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PROGRAMS

Through simple, basic lessons and proper supervision of regulation competitive baseball, Williamstown Cal Ripken Baseball teaches skills, mental and physical development, and the basic ideals of sportsmanship and fair play. In adopting rules, in establishing standards, and in all planning, the primary consideration is the welfare of the children who participate.

FACILITIES

The Bud Anderson Field facility includes a concession stand, a drinking fountain, and restrooms.  Parking is available on Stetson Road.  Visitors are reminded to be alert for bats thrown and balls thrown or hit from the field.

The infield soil area is covered with a special mixture of clay and small rounded pebbles that reduce bad ball hops and make the surface safer for sliding.  Big league fields use the same mixture.

SPRING SEASON (Opening Day May 5th, 2018)

Grant League Division.  Ages 4 - 6.  A program to teach the fundamentals of hitting and fielding.  Coaches will toss balls to the hitters, or the hitters will will hit the ball from a batting tee which is adjusted to a height that allows the batter to swing level.  The primary goal is to begin to instruct young players in the fundamentals of baseball in a supportive team environment.

Rookie League Division. Ages 6-9. For inexperienced players designed to teach fundamental skills and build confidence as players begin to learn game strategy in a supportive environment of team competition with COACH PITCHING.

Minor League Division. Ages 8-11. Designed to reinforce basic skills taught in rookie league, build confidence as players and to further advance knowledge of game strategy in a supportive environment of team competition.  This level will introduce KID PITCH and emphasize a more competitive atmosphere.  Designed for children with basic baseball skills.

Major League Division. Ages 9-12. The most experienced level of Williamstown Cal Ripken Baseball.  Players continue to build and refine skills while they apply game strategy in team competition with player pitching.

Important: Returning Tee Ball, Rookie and Minor league players, who wish to move up to the next level must attend a Player Orientation and Skills Assessment in March.

Cost*: $135 for 1 child, $90 for each additional child for majors/minors/rookies (2017 prices listed)
           $55 for 1 child, $40 for each additional child for Tee Ball  (2017 prices listed)
           $225 maximum per family

*No child will be turned away or limited in participation because of a parent's/guardian's inability to pay a full fee.

LEAGUE PHILOSOPHY

Playing time and youth sports

Berkshire Eagle Sports columnist Tom Ryan began his February 20 column:

"Playing time is something that any of us who have played sports is all too familiar with. The two words bring smiles and joy to an athlete's face, or create sorrow and tears. At the high school level, playing time is an issue. Always will be. At the youth level, playing time is becoming more of an issue. Kids want to play. I say that they should."

Tom made some informal surveys of players while watching youth games. Here is some of what the kids said was most important to them:

"Kids just want to play." "They do it for the love of the game, but there must be some reward. Playing time is that reward."

"Kids want to learn and improve. When I was a kid, I had a coach who sat us down before the season fired up and made us one promise: Over the course of the season, he would make each of us a better player than we were at the start."

"For many of us, of course, sports is about winning. As I talked with the kids, though, I realized I was the one who had to bring that word up." "Not one of the 50 or so kids I talked to used the word winning once. Now, many of you coaches may say, 'Not my kids; they want to win.'" "When I asked them, though, none of them said that winning mattered. Of course, they don't enjoy losing either. But unlike the grown-ups, the bummer for them lasts all of five minutes."

"In any event, it's time for all of us to look carefully at the true meaning of youth sports. We're not talking about Lebron James here. We're talking about kids playing ball. They should be having a ball as well."

Williamstown Cal Ripken Baseball

Our league adopted an equity playing time policy before the 2002 season. The policy provides an opportunity for each child to play one-half of each game and one full game per week. The policy was adopted for two principal reasons. First, we realized that some children were quitting baseball because they sat the bench 4 out of 6 innings. Second, we acknowledged that children need to play to improve their skills and confidence as individuals, and as a team.

The policy was a no brainer for children and parents. Most coaches embraced the policy, and, not surprisingly, their players have returned this year. Tom Ryan has it right: playing time (and playing time in different field positions) is more important to children than winning games. Your support will take us closer to our goal that all children will have a ball while learning to play ball.