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Baseball

WALNUT CREEK LITTLE LEAGUE: Levels of Play Explained

Walnut Creek Little League is part of Little League International, an organization that was formed in 1939 and has over 2.5 million participants. The little league philosophy is to promote and develop an interest in baseball and softball in youths, while also building character, citizenship, discipline and well being. Building superior citizens rather than superior athletes makes sense, as only one in 500,000 serious players make it to the Major Leagues, and if they make it, the average career is just 5.6 years. We usually play one game during the week, and one on Saturday. We don’t normally play Sundays unless there are numerous rainouts, or a special circumstance.

Registration generally begins in October. Tryouts for AA division and above are held in late January. Drafts and team formations are mid February, and practices start then. Games begin mid March and run til the first week of June. Tournament teams may go to mid July. Tryouts are held for evaluation and team placement. 

All players are assigned to a team, and everyone plays! There are no “cuts”. Other organizations in the area are PONY Baseball (more competitive, longer season, tryouts and cuts, and boys only) on one end, and Multi League and WCYAA (less competitive, boys and girls, everyone plays) on the other. Here are our Divisions:

Challengers

For our players with physical or developmental handicaps. WCLL, the Lions Club, and local businesses sponsor this Division so the kids can play without any out of pocket expenses. It is important to our organization that we provide a way for these players and their families to enjoy Americas game, which would normally not be accessible to them, Challenger Games are on Sunday, and this year we are proud to be hosting a Jamboree for the area.

Peanuts

Generally ages 5-7 An introduction to the game. Hitting off the tee and fielding, it’s mostly about learning the game in a fun environment. For some adventurous players, coaches can pitch instead of hitting off of the tee. A practice or two a week, then games during midweek is the norm. All players hit, all are in the field, and they play 2 innings with a soft hardball.

Single A Baseball

Generally ages 7-9  Coach pitch for so the kids can concentrate on hitting a strike. 9 players in the field, but a continuous batting order. Minimum playing time (as in all Divisions in Little League), and the kids will shift to various positions. No scores or standings are kept, and practices are normally twice a week.

AA Baseball

Generally ages 9-10 (Some 11’s new to the game). Player pitch, continuous batting, steals allowed. Players entering AA should have enough skills to properly throw and catch/field a ball, as well as hit.. Practices are usually twice a week. We keep score, and the Division winner represents WCLL in the District AA Tournament.

AAA Baseball

Generally ages 9-11.  A little more competitive with steals and bunts. Still a continuous batting order, with a higher level of play. Practices are  2 to 3 times a weeks, and the Division winner represents WCLL in the District AAA Tournament.

Majors Baseball

Ages 10-12. A more competitive division where playing time may be based on ability and effort. 9 players make the starting line up and the substitutes are worked in to field and bat. More strategy with an emphasis on making the play and winning. Teams may practice 3 to 5 times a week. The division winner will represent the league at the District Tournament of Champions (TOC).

Intermediate Division

This division is for 13 year olds and helps smooth the transition from the Majors and lower Divisions with 60’ bases to the Juniors Division with 90’ base paths. With 70’ bases, lead offs are allowed, and the pitcher is throwing from 50’ rather than the 46’ for Majors Division and 60’ for Juniors. Players in this Division will likely travel to outlying areas for games as most leagues have just one or two teams.

Juniors Baseball

Ages 13-14. Real baseball with 90’ bases, 60’ pitching distance, lead offs, pick offs, steals  and balks, and strategy to go with it. Practices and most games are at our Foothill Middle School Juniors Field and are scheduled with the busy teen life in mind. The Division winner goes on to the TOC, and an All Star team will be selected from the group of players. Some players want more baseball, so also offer an additional program that will run concurrently for more games and competition. These players will have an additional practice schedule and will play in Local League Tournaments.

Senior/Big League Baseball

Ages 15-18. Games for when the High School season ends.