WELLESLEY GIRLS SOFTBALL U12 TOURNAMENT TEAM
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**6th-7th Grade (12U)**
Evaluations in August & September -- Signup by August 1
Wellesley Girls Softball is again forming a select 12U team to represent Wellesley in some weekend tournaments in May-June of 2024. Led by a professional coach, the team will hold evaluations this August/September and then practice together this fall and winter.
Grade eligibility: 6th and 7th grade (in academic year 2023-2024)
Team emphasis: As a select team, the team will be more competitively oriented than WGS’s existing programs. Still, as always, there will be a strong emphasis on promoting the girls’ development as softball players; their well-being; and simply having fun.
Coaching: We expect that the team again will be led by Keliann Kirby, a professional coach from DC Baseball Academy.
Tournament schedule: Although the exact weekends are not yet known, we expect to be playing tournaments over most of the weekends between (and including) Memorial Day weekend through the last weekend in June.
Relationship to other WGS programs: The team is intended to be supplemental to, and not a replacement for, existing WGS programs. Thus, girls will be required to play Senior League in Spring 2024. They are also encouraged to play Fall Softball this fall, and Summer Weekday Travel Softball in Summer 2024. Program schedules will be coordinated to minimize conflicts.
Evaluation schedule: Girls are strongly encouraged to attend at least one of the following evaluations: Saturday, August 5, 8:30-10:30 a.m.; Sunday, September 10, 5:00-7:00 p.m. Both at Lee Field.
Cost: The total cost has not yet been set. It should be in the same range as this past year, which was $950. This will be split into 2 installments, with $150 due immediately following team selection to reserve your roster spot, and the balance due in early December. There is also a $25 fee to cover evaluations.
July 2023: Registration opens / At registration, $25 evaluation fee due
August - September: Evaluations (2) / Team selection is made / Encouraged to play regular Fall Softball / First installment payment due, immediately after team selection
Late October - mid November: Outdoor team practices.
Late November/early December: Sign up for tournaments / Communicate tournament schedule to families / Second installment payment due
January - March 2024: Weekly indoor team practices at DC Baseball Academy (Sundays late afternoon/early evening)
Spring 2024: Must play spring Senior League / Outdoor practices
Memorial Day Weekend through Last Weekend in June 2024: Tournaments most weekends
QUESTIONS WE EXPECT TO BE FREQUENTLY ASKED
Question 1: I understand that eligibility last year was based on age, but now it follows grade. Why is that?
Answer 1: USA Softball changed its tournament eligibility rules. They are still age-based, but the age cutoff is now September 1, which generally aligns with school grade.
Question 2: My daughter will be a 5th grader in the fall of 2024. May she try out for the team?
Answer 2: The team is primarily intended for 6th and 7th graders, but we may consider 5th graders of truly exceptional ability. Please contact us if you think your daughter may fit this category. Stay tuned, however, as we are expecting to announce the formation of a 10U Tournament Team, which generally will be the appropriate placement for 5th graders.
Question 3: When are the tournaments and how many will there be? Where will they be located?
Answer 3: Although the exact weekends are not yet known, we are expecting to enter four weekend tournaments in 2024, covering most of the weekends from Memorial Day Weekend through the last weekend in June (inclusive). They will be located within commutable distance from Wellesley, likely in eastern Massachusetts. We will not be doing overnight tournaments.
Question 4: What are the tournaments like?
Answer 4: In general, there are pool games on Friday afternoons/Saturdays and playoff games on Sundays. Be prepared for an all-weekend commitment.
Level of Commitment
Question 5: Our daughter may be unavailable for a weekend or two during May/June of 2024. Is that OK?
Answer 5: Families should try to plan their vacation, camp, etc. schedules to avoid potential tournament weekends. Girls are expected to be available for most tournament weekends. Please disclose in the registration form when registering for the team if your daughter will not be available for a tournament weekend, or otherwise let the program director and head coach know as soon as possible.
Question 6: Our family isn’t great with e-mail or scheduling apps. We’ll try our best but communication is not our strong suit. Is that OK?
Answer 6: No. This team requires parents to be good communicators of their players’ availability for practices and especially tournaments. If we are asking for availability for a particular tournament, and a family does not respond in a reasonably prompt manner, the player may be left behind. We will typically use TeamSnap or other another scheduling app for this purpose. Likewise we expect families to respond in a reasonably prompt manner when it’s time to pay registration fees, supply required paperwork, etc.
