Little League® baseball starts with Tee-Ball at roughly age 4 and can be played in just about any open space, including a baseball diamond. Then, kids progress onto ball fields that have mounds which are 46′ from home plate and basepaths which are 60′ apart. Kids play on these fields until they reach the Majors Division or 12U Division, depending on what your league calls it. Some will elect to play on a modified field with dimensions 50′ from pitcher’s mound to home plate and 70′ basepaths. But, most kids play on the 46/60 dimensions until they “graduate” out of Little League® 12U division.
Next up for players that want to continue on with baseball include AAU teams, Little League® Junior and Senior Divisions, and interscholastic sports leagues such as your local Middle and High School teams. If you have only played Little League® to this point, welcome to the “Big Field.” In the coming weeks, I will be working with local AAU and High School coaches on the transition from the small fields of Coach Pitch and Majors to the big field of Juniors, Seniors Divisions.
My hometown team, North Kingstown Wickford, played it first Juniors division game yesterday. My roster includes players who have played on the “Big Field” in previous years as well as on local middle school teams. As well as my son and several players who were introduced to the “Big Field” just a few days ago in practice. It was a fun, competitive game with some surprising defensive plays, consistent pitching, and timely hitting. And mixed into that was the confusion over leading off bases, stealing, pitching from a stretch, and some other fielding situations which are just going to take time and practice to correct.
I’m hoping for a smooth transition for the newer players to the “Big Field.” Look for more information from my local Rhode Island baseball resources on transitioning to the big field during this Fall baseball season.