Why Babe Ruth?
Since 1951, Babe Ruth League, Inc. has been a staple in youth recreational baseball. The organization expanded to cover softball in 1984 and Buddy-Ball (Special Needs) in 2000. Babe Ruth League, Inc. offers a variety of coaching resources, third party services, and fundraising opportunities to chartered leagues. Babe Ruth is the fastest growing youth baseball and softball organization in the country. Many high school coaches firmly believe Babe Ruth (and Cal Ripken) rules fit right in between the "too soft" Little League and "too harsh" USSSA models of youth play. Additionally, Babe Ruth chartered leagues have the opportunity to participate in a tournament trail that begins at the district level and culminates with 8 regional champions competing in the Babe Ruth World Series.
What's different about North Hardin Babe Ruth compared to RYBSO?
RYBSO serviced the community within the City of Radcliff. NHBR has an expanded baseball footprint that includes the entire Northern half of Hardin County. And because Elizabethtown does not offer Babe Ruth chartered softball, NHBR's softball boundary is even larger.
NHBR is not affiliated with USSSA or Tri-County Youth Baseball & Softball. All games are played under rules and rule changes published annually by the Babe Ruth League, Inc. head office. All NHBR games will be officiated by Babe Ruth League, Inc. certified umpires.
What do boundaries apply to?
Boundaries apply to the area in which a perspective player lives and their local Babe Ruth organization, as recognized by Babe Ruth League, Inc. Folks who live within the designated NHBR boundary will only be eligible to play Babe Ruth affiliated baseball and softball with NHBR.
Note: As of August 5th, the specific NHBR boundary map is pending with the Kentucky Babe Ruth League, Inc. Commissioner. This map will be made public prior to the start of Spring 2018 registrations.
When does the season start?
Player skills evaluations and roster selections are tentatively scheduled for March 17, 2018. Weather permitting, teams will begin practicing at Duvall Park on March 19th. NHBR is planning to hold Opening Day on April 14, 2018.
What are the age requirements?
Players will be rostered in the appropriate division using their age on April 30th. Players may play up in a division no more than 1 year early, if evaluated and approved by the division's commissioner.
What are the divisions?
2018 Spring divisions are as follows:
- T-Ball (3-4 years)
- Peanut (5-6 years)
- Rookie (7-8 years) *Baseball & Softball*
- Minor (9-10 years) *Baseball & Softball*
- Major (11-12 years) *Baseball & Softball*
- Babe Ruth Baseball (13-15 years)
- Babe Ruth Softball (13-14 years)
- Senior Babe Softball (15-16 years)
- Bambino Buddy Ball (Special Needs)
What's the difference between each division?
T-Ball is played using strictly a batting tee, a Safe-T-Ball, and on a field that features 50' base paths. Kids are introduced to the game of baseball; specifically hitting, defensive positions, and running bases. Coaches do not keep score or standings. Coaches will teach kids how to get "outs" and what "strikes" mean. There are no umpires and coaches dictate the flow of games.
Peanut is played using a pitching machine and soft-core baseballs. Kids will learn to time the pitching machine and be introduced to more advanced phases of defense. There are still no umpires, but coaches will enforce 3 strikes (or 5 pitches) and 3 outs during games. Peanut games are played on a slightly larger field than T-Ball.
Rookie ball is played using a pitching machine on a faster speed and with hardballs. Rookie play is also where NHBR divides baseball and softball players. Games are played on a field with 60' base paths. An umpire is present to call each game and scores and standings are maintained.
Minors baseball and softball features kids pitching off a mound or softball rubber. Games are played on a field with 60' base paths and a pitching rubber that is 46' from home plate. There may be 2 umpires calling each game. Players may "steal" bases in the minors, but only once the ball crosses the plate.
Majors baseball and softball is the move to a field with 70' base paths and a pitching rubber that is 50' from home plate. Run limits per inning is increased and game play is slightly more competitive.
Babe Ruth is the most competitive level in NHBR and designed to prepare and aid players for school ball. Babe Ruth is played on a high school size field that features 90' base paths and a pitching rubber that is 60', 6" from home plate. Players may lead off and steal bases anytime the ball is in play. Balks, the infield fly rule, and dropped 3rd strikes are also enforced.
Bambino Buddy Ball enables special needs children ages 5-20 to play the game of baseball with the assistance of a buddy. Bambino Buddies play games on Monday nights during the Spring season. More information regarding this division can be found at: JoshuasFriends.org.
What's the cost?
Player entry fees for Spring 2018 are as follows:
T-Ball & Peanut: $55
Rookie, Minor, Major, Babe Ruth, Senior Babe: $75
Bambino Buddy: $20
Note: There is no concessions deposit required. All teams will be scheduled to support league concessions as part of their game schedule.
When are sign-ups?
