Hopkinton Little League

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Q: What is the structure of Hopkinton Little League (HLL)?

A: HLL provides recreational level baseball and softball and is open to all age eligible residents of Hopkinton.  HLL has three divisions: Baseball, Softball, and Challenger.  Baseball is open to boys and girls.  Softball is open to girls only.  Challenger is HLL’s adaptive baseball league for boys and girls with physical and intellectual challenges (see more on this below).  The divisions and age groups (“leagues”) are as follows:

Baseball

Tee Ball – 5s (tee only)

Instructional – 7s and 6s (coach pitch)

Single A – 8s and 7s (mostly coach pitch)

Double A – 9s and 8s (mostly kid pitch, draft league)

Triple A – 10s and 9s (all kid pitch, draft league)

Quad A – 11s and 10s (all kid pitch, draft league)

Majors – 12s and 11s (all kid pitch, draft league)

 

Softball

6U – 6s and 5s (coach pitch)

8U – 8s and 7s (mostly coach pitch, some kid pitch)

10U – 10s and 9s, possibly a few 8s (all kid pitch, draft league)

12U – 12s and 11s, possibly a few 10s (all kid pitch, draft league)

 

Girls age 5 with birthdays between September 1 and December 31 may choose either 6U softball or Tee-Ball.

Challenger

 

The Challenger league accommodates players ages 4 to 18; or up to age 22 if still enrolled in school.

 

Q: What is the Challenger division?

A: Challenger is HLL’s adaptive baseball league for children ages 4-18 (or up to age 22 if still enrolled in school) with physical and intellectual challenges. The fundamental goal of Challenger is to provide a safe and fun environment where participants can learn and enjoy the game of baseball structured to their abilities. Practices and games are typically combined into a 1.5 hour session and held once a week. This program is open to those who reside outside of Hopkinton. If you are interested in learning more about Challenger please reach out to hllchallenger@gmail.com.

Buddy Program:

A key element of the Challenger league is the Buddy Program, in which volunteers ages 12+ are paired with Challenger athletes to assist in the areas of batting, fielding and base running when necessary.  If you are interested in learning more or becoming a Buddy, please reach out to hllchallenger@gmail.com. 

 

Q. What is my player’s Little League age?

A. Little League Age is determined using the Little League International birthday cut-off dates, which are December 31 for softball and August 31 for baseball.  More information on Little League Age determinations can be found here: https://www.littleleague.org/play-little-league/determine-league-age/. Something here like – Each league usually includes youth in more than one age group. See Table 1 and 2 below.  School grade levels do not factor into Little League ages.  Little League age is based upon date of birth only.

 

Q: When is the Little League registration?

A: The Little League registration takes place online through our website hopkintonlittleleague.org beginning in late November and closes on December 31.  If you missed registration, reach out to and we will check to see if there are any roster spots remaining.

Q: When does the Little League season take place?

A: The Little League spring season runs from the start of practices on April 1 (or as soon as possible after April 1 when the fields can be made ready after snow melts) and continues through mid-June.  Games for the 2022 season will begin on Saturday, April 23, 2022 (the Saturday at the end of April school break).  Games are not scheduled during Memorial Day weekend.

Q: What days are games and practices?

A: It depends on your child’s team and league placement.  League placements are sent out in February and team/coach notifications with practice schedules are sent in March.  Prior to team assignments in March, we can’t tell you when your practices will be.  The following tables provide a general guideline of games times and practice durations.

Table 1. Baseball

League

Ages

Practice Duration and Timing

Game Duration and Timing

Tee Ball

5 yr olds

1 hour generally on a  weeknight

1 hour – Saturday AM

Instructional

6 & 7 yr olds

1 hour generally on a  weeknight

1 hour – Saturday AM

Single A

7 & 8 yr olds

1 hour generally on a  weeknight

1 ½  hours - Saturday PM and 3 weekday games (Wednesdays)

Double A

 

8 & 9 yr olds

 

1 ½ hours on a weeknight or weekend

2 hours – 1 weeknight (Monday) and Saturday PM

Triple A

 

9 & 10 yr olds

 

1 ½ hours on a weeknight or weekend

2 hours – 1 weeknight (Thursday) and Sunday PM

Quad A

 

10 & 11 yr olds

 

1 ½ hours on a weeknight or weekend

2 hours – 1 weeknight (Tuesday) and Saturday PM

Majors

11 & 12 yr olds

1 ½ hours on a weeknight or weekend

2 hours – 1 weeknight (Wednesday) and Sunday PM

Challenger

4 to 22 yr olds

No practices

1 ½  hours - Saturday PM 

 

Table 2. Softball

League

Ages

Practice Duration and Timing

Game Duration and Timing

6U

5 & 6 yr olds

1 hour on a  weeknight

1 hour – Saturdays AM/PM

8U

7 & 8 yr olds

1 hour on a  weeknight

1 ½  hours – Saturday AM/PM and 3 weekday games (Tuesday)

10U

9 & 10 yr olds

1 ½ hour on a weeknight or weekend

2 hours – 1 weeknight (Monday) and Saturday PM

12U

11 & 12 yr olds

1 ½ hour on a weeknight or weekend

2 hours – 1 weeknight (Thursday) and Sunday PM


Q. Can we pick our practice day?

A. Practice day and time will be determined by the team Head Coach. Head Coach selection is determined in March. Make sure to include any anticipated schedule conflicts in your registration information.

