Martha's Vineyard Junior baseball league forms
The Martha's Vineyard Little League (MVLL) will begin a new Junior League for boys and girls aged 13 to 15.
Junior League allows players to continue their Little League experience after age 12, and introduces them to playing on a regulation size baseball field. Players can continue to develop their baseball skills in a recreational league that is run under the auspices of Little League International and the existing Martha's Vineyard Little League.
According to M.V. Little League president Andrew Aliberti, "Over the past several years we have wanted to figure out a way to bridge the years between Little League and high school baseball. Nationally, and certainly here on Martha's Vineyard, baseball loses over 50 percent of its players between the Little League Majors and high school. We want to reverse that trend, and the Junior League will help us accomplish that goal."
The efforts of the M.V. Little League directors, along with support from high school coach Gary Simmons, Vineyard Baseball, and the Martha's Vineyard Sharks, made the formation of the league possible. Planning is under way to hold practices and games on the high school JV field and the varsity "Field of Dreams."
"We are working with Coach Simmons and the Sharks in order to make the Field of Dreams available for these kids to use," Mr. Aliberti said. "It would be an amazing introduction to a full-size diamond." The league will also have access to the new indoor batting cage at the high school, which was built in a combined effort of those same groups.
The league coordinator will be former MVLL president Kris Lukowitz. The league will consist of four teams that will practice and play together. There will also be 13- and 14-year-old travel teams that will play other Junior League teams from Cape Cod and beyond.
"I wanted to be part of a fun and competitive league that would allow kids who love baseball to keep playing and developing beyond age 12," Mr. Lukowitz said. "What's better and more fun than Little League baseball? This is a chance to make that experience last longer."
League leaders said they hoped that keeping kids and teams together and playing competitively from T-ball through the Junior League will pay dividends for the high school team.
"It would be great," Mr. Aliberti said, "if each year a full team that has been playing tournament ball since age nine enters the high school as freshmen. We are grateful to all the Little League volunteers, sponsors, Gary, the Sharks, and most importantly the over three hundred little leaguers that have made the Junior League possible."
For more information, or to register for the Junior League, and all other Little League divisions, visit the Martha's Vineyard Little League website at: marthasvineyardlittleleague.org; or call Adam Bresnick, vice president of Martha's Vineyard Little League, 508-294-4247.