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Information for the Parents

Welcome to the Blacksburg Baseball Association's (BBA) Dixie Baseball Program. The mission of the association is to provide players with the opportunity to participate in competitive baseball.  The BBA participates in a local Dixie league with teams from Christiansburg, Radford, and Montgomery County.  

This section should answer most questions one may have about the BBA and Dixie Youth Baseball. However, if you have other questions, please don't hesitate to contact us. 

Eligibility

Any child who resides in the Blacksburg school district is eligible to participate in the BBA's franchised Dixie baseball program. Players outside this area must play within their respective Dixie franchised program. Dixie rules do not permit players to cross boundary lines for participation unless written permission is given by the Dixie league in which the player resides. If you have an extenuating circumstance, please request a rule clarification.

Team Organization

Players are divided among the Blacksburg teams in an effort to make the teams of even strength. Every registered player will be placed on a team.

The team coaches are selected by the Blacksburg Baseball Association. All coaches have prior baseball coaching experience and possess good working knowledge of Dixie rules. Coaches typically give a handout to each player after practices regarding announcements, etc. Please ensure that you receive this notice as it minimizes everyone's communication effort and prevents numerous phone calls, e-mails, etc.

Age Divisions and Game Basics

The BBA provides a 6-8 year-old coach pitch division, a 9-10 year-old Dixie Youth Baseball Minors kid pitch division, an 11-12 year-old Dixie Youth Baseball O-Zone kid pitch division, a 13-14 year-old Dixie Boys division, and a 15-18 year-old Dixie Majors/Junior Legion division during regular Spring season play.

A player's on April 30 of any given year determines "league age" for that year. For example, a player who is 9 or 10 on April 30 is eligible for the 9-10 year old division during the Spring season. During the Fall season the same age divisions are available (except the 15-18 year-old division), but players play in the division they will be a member of during the upcoming Spring season. Thus, for example, the Fall's 6-8 coach pitch division is made up of players that will be eligible for the 6-8 division in the following Spring.

The coach pitch division is Dixie's introduction into "real" baseball.  Coach pitch baseball gives players a chance to compete in a league with other teams from the area, with an emphasis on skill development, having "fun", and learning the game of baseball. The main goal of coach pitch is to help each child develop their skills so they can transition smoothly into the more competitive 9-10 year-old kid pitch division. The rules in coach pitch will be similar to those used in kid pitch, with some changes/additions noted in the game schedule handed out by the coaches.  

"Official" scores are not kept in coach pitch games, and coaches stress learning the game of baseball.  Players will play a variety of positions in an attempt to learn the game of baseball.  Because some players are more advanced than others, coaches will also try to put players in positions that are conducive to their ability.  For example, players who may struggle to catch a ball, may not play first base, where catching is the main task of the position.  However, coaches will attempt to play each player in as many positions as possible.  Most players will play every position.

Starting with the 9-10 age division, players will pitch, and each game is officiated with certified Dixie umpires.  This age group is where "competition" begins, and players learn the more advanced aspects of the game.  Field size consists of a 46 feet pitching mound and 60 foot base paths.

The 11-12 age division, also referred to as "O-Zone" baseball, is played on a larger field than the 9-10 age group.  The pitching mound is 50 feet and the baselines are 70 feet in length.  Players can "lead off" and steal at this age group.

 

Spring Season Baseball

The official Dixie Youth Spring league consists of teams from Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Radford, Auburn, and Shawsville. Each kid pitch team will play approximately 18-20 games, depending on rainouts. Schedules will be handed out to team members by the coach. Coach pitch teams will play about 12 games.  

Games are played at each team's respective location (in the overall league).   All "home" games are at Kipps.  Games played in Christiansburg are at Kiwanis Field (behind Southern States).  Games in Radford are at Hodge Field (off main street). Games with Mongtomery County are played either at Shawsville or Auburn Schools.  No team travels more than 20 minutes for a game.

