All Stars is quite an experience for players, coaches, volunteers and families, to be sure. It's busy, it's hard work and it takes a team effort to make it work, but win or lose, it's a ton of fun!
TRSLL will be participating in the All Stars tournament for District 13 in 2019. The district tournament includes our neighboring leagues: Tempe South, Tempe Guadalupe, Ahwatukee, Chandler American, Chandler National South and Chandler National North.
- Application forms due by April 15.
- Team announcements are made June 1.
- Practices are held for the next 3-4 weeks (typically 5 nights per week, but this is up the coaches to decide for each team).
- Tournament games usually start the last week of June and conclude in the first week of July. If we win, we continue to play.
For the Majors division, the tournament is global and concludes into late August at the LIttle League World Series in Williamsport, PA. The lower age groups have more limited tournaments that usually go to the state level and conclude much sooner than the Majors division.
The All Stars tournament includes Juniors (13-14), Majors (primarily 12s), 9-10-11s, and 8-9-10s. In 2018, TRSLL had a Juniors and Major team represented and we intend to have more teams represented in the 2019 season at the various age levels.
Time and Commitment
All Stars application letters will be distributed to all Minors and Majors players early in the Spring season this year for three main reasons:
- To give families an opportunity to plan accordingly.
- To get as many players into consideration as possible.
- To give our league and our coaches ample time to evaluate players so that we can assemble solid, competitive teams to compete in the tournament.
Because All Stars begins in June and runs, at minimum, through the first week of July, conflicts due to family vacations or other activities can sometimes come into play. As a smaller league, we try to be as flexible as possible with situations like this simply because we don't have as many kids as some of the leagues we'll play against in the tournament.
In order to build our best possible teams for the tournament, we need to get as many players committed as early as possible. By starting the process earlier, we hope to give you a better idea of the schedule so that you can plan accordingly.
Our expectation this season is to have as many kids as possible in the pool to be picked for an all star team. Teams generally have 11 kids, so the evaluations will be important over the course of the regular spring season. Depending on the number of kids who commit at each age level, we will determine how many teams we'll field for the tournament.
The tournament is competitive and we'll be up against the best teams from the other leagues. As mentioned before, many of the leagues we compete against are much larger, which means they have a larger pool of talent and more kids who can play. Given the strict rules around pitch counts, days of rest for pitchers, and very few, if any, days between tournament games, the challenge is to build a team with enough pitching, talent and versatility to sustain the tournament.
And it's not easy, especially with a limited pool of players.
All Stars is definitely an awesome experience. The kids and coaches represent our league, our families and our neighborhoods in the tournament and it's a great honor. But it takes so much more than just the coaches and kids.
Each team has a manager and two coaches for the games as well as an official scorer, a pitch counter and an announcer (three separate people). On top of that, we have a team parent to help with all the coordination of documentation which includes medical info, proof of age, and proof of residency. All of this has to be coordinated and verified with our District officials. There are training seminars for coaches and the various volunteers, plus a picture day where all the teams get custom photos taken for team banners, tournament programs and more.
Then there are the practices out in the Arizona summer heat.
It sounds like a lot -- and it is -- but it is also a lot of fun. The kids get new uniforms for the tournament and it's an experience like no other. They play on some of the best fields in the district and games are umpired by the regional umpires, which makes it a lot more fun and competitive. The crowds are much bigger, the cheers are louder, and the support is incredible.
But again, it takes a team effort of helpful parents to pull it all together.
To give you an idea of a typical tournament game, one team is assigned as "Field Responsible" for a particular game. This means your team is in charge of providing the official scorekeeper, announcer and pitch counter for that game. They are the official crew for that game. We prepare the field prior to the game and clean up after. This responsibility shifts from game to game between teams and is determined by the district.
Kids are announced when they come to bat each time, just like in the big leagues. There are a lot more people watching each game, so the excitement levels are much higher than a typical Spring game. Players are introduced before the game, the National Anthem is played, the coaches and team captains meet with the umpires at home plate, then we shake hands and play ball.
It's a huge thrill for the kids and the families, not to mention that it's a great chance for everyone to help make it a success.
One advantage we have this year is that we have many returning kids, coaches and families who experienced the all stars tournament last year (and other years in the past). This gives us a much higher level of experience that we can share and build on for this year.
All Stars is another great opportunity for you to jump in, to lend your help, and to keep our league growing!