will only be eligible for tournament in the league where they reside. A combination involving teams from the “Transitional” 50-70 Pilot Program for 12-13-Year-Olds and the “Supplemental” 50-70 Pilot Program for 11-12-Year-Olds is not permitted.
  • Leagues will be allowed to structure the 50-70 Pilot Program so that their typical season is conducted, for example, on Monday through Friday. Then on Saturday and/or Sunday, leagues could offer the pilot program to players who wish to participate. All pitching guidelines apply. (Regulation VI.) Pitchers will follow proper day rest by age to determine pitching eligibility.
  • Participating leagues (and districts with participating leagues) will be permitted to organize tournaments using a Special Games Request Form for players in the 50-70 Pilot Program. Players may participate in both Special Games and the International Tournament under guidelines established in the Baseball Rulebook.
  • The 50-70 Pilot Program will not include an International Tournament element in 2011. However, as noted above, leagues and districts may organize Special Games tournaments if approved.
  • The fence distance in the 50-70 Pilot Program is up to the local league to decide. It is recommended that the distance be at least 200 feet, but not more than 300 feet.
  • In the 50-70 Pilot Program, the height of the pitcher’s plate, in relation to the level of home plate, is eight inches.
  • The maximum diameter of bats in the “Transitional” 50-70 Pilot Program for 12-13-Year-Olds cannot exceed 2 5/8 inches. The maximum diameter for bats in the “Supplemental” 50-70 Pilot Program for 11-12-Year-Olds cannot exceed 2 1/4 inches.