Rhode Island Little League’s District 3 consists of teams from Coventry, Warwick Continental American, Warwick North, North Kingstown/Wickford, Exeter/West Greenwich, Chariho, Westerly National, Narragansett, East Greenwich, and South Kingstown. Under the leadership of South Kingstown’s Frank Gallucci, an organizational meeting was held last night to:
- Establish the number of teams per division each league would be submitting for regular season play
- Discuss the cooperation of leagues which had a deficit number of players in a particular division
- To go over the Junior and Senior division rules as they apply to batting, pitch counts, and general rules
- To discuss how the responsibilities of the home team in terms of field preparation, baseballs, umpires, rain outs, and more
- To review the playing fields in District 3 and their locations
The leagues represented at the meeting included North Kingstown/Wickford, Westerly National, Narragansett, East Greenwich, South Kingstown, and Exeter/West Greenwich. Todd Kenney from the District 3 staff was also in attendance. Frank Gallucci chaired the meeting which lasted about 1 hour. A few observations and updates that were discussed during the meeting are:
- The Junior Division in each league looks to potentially have 2 to 3 teams per league. Some leagues wouldn’t commit to a full 3 teams but most of us in attendance felt that at least 2 teams would be entered for league play.
- The Senior Division in each league had the least amount of players available. Several leagues discussed pooling players from neighboring leagues to form one team. This would mean that District 3 would most likely need to reach out to other Districts in Rhode Island for inter-state games.
- Juniors level play can use a BBCOR bat as long as it has the “USA Bat” logo on it, certifying it as a legal bat for Little League play. Only “USA Bat” logo’d BBCOR bats are allowed in the Juniors division. Seniors can use BBCOR bats without the “USA Bat” logo.
- All leagues present at the meeting were in favor of the 4 inning max rule for starting or relief pitchers for the regular season. Once the tournament or post-regular season begins, pitch counts for pitchers will be the standard rule for tournament play. This 4 inning max rule helps encourage a fair rotation of pitchers on your team and gets others involved on the mound.
- Balks will be called in the Juniors Division as a warning and as a teaching moment to the players. A standard balk call will be made in the Seniors division with the base runner or runners advancing one base due to the balk infraction.
- Leagues have until April 8th, 2019 to turn in the rosters for teams that are submitting in the Juniors and Seniors division. The District suggests having rosters of 12 to 14 players per team to account for Interscholastic baseball schedules, AAU commitments, and other activities/sports.
I was proud to represent North Kingstown/Wickford Little League at the Juniors/Seniors Organizational meeting. I got a chance to converse with a lot of coaches that I respect and enjoy talking baseball with. The overall mood was concern about the numbers, of course. Baseball at the Juniors (13/14) and Seniors (15/16) level often takes a backseat to getting your license, getting a part time job, going to the beach with friends, etc. The goal of this group is to support the players and families who still love the game of baseball and want to continue to improve on their skills. The season will be starting in late April and I look forward to getting my NKW team prepared to play against these other quality leagues.