Los Gatos Little League consist of five divisions (T-Ball, Minors, Majors, Juniors and Challenger) incorporating seven levels-of-play (T-Ball, Single A/Machine Pitch, AA, AAA, Majors, Juniors, and Challenger), each of which is appropriate for players at different stages in the development of their baseball skills. The Challenger Division, offers boys and girls with physical and mental challenges the opportunity to participate in an organized baseball program.
The appropriate level-of-play for a child is not determined strictly or solely by the player's age, although age is one factor that parents and coaches use to help ascertain the correct level for that child. In the level-of-play descriptions, below, we provide guidelines for the skill levels and ages of children who may play at each of the levels. All of LGLL's age guidelines are consistent with those suggested by the international Little League organization. Based on with these guidelines, feedback from Player Evaluation Sessions, and evaluations from prior year coaches, players are drafted onto teams by Managers (AA, AAA, Majors & Juniors) or placed on teams by an LGLL Commissioners (/Single A/Machine Pitch, and T-Ball).
Generally, teams are formed top to bottom (i.e., in succession from Juniors to Majors to AAA to AA...down to T-Ball) according to the following schedule:
Juniors/Majors in late January,
AAA in early-February,
AA in mid-February, and
Single A(Machine Pitch) and T-Ball at the end of February.
T-BALL DIVISION (5 AND 6-YEAR-OLDS)
T-ball is open to all 5 and 6-year-old first-time players and, by request, to 7 or 8-year-old players who want to learn the fundamentals of hitting and fielding.* In T-Ball, players begin by hitting off a batting tee but may progress to hitting coach-pitch as the season advances. The primary goals of T-ball are to have fun, to instruct children in the fundamentals of baseball, and to allow them to experience the value of teamwork.
No previous skills or experience are required.
The T-Ball Commissioner forms teams with the purpose of ensuring an enjoyable experience for players, parents and coaches. The Commissioner will consider criteria such as coach or teammate requests and the school attended by the player, although we cannot guarantee we will be able to honor requests.
T-Ball games last a maximum of 3 innings or 70 minutes. Each inning, every player bats (either off of a batting tee or a coach's pitching), using a semi-cushioned T-ball, and plays in the field. Players rotate positions in the infield/outfield. No scores are kept.
Teams will typically have one weekday practice and one Saturday game each week. The season, which begins in late-March and ends in early-June, includes approximately 10 games. Games are played at Blossom Hill School.
MINORS DIVISION (7 TO 12-YEAR-OLDS)
The goal of the Little League Minors divisions is to prepare children for eventual selection onto a Majors Division team. LGLL has established three levels-of-play within the Minors Division. Most of the players will be between 7 and 11 years old, although 6-year-olds with one year of T-ball experience and 12-year-olds, who receive waivers from the District, may also play within the Minors Division.
Single A/Machine-Pitch (6 - 7 year olds)
Many of the players in Single A/Machine Pitch will be 7-years-old although, upon request, 8 and 9-year-olds may enroll. Also, parents of 6-year-olds with one year of T-Ball experience may elect to have their children play in Single A. In Single A, coaches reinforce the fundamental skills: batting, throwing, catching, and base running, in a game environment. Players improve their understanding of how to play the game of baseball. They learn more about base running, defensive situations, and rules-of-play.
Players who register for Single A have learned basic skills (batting stance and grip, throwing motion, fielding stance) and should be familiar with the rules-of-play. Players should be able to make semi-accurate throws and play catch with each other. Single A is comprised primarily of 7-year-olds, but parents of 8 or 9-year-olds, with little or no prior experience or who don't meet the developmental guidelines for AA, may request to play Single A.
The Single A/Machine Pitch Commissioner forms teams with the purpose of ensuring an enjoyable experience for players. The Commissioner will use information such as players' schools, and coach or teammate requests when forming teams. We cannot guarantee we will be able to honor all requests.
Single A/Machine Pitch games last a maximum of four innings or 90 minutes. Each inning, every player hits Machine-pitched baseballs (hard balls) at 35-40 MPH. Players do not strike-out, but are put on base if they have not hit after 5 pitches. Players who are "put-out" in the field return to the dug out.
Players rotate through infield and outfield positions, although coaches may consider safety in assigning positions. Ten defensive players take the field during each half-inning. Players share equal playing time and will sit out innings, but no player will sit out a second inning until all players have sat out one inning. Catchers are positioned behind home plate and catch "live" pitches. Game scores are not kept.
Teams will have one practice, one weekday game, and one Saturday game each week during the season which begins in mid-March and ends in late-May or early-June. Games are played at Blossom Hill School.
AA (7 - 9 year olds)
AA is the first level of player-pitched baseball in LGLL. The majority of the players in AA will be 8 or 9-years-old. AA teams may also include some 10-year-olds who are not developmentally ready for AAA and who either chose to play in AA or were not drafted onto AAA teams. Experienced 7-year-olds may be drafted(selected) onto AA teams if they attend the Player Evaluation Session and meet all requirements to play in AA. Any player that doesn't meet the requirements to play in AA, will be sent back to Single A for another season.
In AA, coaches emphasize the advancement of players’ baseball skills. Players are taught to apply those skills and make their own decisions in live game situations. AA introduces live pitching from the players, as well as base stealing and bunting. AA is meant to prepare players for their introduction to competitive baseball in AAA.
Players entering AA should be able to demonstrate the following skills: the ability to hit a baseball pitched on a flat line (not lobbed), the ability to catch and throw a ball on a flat line, and knowledge of all field positions and base locations. Players should not be afraid to catch a baseball or to have a ball pitched at them. Most children play in AA for two years prior to entering AAA. Parents of 10-year-olds with little experience and who don't meet the developmental guidelines for AAA may request their children play in AA.*
Managers will draft AA teams using information from the Player Evaluation Session and the evaluations from prior year coaches.