Registrations for Spring 2018 will open online on January 15th and run through March 10th. There will be 2 opportunities for families to register in person at dates and locations TBD. NHBR will send flyers home through local schools in November.
How long does the season run?
Teams play a 14-game regular season schedule, mid-season tournament, and end of season NHBR championship. T-Ball does not play in tournaments or hold championship games. All recreational league play will conclude by June 8, 2018. Players who try-out for and are selected to play on District All Star teams will begin practicing immediately following close of the recreational season.
Note: The District All Star tournament is generally held during the last week of June and early July.
How often do teams practice and play games?
Most teams practice 3-4 times per week before the game schedule begins. NHBR limits teams to 3 practices on weekdays during the school year. Practice schedules are almost always determined by field availability and weather. Coaches in each division will meet with their commissioner to establish a field use plan before the season.
Teams will generally play 2-3 games per week. Depending on division, games start around 6 pm or 7:30 pm. NHBR will not schedule regular season games on weekends unless of extreme weather and mass scheduling conflicts. NHBR may hold extracurricular league functions and mini-tournaments on select weekends.
Do teams travel for games?
A majority of NHBR's game schedule is "in-house" or, feature games against other NHBR teams. NHBR teams may play each other as much a 4 times in a season, depending on how large a division is.
To break up the monotony, NHBR teams will typically play 3-4 "interleague" games against teams from other District 7 Babe Ruth programs. Currently, NHBR is partnered with the Elizabethtown Area Baseball Commission and Larue County Youth Baseball in regards to interleague play.
Note: Interleague play does not apply to T-Ball.
What kind of equipment do players need?
Players must have a glove/mitt, cleats, and their own batting helmet. Bats and batting gloves are optional. Before purchasing bats, it is recommended parents consult with coaches and the Babe Ruth League, Inc. Bat Rules. It is also recommended that all players wear protective cups (pelvic protectors for girls). Catchers must wear a cup/pelvic protector.
Practice attire is at the team manager's discretion, but NHBR does not recommend players wear jeans or shorts. The league also recommends players always wear caps or visors to practices, especially younger players.
What about uniforms?
NHBR provides a team cap and shirt to all baseball players and a visor and shirt to softball players. Parents/guardians are responsible for purchasing game pants and any belts or matching socks teams decide to wear for the season.
How are teams selected?
Players who are new to the league or move up in division will be required to participate in a pre-season practice, where Commissioners and Team Managers will evaluate each player's skills. Information obtained from the skills evaluation will be used to draft teams. The goal of player drafts is to balance teams as much as possible. NHBR does not allow "stacking" experienced players or grouping a majority of inexperienced players on any one team.
Players returning to the same division as the previous Spring season will return to the same team unless said team has dissolved or parents/guardians request otherwise.
The T-Ball division does not conduct a skills evaluation or draft. Teams are put together by the Commissioner and balanced using age and experience listed on registration forms.
Can parents/guardians request players to be on certain teams?
NHBR will take any requests parents/guardians have at the time of registration, but we cannot make guarantees. Each season brings about many requests for players to play with others or on certain teams. Such requests often inhibit the ability of Commissioners and Team Managers to balance teams.
NHBR will ensure siblings who live in the same household play on the same team, if both players are in the same division.
NHBR is sympathetic to potential transportation issues. We are proud that such issues are often mitigated through team communication and support. Our Team Managers and Team Moms will work with every family to ensure no players are left behind.
How are coaches selected?
Each season the NHBR President will appoint a Team Manager Selection Committee that is tasked with receiving, reviewing, and accepting applications. Team Manager Candidates must complete the Babe Ruth League Coaching Certification and pass a National criminal background investigation. Team Managers are the head coach responsible for the operation and conduct of their teams to include assistant coaches, players, and spectators.
Team Managers will select their Assistant Coaches and Team Mom after teams have been organized/drafted. Assistant Coaches and Team Moms must also pass a background investigation.
What can kids do to prepare for each season?
Baseball and softball at all levels is about practice. The more kids practice, the better ballplayers they become. Coaches will work with every player on fundamentals; however, there is never enough time during a season for teams to have as much organized practice as they'd prefer. We encourage players to work on their skills at home. Playing catch, hitting wiffle balls, and even running bases in the yard can go a long way to helping players develop.
Have players watch a little baseball on television or better yet, go see the Louisville Bats play in person. It's never a bad thing to see young ballplayers take inspiration from the big leagues and try to mimic their favorite players.
Baseball lessons and playing for competitive travel teams are also an option, but only recommended for players at the Major level and above. Beware of any and all youth baseball/softball-related activities that are for-profit. It is a myth that young players need to specialize in baseball/softball or play competitive travel ball in order to play ball in high school and college.
Players will need to work to improve, but without being over-worked by adults. Over-working young ballplayers takes the fun out playing baseball and softball. NHBR needs to cultivate fun in order to keep the kids on our diamonds.
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