Coordination with Other Programs/Sports
Question 7: My daughter plays [soccer/hockey/basketball/volleyball/etc.] during the fall/winter. Does she need to attend the fall/winter softball practices?
Answer 7: We encourage girls to play other sports. We are supportive if, during the fall and winter, girls choose to prioritize other sports over softball, but we ask the girls to attend softball practices when they are available. During tournament season, we expect the girls to treat softball as their athletic priority.
Question 8: I understand the team will have some practices this fall. Can my daughter both attend the practices, and participate in regular Fall Softball?
Answer 8: Yes. The practices will not conflict with regular Fall Softball, as they primarily will be scheduled after Fall Softball ends.
Question 9: When are the practices?
Answer 9: Winter practices will be held on Sundays, in the late afternoon to early evening, beginning right after the New Year, although the exact times are not yet known. Fall and spring practice times may vary from week to week.
Question 10: Where are the practices?
Answer 10: Fall and spring practices will be held in Wellesley. Winter indoor practices will be held at DC Baseball Academy, 10 Central Street in Framingham.
Question 11: If we miss the evaluations, can my daughter still be considered for the team?
Answer 11: Participation in at least one of the evaluation sessions is not required but is highly encouraged. Yes, she can still be considered for the team, but if we are not sufficiently familiar with her level of play we may not be able to offer her a spot..
Question 12: How will you decide who makes the team? And who decides?
Answer 12: We will base the decision on our observations at evaluations together with our existing knowledge regarding the girls. Decisions will be made by the head coach and the program director, neither of whom have daughters in the player pool.
Question 13: How many players will make the team?
Answer 13: Right now there is no set limit. It is very possible that we will carry a large roster and rotate tournament opportunities among the girls on the more developing end of the spectrum.
Question 14: How will playing time and positions be allocated?
Answer 14: As this is a competitive team, girls must earn their playing time, as well as opportunities at premium positions. Some girls will play more than others. That said, we are committed to making the team a positive experience for everyone, and all girls on the team will receive significant playing time in each tournament that they attend. It is likely, however, that girls on the more developing end of the spectrum will “rotate” and not attend every tournament.
By “significant playing time in each tournament that they attend,” we mean:
During the Friday/Saturday pool games, typically everyone will be in the batting order and play at least ½ of the defensive innings.
During the Sunday playoff games, there will be 9 or 10 spots in the batting order, but we will rotate the girls such that typically everyone should get at least 1 at bat and/or 2-3 defensive innings per game.
These playing time minimums assume players in good standing with team rules (effort, teamwork, sportsmanship, etc.).
Please understand that sometimes games end early (due to mercy rule, time limits or weather) which may prevent playing time minimums from being satisfied. In that case, the head coach will do her best to balance things out in future games.
Question 15: Will there be tournament teams for other age groups in the future?
Answer 15: Yes, we are planning to add a 10U tournament team, likewise to compete in tournaments in late spring/early summer of 2024. Information will be provided to 10U families this fall. In future years, we expect to add a 14U team.
Question 16: If my daughter doesn’t make the team this year, will she have a chance in future years?
Answer 16: Yes. The team will be re-selected annually.
Question 17: If my daughter makes the team this year, does that necessarily mean she’ll have a spot in all future years?
Answer 17: No. The team will be re-selected annually.
Question 18: Will there by opportunities for parents to volunteer?
Answer 18: Yes. We need parents to volunteer as assistant coaches, administrative helper, team parent, etc.
Question 19: The fee is quite a bit higher than other WGS programs. Why is that?
Answer 19: The fee pays for professional coaching, tournament fees, indoor practice space, and other expenses over a year-long period. While the fee may be higher than for other WGS programs, we believe it is less than what private “club” teams typically charge for comparable programs.
Question 20: Will you be offering developmental opportunities for girls in this age group who don’t play on this team?
Answer 20: Yes. As in recent years, professional instruction will feature prominently in both spring and fall softball, which are open to all. And if there is sufficient interest, we will offer winter indoor clinics as well.
Question 21: Who can I contact with additional questions?
Answer 21: If you still have questions after carefully reviewing all of the material above, you may contact the