Games last a maximum of six innings or 90 minutes. Teams observe continuous batting; the batting order includes all players on the team. Players may be called out on strikes and half-innings end after three outs. To develop hitting and fielding skills, at certain times batters will continue to hit from a coach pitcher after being walked by a player pitcher. Players are rotated through infield and outfield positions, although coaches may consider safety in assigning positions. Nine defensive players take the field during each half-inning. Players will sit out innings, but no player will sit out a second inning until all players have sat out one inning.
Youth and parent volunteer umpires are used in AA games. Official game scores are kept and team standings tracked.
Teams will have one practice, one weekday game, and one Saturday game each week during the season which begins in March and ends in early-June. Games are played at Blossom Hill School.
AAA (9 - 11 year olds)
Players are introduced to more competitive play in AAA. Coaches continue to emphasize the development and use of good baseball mechanics for throwing, catching, fielding, and batting. Players also develop an increased understanding of how to play in different game situations. AAA provides a “real” Little League baseball experience and prepares players for the higher level of competitive play in Majors. Most of the players in AAA will be 9, 10 or 11-years-old. Since AAA teams will be drafted by coaches, all kids must attend the Player Evaluation Sessions. Little League rules mandate that 12-year-olds may only play in AAA with specific District approval.
Players entering AAA should have command of the basic skills of baseball (fielding, catching, throwing, batting and base running). Players should also understand appropriate actions in game situations, such as when and where to make put-outs, how to steal bases, how to tag-up on fly balls, and how to execute cut-offs.
Teams are drafted (selected) by the AAA managers using information from Player Evaluation Sessions and evaluations from prior year coaches. AAA teams will include those 10 and 11 year-olds who either were not drafted onto Majors teams or chose to play in AAA. Parents of 10 or 11-year-olds may request that their child ONLY be considered for the AAA draft if:
they feel the child is not developmentally ready for Majors,
their child would prefer or benefit from the additional playing time and position rotation in AAA, or
their child is not prepared to make the time commitment necessary to play on a Majors team.
Games last a maximum of six innings or 2 hours. AAA rules-of-play include continuous batting, where the batting order includes all players on the team. There are no restrictions on stealing and bunting. Managers are required to rotate players to infield and outfield positions, although, by Little League rules, 12-year-olds are not allowed to pitch.
AAA utilizes youth and volunteer parent umpires. Official game scores are kept and standings are tracked. Teams participate in a end-of-year tournament at the conclusion of the regular season.
Teams typically have two games and one practice each week during the season which begins in early to mid-February and ends in early-June. Nearly all games are played at Balzer Field.
MAJORS DIVISION (11 to 12 year olds, 10's on an exception basis)
At the Majors level, coaches increase the instructional focus on baseball strategies and tactics while continuing to reinforce the fundamental skills. Majors is the most competitive level of baseball in LGLL and teams are drafted by Managers using information from Player Evaluation Sessions. Most players in Majors will be 12 and 11-years-old, although qualified 10 and 9-year-olds may also be drafted onto Majors teams if they attend the Player Evaluation Sessions. Little League rules mandate that 12-year-olds play in Majors unless they receive specific District approval to play in AAA.
Players entering Majors have demonstrated command of the basic skills of baseball (fielding, catching, throwing, batting and base running). They also understand appropriate actions in game situations, such as when and where to make put-outs, how to steal bases, how to tag-up on fly balls, and how to execute cut-offs. Parents may request that their 11-year-old child NOT be included in the pool of potential Majors players (and, therefore, ensure the child is NOT drafted into Majors).* Parents may make this choice if their child is not developmentally ready for Majors, if their child would prefer or benefit from the additional playing time and position rotation in AAA, or if their child is not prepared to make the time commitment necessary to play on a Majors team.
Players compete for positions and playing time, although every child in Majors plays a minimum of three defensive innings and gets one at-bat each game. Majors play does not employ continuous batting; only nine players may bat in a team's line-up during each inning.
Games last a maximum of 6 innings or 2 hours.
Experienced adult umpires officiate at Majors games. In each game, the home team must supply an official scorekeeper. Season standings are tracked and regular-season champions are recognized. Majors teams participate in a end-of-year tournament at the conclusion of the regular season.
Teams begin practicing several times per week in early-February. During the season, which lasts from late-February through early-June, teams may continue to practice two or more times per week and will play two games each week. Games are played at Baggerly Field and occasionally at neighboring Little Leagues.
JUNIORS (13-14 year olds ONLY)
The Junior League Baseball Division is a program for boys and girls ages 13-14, using a conventional 90-foot diamond with a pitching distance of 60 feet, 6 inches. Modified diamond dimensions may be used during the regular season.
CHALLENGER DIVISION (5 TO 18-YEAR OLDS)
The Challenger Division offers boys and girls with physical and mental challenges the opportunity to participate in an organized baseball program. The most fundamental goal of the Challenger Division is to give everyone a chance to play and to be a part of a team. The Challenger Division is a structured athletic program that incorporates “Buddies” from the Majors Division. Playing with the same equipment on the same fields, Challenger Division participants have the opportunity to experience the joys of pulling together as a team, being cheered, and earning awards for their achievements.
* During On-Line Registration, parents have the opportunity to specify that their child be placed at the LOWER end of our level-of-play guidelines if they feel it is appropriate given the child's level-of-skill and experience.
Parents are strongly encouraged to become involved in Little League. After completing a Little League volunteer application and passing a required national background check, parents may become involved in practices, and be eligible as coaches, managers, umpires, local league board members and other volunteer positions within the league.