Q: What if my child has conflicts?

A: During registration, you will have an opportunity to tell us about potential conflicts.  For town sports for which you don’t have a schedule yet, you can just put down “Boys kindergarten soccer” or “Girls lacrosse”, etc. We work with the other Hopkinton sports organizations to minimize or eliminate conflicts, especially for the younger, non-travel levels.  For the other Hopkinton sports which involve travel, games may occur at different times each week and those organizations do not have full control over their game schedules, thus sometimes conflicts unavoidably arise.  We ask you work with your child’s coach to manage known conflicts at the start of the season and to notify them if your child will miss any HLL games or practices for any reason.

We understand many players also play club sports and are required to prioritize those teams over town leagues like HLL.  We ask that you make us aware of club team commitments at registration, and to keep your HLL coach posted about missed games or practices so they can plan accordingly.  You will also need to keep your coach informed about pitching restrictions if your child pitches for their club team. Please note that players in draft leagues are required to attend a particular percentage of games and practice (80%) in order to participate on summer teams.

We try our best to accommodate reasonable requests to work around conflicts for non-draft leagues.  For draft leagues, coaches are made aware of potential conflicts at the drafts, but they may not be able to avoid them, especially if your child has multiple conflicts.  After the drafts, it is not possible to change teams.    Please bear in mind that we can’t adjust practice and game schedules to completely work around every individual player’s extracurricular activities.  We have over 500 players and over 60 teams and six fields with which to work. 

Q: What kind of equipment and apparel do I need to purchase?

A: We ask families to provide each player with a glove and baseball/softball pants.  Baseball/softball pants are required for 10U softball and up, and Double A baseball and up.  Younger players may wear sweatpants if they prefer that over baseball/softball pants.  Shorts are not allowed in games or practices in order to protect players’ legs. Rubber-molded cleats are recommended, but sneakers are ok.  Metal spikes are not allowed.  If your son wants to play catcher, an athletic cup is required.  A bag to keep all your gear together is also recommended.  While it is not required that you purchase the following items, many older players choose to have their own helmet and bat.  HLL provides helmets and bats for those who do not have them.  Baseball bats must have a “USA Baseball” stamp/label to be used in Little League, so be sure to check for that stamp/label before purchasing a bat.  Other optional items include a belt and batting gloves.  The league provides a uniform shirt, hat and socks. Bat size recommendation charts for baseball and softball can be found online.

Q: What do registration fees cover?

A: Registration fees cover each player’s uniform, Little League insurance and charter fees, umpires, field & game equipment, field maintenance, school field rentals, as well as other operating costs. The league is a non-profit organization run entirely by volunteers.  Operating costs are also offset by local business sponsorships, fundraisers, and individual donations.

Q: Is there financial assistance available for registration fees?

A: HLL welcomes all children regardless of their financial circumstances. For those that need financial assistance, please e-mail hopkintonlittleleague@gmail.com.

Q: What fields are practices and games held on?

A: See the Fields document for information about in-town fields.

Q: What is the purpose of evaluations?

A: Evaluations are not tryouts – everyone who registers is guaranteed to be placed on a spring season team; however, evaluations are required for all players (including returning players) for draft level leagues. Players who are age-eligible for a higher league, must have a current evaluation to play up in the higher league.  Evaluations are conducted each fall (with a winter make-up date).  The primary purpose of evaluations is to help us form level skill-based teams, so that games across the league are competitive (no lopsided teams) to allow for game experiences that are fun for everyone. 

If you missed the fall evaluations, makeups will be held on Friday, January 21, 2022, 7-8pm at Metrowest Sportscenter in Ashland.  Attending evaluations does not mean you are registered for the spring season.  Registration must be completed online prior to the season.

Evaluations are not required for tee-ball, instructional baseball, Single A, 6U softball, or 8U softball (non-draft leagues).

Q: What happens in evaluations?

A: Players cycle through four stations – hitting, pitching, ground balls, and fly balls.  The player performance is scored by independent evaluators that are not affiliated with HLL or are previous experienced player-alumni of the HLL program.  The overall process takes about 15-20 minutes per player.

Q: How are draft league placements determined?

A: League placements are determined by a combination of factors, including your child’s Little League age, evaluations, and prior year ratings from coaches.  School grade levels are not a factor in league placements.  Please see our League Placement page for more information.

