HLL Summer Team Selection Process
It is always the intent of HLL to provide an opportunity for as many players to participate in summer tournament play while still being mindful of the intended spirit of competitive tournaments. This outline below is a description of how this process works and we believe it is the most equitable approach to balancing these two goals.
Near the end of the spring season HLL distributes an evaluation form to all Head and Assistant coaches within each draft league. Each coach is asked to evaluate their players on 6 categories, Pitching, Catching, Hitting, Fielding, Game Knowledge, and Overall Team Rank. Evaluations are based on what each coach has seen in both games and practices during that season. It is important to note that all evaluations are weighted equally meaning a head coach evaluation does not hold any more weight than an assistant coach evaluation. These evaluations are confidentially submitted directly to the league information officer who, along with the team statistics provided by the head coach, generates a consolidated list of players for each age group using the average scores from each evaluation.
Once the league information officer has these consolidated lists finalized each league will have a summer league selection in-person meeting. The meeting is attended by the league information officer, two league executive officers and all of the head coaches of a particular league. Each league has their own meeting independent of other leagues. In this meeting coaches have an open discussion of all players in that league, revolving around the consolidated evaluations, and individual player abilities. Coaches often discuss and consider player intangibles such as attitude, effort level as well as individual tournament team positional needs. Head coaches are not allowed to be present when their own son or daughter is being discussed and are asked to leave the room. Since our spring leagues may have players from two separate age groups the two age groups will be discussed separately, meaning an 11 will not be evaluated in comparison to a 12, only other 11’s. These discussions are confidential and any information handed out is collected prior to the conclusion of the meeting. Based on discussions in this meeting each head coach is asked to generate their own independent ranking of all players in that league, one ranking for each age group. This confidential ranking is provided to the league information officer and not shared with any other league coach. All of the rankings are tallied and averaged by the league information officer which then creates the final ranked list for each age group.
Using the finalized ranked list of players generated from the selection meetings the league will reach out to invite players #1 - #12 from each age group to participate in summer tournament play. If one of these players declines the invitation then player #13 will be invited, and so on. For baseball the first group of 12 players to accept the invitation will be assigned to participate in the age-related Tondorf or Sparkler Tournaments. The second group of players #13 - #24 will be invited to play in the Sizzler Tournament. If the size of a particular age group allows and the HLL board of directors feels a 3rd team can be competitive and safely participate then players #25 - #36 will be invited and blended to create two even Sizzler teams. Families are asked to reply to their invitation in a timely manner as this decides the pace of this process.
Hopkinton participates in the summer Twin Valley Girls Softball League (8U – 14U). The League offers an “A” and “B” level of competition at the 10U and 12U level. Using the finalized list of players generated from the selection meeting the league will reach out to invite players #1 - #12 for each age group to participate on a team. If one of these players declines the invitation then player #13 will be invited, and so on. Once this ranking is complete, invitations are issued in the order of that ranking and rosters are filled systematically. If we determine there is enough interest and skill level for us to enter a “B” level team in the 10U or 12U level, the invitation process will continue to fill those teams. Our hope each summer is to place two teams each in the Twin Valley 12U and 10U Divisions. 10U teams typically play on Monday and Wednesday nights. 12U teams typically play on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Enrolling 14U and 8U teams in the Twin Valley League is dependent on level of interest from spring players and opportunity to field competitive teams.
During some Hopkinton HLL spring seasons, we have 10-year-old players playing in the 12U division. Those players will typically play in the 10U summer division as it is most often the best fit for their skill level. If a 10-year-old player falls within the 12A selection, we will have a discussion with the family about the best fit. We certainly welcome a discussion with any family that has questions about their invitation. We will work together with you to make a good decision. Families are asked to reply to their invitation in a timely manner as this decides the pace of this process.
We consider summer tournament play to be a full-schedule commitment, but we recognize there may be some occasional conflicts. We expect players to be present for almost all of the scheduled games and practices. Please let us know if you have concerns about conflicts.
It is inevitable that through this process, some players and families will be disappointed with the league selection or will not receive an invitation to play for a summer team. It is our hope that a clear understanding of just how the selection process happens is helpful to you and your player as you enter the process. Please not that a player will not be considered for a summer team if he/she has not played in at least 80% of the spring season games.
