NOTE: These FAQs are in the process of being updated. If you have any questions or are confused by information presented here, please contact a member of the BYBS board for clarification. We appologise for any incorrect information while we review and update this page. If you have any questions not covered in this page, please reach out to BYBS.
What rules does Bolton Youth Baseball follow?
In 2016, Bolton Youth Baseball/Softball left Little League and joined Cal Ripkin, a division of Babe Ruth League Baseball. This change was in response to the towns surrounding Bolton also moving to the new governing body and to the Mac League which governs the Major and Minor level inter-town play. On a developmental level, the move allows kids to step up to a 70' basepath at the Major level which is a nice intermediate step between the 60' basepath of the youth leagues and the 90' basepath of Middle and High School fields. Little League does not offer this step and the jump from 60' to 90' was difficult for many players.
What ages are eligable to play?Cal Ripken uses the age chart here:
Select your child's year of birth across the top and the month of birth along the side and the age at the intersection is the age your child should sign up as.
Basically, the Leage divides at May 1st. Anyone born before May 1 is one year older than anyone born after May 1st of a given year.
What are the divisions in Cal Ripken Baseball?
Cal Ripken breaks the ages into the following 5 divisions:
Tee Ball: Ballplayers ages 4-6 learn hitting and fielding fundamentals in a supportive team environment. Young athletes hit the ball from a batting tee which is height-adjusted for a level swing. Players bat in order through the line-up for the entire game. The primary goal is to begin to instruct young players in the fundamentals of baseball in a supportive team environment. All kids of this age group must play one season of Tee Ball before being considered to be moved into the Rookie leagues. BYB and the coaches will allow younger players to move up if they feel the child is safe doing so.
Rookie: Designed primarily for ballplayers ages 7-8, this division makes use of a pitching machine to allow for more hittable balls at the plate and more action in the field. Fear of actually being hit by a pitched ball is diminished. It makes the game safer and improves the playing confidence of all participants. Players who show the skills to be safe will be selected to play several "Step-Up" games with neighboring towns where the kids will face their first live pitched balls. This "Step-up" program is designed to be instructional during a game format and prepare the kids for the Minors level. Top players at the Rookie level may be called up to fill a roster spot during a Minors game.
Minors : Recommended for ballplayers ages 9-10. Players build and refine their fundamental skills while beginning to understand game strategy and teamwork. Participants at this level become eligable to participate in tournament competition leading to the 10 Year-Old World Series. All games are kid pitched and mercy rules apply to keep the scores from becoming wildly unbalanced. Kids are encouraged to try all positions.
Majors: Majors is the most experienced level of Cal Ripken Baseball. This level is recommended for 11 and 12 year old players. To encourage the league to allow kids of all abilties to pitch, there are rules regarding how many innings a pitcher may pitch each calendar week. There are two formats in this division, Majors 60 and Majors 70. The difference being the distances between bases and the distance from the plate to the pitcher. The number is the number of feet between bases. (for reference, a traditional diamond has bases 90 feet apart)
Majors 60: Wiith a 46 foot pitching distance and a 60 foot basepath, special base running rules are in place. This division includes a tournament trail to a World Series playoff.
Majors 70: Features a 50' pitching distance and 70 foot basepaths, this division helps build strength and skills needed for the full size diamond and includes a tournament trail which could end in the World Series in Branson, MO at Ballparks of America with as many as 8 International Champions.
I just registered my son/daughter for the BYBS program. What will BYBS provide for equipment, and what do I need to provide as a parent?
BYBS will provide helmets w/facemask, catcher’s gear, bats, team shirts and hats. Players need provide their own baseball glove, gray pants, team-colored socks, cleats, water bottle, and a positive fun attitude. Many parents do additionally provide their own approved bat and helmet, however, it’s not required. For kids starting out, it is advised to not go buying a lot of equipment. Not only is the equipmnet expensive, in the earlier years, children will outgrow it long before it is worn out. Lightly used gear can many times be found from families with older children in the program. In addition, every spring BYB works with Dick's Sporting Goods in Leominster to host a weekend where you can get 20% off all your gear.
Bat Guide: Dick's Sporting Goods Bat Guide
Glove Guide: Dick's Sporting Goods Glove Guide
Is my son/daughter required to have a facemask?
Players in Rookie levels and under must have a batting helmet with a facemask. The facemask is optional for Minors and above, but is advised. For softball, girls are encouraged to wear proper face protection at all times.