Q: How do the drafts work?

A: Once league placements are set, head coaches for each draft league have a meeting to select players.  The draft meetings are overseen and facilitated by board members.  Every effort is made to implement a fair and equitable draft process. During a league draft, each head coach is given a list of eligible players from which to select compiled by the league information officer. The order in which coaches draft players is picked by random draw.   Selection is made in a "serpentine process" where Coach #1 picks a player, then Coach #2 and so on until the last coach has picked a player. This ends a "draft round" and the process reverses, with the last coach starting the next round. This continues until all teams have selected a pre-determined number of players.  The round in which players become available to be selected for a team is based on scores from the evaluations and prior year data.  The coaches are not permitted to take any of that data with them or share draft information outside of the meeting. The primary goal of the draft is to organize fair, equitable, and competitive teams with attention to skill coverage in catching, pitching, fielding, and hitting.

Q:  Are changes to league placements allowed?

A: Questions about league or team placement or other parent concerns may be sent to the Player Agent at .  We are extremely reluctant to make league changes after the draft as it can upset the parity that we achieve through the draft process. If you have concerns about the safety of your child to play at their age-eligible league levels and prefer for your player to play in the lower age-eligible league, please let us know this information at registration so we can assign accordingly, as long as it doesn’t cause a safety concern for other younger/smaller players.  If your child missed evaluations, they will automatically be placed in the lower age-eligible league.

League placements are highly dependent on total participation numbers.  For example, all baseball 12 year olds are placed in Majors.  Depending on how many teams we would like to organize and how many 12 year olds have registered, there may be a limited number of roster spots remaining for 11 year olds in Majors. We ultimately want to have an even number of teams and also field 11 -12 players on each team to accommodate absence, injuries, etc. Thus the remaining 11 year olds are placed in Quad A.  This leaves limited roster spots available for 10 year olds in Quad A.  This pattern continues through the lower levels.  We try our best to place players where they can be successful.        

Q: Can I request my son or daughter be placed with a friend or carpool buddy?

A: You can make this type of request for tee-ball, instructional baseball, Single A, 6U softball, or 8U softball (non-draft leagues) and we will try our best to accommodate..  Requests for placement are not accepted for draft leagues.  

Q: How can I become a coach or other volunteer?

A: We are always looking for volunteers and we appreciate any and all help. During registration, you can indicate how you want to volunteer with the league – coach, assistant coach, field maintenance, fundraising committee, board members, scorekeeper/team parent, etc.    If you decide to volunteer after you have registered, please send a message to  .    You must complete a volunteer application and clear a background check before being permitted to work with children.  

Q. How can I get news about league events?

A. Notification emails about league events are sent to all registered players.  Please make sure the registration system has up-to-date email information to receive our emails and newsletters.  We also post notifications on Facebook page, so be sure to like our page to get all the latest news.

Q. What opportunities are there to play in the summer?

A. Summer tournament team opportunities are available for baseball players ages 8 and up and softball players ages 10 and up.  For baseball, HLL runs a summer tournament each year called Sizzler in which Hopkinton teams compete against other local towns with all games in Hopkinton.  HLL also forms and enters teams in Medway’s Tondorf tournament (ages 9 to 12), the Little League World Series tournament (age 12 only) and Ashland’s Sparkler Tournament (age 8 only).  For softball, HLL forms one or two teams at the 10U and 12U levels to compete in the Twin Valley League (TVL) softball tournament.  Players must attend a minimum of 80 percent of spring season games in order to be eligible for summer play.   Information on summer ball selection process can be found here: Summer Team Selection Process. 

Q. Why don’t you have tryouts for summer ball?

A. HLL is developing a summer league FAQ document to bring further understanding to this process and will send out to HLL families as soon as it is completed

Q. Do you offer fall ball?

A. HLL does not currently have a fall program, but we will pass along information for other town’s fall programs that are available to Hopkinton players as it becomes available, in late summer.  Hopkinton players have participated in multiple fall tournaments over the past several years; however, these teams are organized by a parent / coach outside of the HLL registration process and are not affiliated with HLL. 

Q. Who can I talk to if I have concerns about my child or my child’s coach?

A.  If there are any questions, concerns, or complaints regarding a child's team or coach please get in touch with the Player Agent at . It is their role to ensure players are treated fairly and in the spirit of little league. Issues will be discussed with the board of directors to determine the course of action if needed.

Q. Who runs the organization?

A.  The organization is run by non-paid volunteers who make up the board of directors and donate their personal time to make the league happen.  In return, we receive the personal satisfaction that comes with providing an opportunity to play the game we love to the kids of Hopkinton.  If this sounds like something for you, please consider joining the board.   Have ideas on how to improve the league?  If so, please volunteer to join the board.  We would love to have your help.

Q. My question wasn’t answered here.  Who should I contact?

A.  General questions may be sent to .  Team specific questions should be addressed to your child’s coach.