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2020 SLJL Changes

Over the last 3 months, the board of the SLJL reviewed feedback from parents and coaches that was collected through a series of surveys.  While all suggestions were welcome and appreciated, we were not able to implement every change that was suggested.  However, the following changes were approved and will be adopted for the 2020 spring baseball/softball season.  These changes will be evaluated both during and after the season to determine if they should be adopted permanently, modified slightly, or eliminated. 


1.   
The spring 2020 uniforms will match those from the fall 2019 season. 

For those that did not participate in fall 2019, the uniforms were upgraded from the spring 2019 uniform kit to address some of the issues reported by parents after the spring 2019 season.  As a result, we encourage you to try on the uniforms at KV Sports in downtown South Lyon.  Refunds or exchanges due to an error in sizing will not be granted. 

2.    Regularly scheduled in-season practices added.

One of the biggest feedback items from parents and coaches was to implement in-season practices to allow coaches to continue to teach his/her players, even after games have started.  It is the tentative plan to add 3-5 in-season practices, primarily during the week.  Coaches will continue to have the option to also scheduled additional practices on Sunday.  Even with the added practices, we plan to keep the number of league scheduled team events (games/practices) to 2-3 days per week for most weeks.  This could change due to rain-outs and other scheduling issues.  Even with these in-season practices, developmental divisions will still have 14 games scheduled while competitive division teams will have 12 regular season games scheduled plus the playoffs.  To accommodate these changes, All-Star Weekend will be on July 10th-11th, 2020.
     

3.    Kaline/Minis divisions will be changed to developmental (no standings or playoffs).

Feedback from parents, coaches, AND umpires lead the board to implement the following change to the Kaline/Minis divisions.  Both divisions will be for developmental purposes only, and will not keep official score, standings, or have a playoffs.  This change allows coaches to develop players at a range of positions and not worry about how pitching someone who may not have experience could affect his/her team’s place in the standings.  This will also allow us to develop our younger umpires and teach them how to run/manage a game without the shadow of overly competitive coaches and parents.
       

4.    Kaline/Minis divisions will implement a new, hybrid style pitching format. 

One of the toughest challenges with these two divisions is how to best develop players, specifically pitchers, while keeping players engaged during the games.  Often, inexperienced pitchers would walk multiple batters in a row with few if any balls put into play.  Previously, to help alleviate this, a coach pitch inning was alternated between kid pitch innings.  While this helped, it also encouraged only 3-4 pitchers to be used most games, which hindered pitcher development.  In an effort to improve on this, a hybrid pitching system will be implemented in these two divisions.  Under the new system, every inning will utilize kid pitching.  However, in the event of a “walk”, the batter will not be awarded 1st base.  Instead, that batter’s coach will come in and pitch a maximum of 3 pitches in an effort to allow the batter to put a ball into play.  If the batter is unable to put a ball into play, he/she will be out.  This will hopefully eliminate the parade of walks, allow batters to face real kid pitchers, allow pitchers more opportunities to pitch, and allow fielders to see more balls in play.  This system has been implemented at a number of other local leagues and some tournaments.  Specifics rules changes related to this will be listed in the league rules in our documents section. 

5.    Rules meeting for coaches and umpires. 

While this has not been finalized, it is our intention to hold a baseball/softball rules meeting (classroom format) that will be open to all our prospective coaches and umpires.  This will likely be held in March and attendance will be used as a way to determine which coaches and umpires are selected for the 2020 spring season.  We found that too many coaches and even some of our umpires need a refresher on rules that we run into during our games at these levels of play.  More details will be posted about this once the rules meeting has been finalized.

6.    New equipment! 

As was noted on many surveys, and as the league already knew, our equipment, specifically our catchers gear, needed to be replaced in many instances.  Right now, we are pricing out new equipment for many of our divisions and we plan to have the equipment ready for the spring season.  This is conditional on the finalization of our league budget. 


7.    $3 registration fee to Sports Connect

Unfortunately, some changes were not implemented by our choice.  When Blue Sombrero was re-branded as Sports Connect, they added a $3 registration fee to every registration order, regardless of the number of players registered.  This fee does NOT go to SLJL, but directly to Sports Connect.  As a result, you will now see this fee added to your order when registering.  Remember, this fee is $3 regardless of the number of players registered, so if you are registering more than 1 player, try to register them all at the same time. 

 

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South Lyon Junior League

 
South Lyon, Michigan  

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