What is this new bat rule I have heard about?
Baseball bats used in Cal Ripken and other youth leagues as of January 1, 2018 are now governed under the USA Baseball bat regulations. In effect, these new rules restrict the action of the non-wood bats so that players who spend money on high end bats do not have any hitting advantages over all other players. This does not mean that all bats swing the same, only that in testing, the action of the ball off the bat is the same and the same level of swing should result in the same resulting hit. You will hear that the "Bats are dead" and "have no pop". These are simply comparisons to a time where specific bats added significant distance to a hit based on how the bat was constructed. The new bat rules eliminate this "arms race". So long as the child's bat displays the USA Baseball logo, the bat is leagal for play. Older bats, regarless of how they worked are all now banned in competition unless they were made of wood. More details of this new rule can be found here:
I want my child to play in a higher or lower division than the age guidelines allow. Can I do that?
All players under the age of 7 are required to play one year of Tee Ball. BYB is committed to compliance with the Cal Ripken age requirements, and in fairness to all kids, older kids will not generally be allowed to play lower divisions. However, if you believe that your child is not developmentally ready for the competitive divisions (Minor baseball/softball, Major baseball/softball) you can request that he or she remain in the farm divisions for an additional year. Kids seeking to move up a division (such as Rookie moving to Minors before age 9) must qualify to do so in the annual tryouts. Tryouts for kids younger than 9 must be approved by BYB prior to the tryout date. Please put your request in the comment section of the registration form or contact your Player Agent directly. If your request is approved, your child may play at the requested level.
Can I request my child be placed on a particular team?
We DO NOT honor requests for specific placements in competitive divisions, specifically Major baseball/softball, and Minor baseball/softball. We try to honor requests in non-competitive divisions (IL & TB) but we cannot guarantee it. We will guarantee the siblings will be kept together in both competitive and non-competitive divisions. If you would like to make a request, please add it to the “Comments” section of the registration form and/or contact your Player Agent directly.
My son/daughter registered for BYBS back in December and now it’s March and he/she no longer wants to play baseball. Am I eligible for a refund?
Per the board-approved refund policy, Registration fees are treated as donations towards the operations of Bolton Youth Baseball. A refund of registration fees may be considered under special circumstances. To request a refund, the parent/guardian of the player requesting to withdraw from registration must submit a written request detailing the special circumstances justifying the refund on or before January 31st of the registration year.
The letter will be submitted to the Board of Directors for consideration. The Board, in its discretion, may authorize a refund of all or part of the fee. A $25.00 administration charge will be accessed assessed against any amount authorized to be refunded. Once approved by the Board of Directors, a check for the amount authorized, less $25.00, will be issued within eight weeks.
No consideration will be given to a request for refunds received after January 31st of the registration year.
How do I register my child for a specific level? Why so many different levels?
Bolton Youth Baseball has age, grade and level specific registrations. All 4 year old, 5 year old, and 6 year old (unless they played the previous year) players must play Tee Ball and should register for Tee-Ball. All 6 year old (with Tee-Ball experience), 7 year old, and 8 year old players must register for the Rookie League. Eight year old players who were invited to try out for Minors should register for Minors /Majors and those who do not get an invitation to tryout may register for Rookie League. Players 9-12 should register for Minors /Majors and will be placed based on the tryouts or the minimum age required by Cal Ripken Baseball.
It is the objective of the Bolton Youth Baseball and Softball Board of Directors to place each child into a situation where he or she will continue to develop and succeed. The league was developed with levels of play where the kids can be continue to progress and develop without being overwhelmed. Baseball and softball can be difficult sports to master, so our objective is to offer a range of levels, leagues and tournaments which will provide on outlet for players of all skill levels to enjoy the experience and excitement that is America's Pastime
My son/daughter wants to play summer or fall baseball?
Bolton Youth Baseball partners with Triple Play for fall baseball for players that will be 9-12 in the following season. For all other kids, BYB has a fall program. This program plays one game and one priactice each week. The season is approximately 6 weeks. We play games within Bolton and against other towns like Harvard. The fall is a good time to work on new skills and prepare players for the next level. At this point we do not hava a formal summer program, but are looking into it. If you are interested, please reach out to us.
My son/daughter is 5 years old and he/she wants to play in the Instructional (Rookie) League baseball. Is he/she eligible?