Summer League (Baseball & Softball) FAQs
Q: What opportunities are there for Summer Baseball / Softball after the spring season ends?
A: Summer tournament team opportunities are available for baseball players ages 8 and up and softball players ages 10 and up. For baseball, Hopkinton participates in the Sizzler Tournament hosted by Hopkinton, the Tondorf Tournament hosted by Medway, and the 8U Sparkler Tournament hosted by Ashland. Softball players in the 10U and 12U age groups participate in a tournament hosted by the Twin Valley League (TVL). Starting in 2021, HLL has also offered a summer skills clinic for our younger softball players and will continue this clinic going forward.
Q: Who is eligible to participate in summer tournament play?
A: Any player who participates in 80% of spring season games is eligible for consideration. This does not guarantee that the player will be selected or placed on a summer team, only that the player is eligible. Games missed due to conflicts with other sports or club baseball teams are not excused and will count against this requirement. Games missed do to illness or injury will be reviewed on a case by case basis by the HLL board.
Q: Are the Summer teams open registration similar to the Spring?
A: No, the summer teams are by invitation and players are invited through a league summer selection process.
Q: How does the summer player selection process work?
A: Information on summer ball selection process can be found here: Summer Team Selection Process.
Q: Why are there no tryouts for the summer tournament teams?
A: The HLL board of directors have considered multiple methods of making summer team selections. Utilizing a players performance over the course of the entire spring season was the evaluation method selected felt to be the best fit for our league.
Q: Are the fall evaluation results considered for summer league selection?
A: No, fall evaluation data is not used in the summer selection process. Summer selection is based on the individual player performance during the spring season.
Q: How does the team placement differ from the Spring season?
A: Summer teams are formed based on the players little league age and not the level / division the player participated in the spring. For example, a 10U team would be comprised of players who are little league age 10 or younger. HLL will always attempt to keep the age groups consistent however on occasion a player from a younger age may be asked to play at a higher age to balance out team numbers.
Q: How many teams will participate in each age group?
A: For baseball, HLL will send one team from each age group 9U through 12U to the Tondorf Tournament and one team from the 8U age group to the Sparkler Tournament. For Sizzler, Hopkinton will typically send one team from each age group, 8U – 12U; however, if a particular age group is large enough to support two competitive teams, then two teams will be entered in that division.
For Softball, depending on interest HLL will enter up to two teams in each division of the 10U and 12U age groups.
Q: Why is there no 8U division in Sizzler some seasons?
A: HLL has tried to host an 8U division many times but has only been able to do so on occasion over the many seasons this tournament has been run. The interest both in-town and from other towns is not consistently high enough to support a tournament for this age group. If the 8U sizzler division is not held in a particular year, HLL strives to provide other opportunities for this age group to expand play.
Q: What is the schedule for the Summer Tournaments?
A: Tournaments for both baseball and softball start immediately after the spring season ends and conclude in Mid-July. Typically, no games or practices are scheduled around the 4th of July.
Q: Where are the summer tournament games played?
A: Sparkler games are all played in Ashland, Tondorf games are all played in Medway, and Sizzler games are all played in Hopkinton. TVL Softball home games are played in Hopkinton but away games will be located in towns such as Hopedale, Westborough, Hudson, Uxbridge, and Oxford, to name a few.
Q: What level of commitment is expected for participation on a summer team?
A: Players who are selected and choose to participate are expected to miss no more than two games, including playoffs. Due to the nature of how the teams are selected, a player who is not committed to fully participate is taking away a roster spot for a player who would. For that reason, HLL asks all families to strongly consider their schedules prior to committing to play on a summer tournament team.
Q: Besides tournaments, are there any other opportunities for summer play?
A: There are many other camps and clinics in the area that are not affiliated with HLL. Each year these opportunities change, however HLL will share information for camps and clinics which may run through Hopkinton Parks and Rec or any of the various club teams in the area.
Q: My player was not selected to participate on a summer team. Who can I talk to about this?
A: Questions about summer team selection or any other parent concerns can be sent to the HLL player agent at [email protected].
Q: My player was selected to participate on a summer team but we feel they were placed on an incorrect team. Who can I talk to about this?
A: Questions about summer team placement or any other parent concerns can be sent to the HLL player agent at [email protected].
Q. My question wasn’t answered here. Who should I contact?
A. General questions may be sent to [email protected].