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 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2011 > September-December > Little League Offers 50-70 Pilot Program in 2012

Little League Offers 50-70 Pilot Program in 2012

Little League Offers 50-70 Pilot Program in 2012

Goal is to Potentially Establish Fully Integrated 50-70 Division as Early as 2013

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Little League International has completed a second year of assessments of the 50-70 Pilot Program that was made available to local leagues beginning in January 2010, and will offer an updated option to local leagues in 2012.

“By all accounts, the program has progressed,” Patrick Wilson, Senior Vice President of Operations and Program Development at Little League International, said. “Survey results again showed that many local leagues have embraced the concept of a division of play that provides a bridge between the standard Little League Baseball field and a conventional baseball field.”

Little League will use the third year of data collected from local leagues and districts to potentially craft a new division of play.

“Our goal is to evaluate the viability of offering the 50-70 Baseball Division to all leagues worldwide, as early as 2013,” Mr. Wilson said. “This would consist of full integration into the International Tournament, to include a World Series.”

For the 2012 season, the 50-70 Pilot Program will again provide several options for local leagues. The feedback from leagues using these various options will be used in determining the makeup of the potential new 50-70 Baseball Division, including the age range of players permitted to participate in it, and the rules that will apply.

For 2012, local leagues may opt to offer the 50-70 Pilot Program:

  • For players league age 11-13 (i.e., 11-13, 12-13, 11-12, etc.) ONLY, and;
  • Using Junior League Baseball Rules and Regulations, with the exceptions of the ages permitted, and pitching/basepath distances. 

The Application for Charter/Insurance Enrollment Form for 2012 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/leagueofficers/5070programenrollment.htm

To find out which leagues have already chartered for 2012, simply go to:

http://www.littleleague.org/leagueofficers/20125070Participants.htm

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, and who has residence within the league’s boundaries. Consistent with the other age divisions in the Little League program, the local league may restrict its 50-70 Pilot Program to any age grouping within the 11-13 range.

The league also must 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 2012:

Any 13-year-old who participates in one or more games in the 50-70 Pilot Program in 2012:

  • 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 or the Junior League Division, as of June 15.

Any 12-year-old who participates in the 50-70 Pilot Program AND one or more games in the Junior League Baseball Division in 2012:

  • 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 or the Junior League Division, as of June 15.
  • Will not be eligible for selection to the Little League (Major) Division Tournament Team.

Any 12-year-old who participates in the 50-70 Pilot Program AND the Little League (Majors) Baseball Division (but not the Junior League Baseball Division) in 2012:

  • 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.)

Any 11-year-old who participates in the 50-70 Pilot Program in 2012:

  • 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 have 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 2012, 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 process has been successfully used by many leagues. Little League International has provided a step-by-step tutorial on converting a field for dual use. It can be downloaded at: Converting a Field For Dual Use

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.
  • 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 2012. 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 cannot exceed 2 5/8 inches (as noted in the Junior League Baseball Rules, which will apply to the 50-70 Pilot Program for 2012).