Life after Little League – A Baseball Parent’s Guide
A frequently asked question of parents with boys completing their last year of Little League is “What’s next for youth baseball?” Little League is followed by Babe Ruth baseball, which is sponsored by the Wilton Baseball and Softball Association (WBSA). Babe Ruth baseball is played on “the big field” with the dimensions of a major league diamond and full baseball rules. The WBSA will email all families in June of their final year of Little League to introduce the future baseball opportunities to each graduating Little League player.
1.What does the WBSA do?
The WBSA is supports organized Baseball for boys age 13 through High School with year round baseball programs for Wilton youth including winter conditions programs and playing opportunities in the Spring, Summer and Fall in Baseball for those boys who have grown out of Little League. The WBSA places teams in Babe Ruth baseball for 13-16 year olds and American Legion baseball for 16-19 year olds.
The WBSA also run organized youth softball programs for female athletes and serves as the booster organization for the Wilton High School baseball & softball programs.
2.What is Babe Ruth baseball?
Babe Ruth picks up where Little League leaves off. The player’s “league” age is your child’s age as of April 30thof the spring you are playing. Players must be 13 to play except for the Fall Prep League where 12 year olds turning 13 by the next April 30th. Fall Prep ball is designed specifically for the players just leaving Little League.
The most significant difference in Babe Ruth vs. Little League is that games are played on full Major League field dimensions of 90’ base paths, a 60’ 6” mound to plate distance.
In Wilton, players can play in Babe Ruth up to 16 (Age as of April 30). High School students that play on the Wilton High baseball team (Freshman, JV or Varsity) remain Babe Ruth eligible but cannot participate during the high school season in accordance with high school sports regulations. However, they can participate after the High Schools season ends.
3.What teams are available and what is the level of commitment?
WBSA fields multiple teams based on the number of registered players in the 13U and 15U categories. Typically, the WBSA offers both regular Babe Ruth and “Xtreme” Babe Ruth which is designed for the player who is dedicated to baseball and looking for a more competitive environment. Decisions on what teams will be offered are based on the level of interest.
Fall teams for both age groups run from the start of school through late October.
In general, spring and fall teams have 1 practice and 2 to 3 games a week. The summer schedule may consist of 1 or 2 practices and 3 to 4 games a week. This includes weekend double headers and regional tournaments.
4.Who coaches the teams?
In Babe Ruth and beyond the WBSA hires a professional coach. This allows us to provide the highest level of instruction possible. While Little League stresses basic skills, most players playing baseball beyond Little League are comfortable with the basics. A professional coach can teach them the nuances of the game and bring them to a higher level. Parent volunteers still help out in many ways – from scheduling to fundraising.
5. How “competitive” is Babe Ruth baseball?
Any player can play in Babe Ruth and players new to baseball are always encouraged to try the game of baseball. The games are competitive in the sense that (a) players have been playing a number of years and (b) boys who continue with baseball beyond Little League are normally those with an interest in continuing with the sport.
We play teams from other towns in Fairfield County including Westport, Trumbull, Fairfield, Ridgefield, Norwalk, New Canaan and Darien. Games are mostly against the other towns and not other Wilton Teams.
Practices and home games are typically played at Allen’s Meadows or the Wilton High JV field near Cider Mill School.