Hatfield-Towamencin Baseball offers Travel Baseball for ages 8U-12U. These teams host tryouts, typically in the fall. This allows for winter workouts to be established, uniforms to be ordered, etc. Travel players also have to play in our rec program in order to qualify for the travel program.
Travel Team Background/Expectations
Each travel team will participate in 4-6 weekend tournaments between Memorial Day and late July.
We will also hold practice every Wednesday evening and Sunday afternoon from April through July. Practice days/times are subject to change based on field availability and game times.
Many of these Sunday practices will be replaced with a Sunday Spring League to get the boys more ‘in game’ experience. There is also a chance that a team will compete in the Suburban League, which is two games per week. It is important for your player and the team that you are prepared to make the commitment to the team schedule for practices, scrimmages and tournaments.
When it comes to practices and games, players are expected to put their HT Baseball team first. This is to avoid conflict or confrontation. The players are to not attend other team practices or games over their HT Baseball team during the spring and summer. We strongly advise against being on another team's roster throughout the season as those conflicts could be revealed and put both families and coaches at a disadvantage.
Travel Team Selection Criteria:
- Raw Skills – An evaluation of catching, fielding, throwing, pitching, speed (base running), and hitting.
- Baseball Acumen –How well the player understands various situations in baseball (offensively and defensively)
- Respect/Attitude – How well the player listens to the coaches, how the player hustles, how does the player interact with his teammates, etc.
- Team Composition – Baseball is a team game. We are looking to create the best team, based upon skills, positions played, etc.
- Player Availability – Travel baseball is a big commitment of everyone’s time and money. We understand that there could be an occasional conflict (especially during the summer), but we do want players who will be at virtually all practices, scrimmages, and tournaments. Having the full team at practices allows for more productive drills, builds team chemistry, adds reps that cannot be experienced through game play, and all players hear the same messages around our team philosophy.
At the travel level, there are a number of factors which determine playing time:
- This is not Intramural baseball. There is no guaranteed playing time. Playing time is not evenly distributed among everyone. In fact, a lot of the tournament rules work against providing everyone an equal chance to play. Our goal is to put a competitive team on the field every inning with the intent of getting to the playoffs and playing in the final game of every tournament. We always try to get everyone in the game for fielding and at least one at bat. With scrimmages, the rules are more relaxed and our aim is to give everyone equal playing time.
Please note: As mentioned above, Baseball is a team game so a parent or player questioning their own playing time or position they play in the field makes it about that individual and not the team. If a player wants to work on a certain position(s) and possibly play the position(s) in a game, the player(potentially along with a parent at age 10) should speak to the head coach directly about it before/after practice. Every player can have the opportunity to work at various positions at practice(s) and in some cases it is the progress at a position during practices that determines game playing time. Ultimately, the game-day decisions are being made by the coaches based on what we believe is best for the team to be competitive on the field while also trying to put the players in the best position to optimize their individual success.
2. Pitching – the number of innings someone pitches in a game is primarily based on how many pitches they have thrown or innings they have thrown. For the most part, we follow the Ripken guidelines for how we handle pitchers to make sure there is not overuse. We will also use the recommended days of rest between outings. These numbers will certainly be lowered early in the season to prevent overuse.
3. Player Substitution – tournaments are basically run with two types of substitution schemes: Bat Everyone or Bat 9.
3.1 Bat Everyone/Free Defensive Substitution – in this scheme, all players are in the batting order and we can move fielders in and out of the game as we want. This is the most flexible and affords everyone the greatest opportunity to play in the field.
3.2 Bat 9 – in this scheme, you have a batting order of 9 players. A substitute (non-starter) is put in the game, they assume the batting order spot and fielding position of the person they replaced. Once the sub is removed from the game, they are considered to be “used” players (i.e. they cannot return to the game unless there is some type of injury). Once a starter is removed from the game, they may re-enter the game once. When a starter re-enters the game, they must re-enter the game for the sub who had replaced them. This is a very limiting scheme when it comes to distributing playing time and at-bats.
4. Length of Game – When we plan the starting lineup and substitution pattern, we plan for a 6 inning game with having a competitive lineup every inning. There are some scenarios which may cause the game to be shorter than this.
- Mercy rule – normally there is a 10 run mercy rule. If one team is up by 10 runs or more after 3 ½ to 4 innings, the game is over.
Travel teams spend a lot of time together and it is not a stretch to say that they become like a family. Your support is critical to the success of the team. It is expected that if you have any questions, comments, or concerns with how the team is being run that you address them with the head coach directly. With that being said - this is community youth baseball run by volunteers. These volunteers are doing their best to make sure the team is learning the game, enjoying their time on the field, and ultimately getting better. Keep comments positive. There should be no yelling from the stands or coaching from the sidelines. We do not need parents or family members in the dugouts during games or practices. Keep it positive, they are still very young in their baseball lives.
Travel baseball is an extra expense outside of the normal Intramural baseball program. The travel fees cover tournament fees, umpires for games, and miscellaneous items (e.g. baseballs, indoor batting cage time, training tools, etc.). There has been and will continue to have fundraising opportunities to combat this cost. If your child is selected to a travel team, there will be a uniform link to order a uniform for your child. This will be a separate cost.
Youth baseball in the area is a little different than many of the other travel programs within TYA. There are boundaries to consider for district, state, and regional tournaments. So to qualify for Hatfield-Towamencin travel baseball, you must live in Hatfield Township, Towamencin Township, or attend school in either Hatfield or Towamencin. Also another thing that separates baseball from other TYA sports is that you MUST play in our rec program to play in our travel program. HT Baseball also does not allow playing up regardless of age or grade. The Babe Ruth League has a set league age. We are an age pure organization so that we can allow for all kids to have a fair chance at playing at their respective league age.