Bolton Youth Baseball encourages all Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten age kids to play T-Ball. This level is more than just baseball fundamentals but it also allows the kids the time to adjust to the game without the pressures of learning outs and errors. Bolton Youth Baseball has set a policy that all “league age” 5 year olds MUST play T-ball, no exceptions. In addition, all Kindergarten “league age” 6 years olds must play T-ball if they have not already played the previous season. Players age 7 and older are exempt from this rule and will be placed in Rookie League.
My son/daughter is 8 years old and he/she wants to try out for the Minors baseball division. Is he/she eligible?
BYB is open to having any 8-year-olds tryout for the miinors, but should know that most likely they will end up in Rookie. Having the kids go to tryouts is a good experience, as long as they understand that doesn't guarantee a spot in minors. There are many factors that go into choosing the teams. In Bolton, our biggest factor is the number of players we have. For example, if we have 20 players for minors, we would want 2-4 more players to ensure that we had enough for 2 teams. If we had 22 players for minors, most likely zero 8-year-olds would make minors. There are other factors like parents that coach and keeping siblings on the same team. BYB does its best to ensure things are fair for all players and teams, but sometimes there are other factors that need to be considered.
My son/daughter is 10 years old and he/she wants to try out for Majors baseball division. Is he/she eligible?
We ask that all 9-12yo attend tryouts and we'll place them oin the team that best aligns to their ability and our numbers. All 11yo and 12yo players must play majors by league rules and are placed on the roster first. If we need additional players to round out the teams, then the highest rated 10yo players will be pulled up next. This decision is based both on the performance during tryouts and on the coach evaluation from the previous year.
My son/daughter is too old for BYBS baseball. Is there a league for players 13 years and older?
Absolutely! BYBS has partnered with Maynard and Stow for kids too old for Cal Ripkin to begin playing in the Babe Ruth league.
The Maynard/Stow Baseball Charitable Corp. is now in the process of putting together the Minuteman Babe Ruth Baseball League Team. This is a recreational/competitive weekend baseball league. The Team is open to 13-15yo players from Maynard, Stow, and Bolton.eague.
Please see the registration form below
There is also the NRSD Middle/High School baseball and softball teams that may also be an option to consider.
How are Managers and Assistant Coaches identified and selected for baseball and softball?
On the BYB registration form you will have the option to select that you are interested in being a volunteer Manager or Assist Coach, along with several other volunteer options. Player Agents work with the previous years Managers to determine who is interested on coming back to Manage a team. From there Managers are selected and presented to the President who has the final approval. All Assistant Coaches are selected by the team Managers for each team and again approved by the President. No Manager or Coaches position are automatically carried over from season to season.
How long is the baseball season?
Spring baseball typically holds tryouts late in January so that the Macintosh League can finalize teams and create schedules. Practice and games start in March as soon as the fields open although practice can begin indoors as needed. The season lasts from April until the middle to end of June depending on the level. T-Ball, Rookie and Minors levels end around the second week of June. Majors have playoffs which usually occur the third and fourth weeks of June and the season ends when playoff are complete or the team is eliminated.
How often do teams practice and play games? Why are practice and games on different days?
In general, the lower level teams play and practice less than the older levels. Tee Ball practices once a week with 1 game per week. Rookie practice about 3 times over two weeks with 1 game per week. Minors level and above generally have 1-2 practices and 2-3 games per week. Practice times vary because Bolton has limited field space for baseball. To ensure all teams get equal use of the fields for practice the teams are rotated in and out of the avaiable times slots. This is also done to ensure that one team is not stuck with the early or late time slot for the season.
As a BYBS Volunteer will I be required to submit to a background check (CORI,NSOR)?
Yes. Every year ALL BYB Managers, Assistant Coaches, and Board Members are required by Little League International to submit to a background check, which will be closely managed/guarded by the league President. Also, if you have already been through the background check process via school or another youth program, you are still required to submit to a BYB background check, no exceptions. In addition, the State of Massachusetts requires all youth programs to conduct CORI checks on all volunteers.
Who is responsible for Memorial Field ownership and management?
Memorial Field is owned by the Town of Bolton and is managed under the Park & Recreations Committee. While BYB is the primary contributor and caretaker towards the fields’ upkeep and improvements, we are only a user of the field space, just like the school, Bolton Youth Soccer, Bolton Hoops, and any town resident for that matter. In addition, due to Memorial Fields location within the wetlands, the Bolton Conservation Commission is also involved in any discussions as it relates to Memorial Field changes/improvements. Bolton DPW is also responsible for general grass cutting and maintenance of the sprinkler system.