Each Dixie area typically has 3-5 teams in each group.  Because each age group is so large (usually around 18 teams in each age group), each Blacksburg team will play everyone in their age group approximately one time.  Since  Blacksburg teams also play other Blacksburg teams (in their age group), more than half of your games will be at Kipps.  The other 40% will be at the other team's respective location (explained above). 

Dixie Boys and Junior Legion will play a schedule dependent upon the teams available for play in the region.

We will follow Dixie Baseball Rules and have extra rulebooks if anyone is interested (or go to the Dixie website). Any "local league rules" (different for different age levels) will be distributed with the game schedule. We encourage everyone to brush up on the rules. Things happen very quickly on the baseball field, and by knowing the rules, your understanding of the game and how it is proceeding will be greatly enhanced.

Fall Season Baseball

Fall season enables players to develop and obtain instruction with an eye toward the upcoming Spring season. As a result, the Fall season age divisions are set so players that will be in the 11-12 division in the Spring, for example, play in that division in the Fall. Therefore, a player's age on April 30 of the upcoming year determines which division they will play in during the Fall (e.g., a player who is 8 in the current year, but will be 9 on April 30 of the upcoming year, will play in the 9-10 division in the Fall of the current year, and then, of course, in the 9-10 division in the Spring of the next year). There is a 13-14 age division available in the Fall, but not a 15-18 year-old division.

Practices

Practices typically last 1.5 hours and may be 1-2 times per week, depending on your coach's plans. Attending practice is very important, as this is the primary time in which coaches can evaluate players. Furthermore, practices will enable players to work on their skill sets, with lots of repetitions, thereby significantly increasing their likelihood of success.  

Bats

 

 

What bat do I buy?  The above chart contains some general information that you may find useful when selecting a bat.  

Baseball bat information can be some of the most confusing aspects of youth baseball, especially since governing bodies of USA Baseball continually "tinker' with performance rules re: bats.  

For Dixie Youth Baseball (10 and under), only "skinny" bats...No more than 2 1/4 in diameter, may be used.  Additionally, any bat used in Dixie Youth games must be "approved" for DYB play.  Approved bats are stamped on the barrel, "approved for Dixie Youth Baseball."  Normally, once a bat has been approved for one national organization, it has been approved for others as well, thus, you will typically see several "approved" organizations stamped on the bat. 

For 11-12 O-Zone, big barrel (2 5/8) bats may be used.  O-Zone bats are not required to be stamped with Dixie approval.

The single biggest mistake parents make when purchasing a bat for their child, is selecting a bat that is too large for the player....Either too long, or too heavy, or both.  Some parents will rationalize that "they will grow into it", but a bat that is too large will almost always significantly decrease the likelihood of success.  Bats that are too heavey result in a slow, methodical swing, that is often not fundamentally sound.  Conversely, a smaller, lighter bat, is easier to swing, and usually generates more bat speed.  

Early success in any sport not only results more "fun", but significantly increases the chances a child will keep playing a particular sport.   Please pay close attention to the bat you select, as it will most likely have a huge impact on your child's experience.  Feel free to contact the BBA for help in answering questions, or talk to your respective coach.  Bats can be a big investment and we want to make sure you select the right bat for your player.

Fees

The player registration fee for the Spring 2011 season is $75 for the coach pitch division (6-8 year-olds), and $100 for the youth kid pitch divisions (9-10, and 11-12 year-olds). The registration fees for Dixie Boys (13-14) is $75. The fee for Dixie Majors (15-18) is yet to be determined. The registration fee is due at the time of registration. No refunds.

Players of all ability accepted. There are no "tryouts."

The Blacksburg Baseball Association does not receive any public funding from the Town of Blacksburg or Montgomery County.  The BBA is a self-funded organization; generous sponsors and individual contributors enable the fees to remain reasonable.  $40 of each registration fee goes towards a high end uniform (which the player keeps). The jersey is a two button jersey with the player's last name on the back (and number) and a sewn on Dixie patch. Players also receive a fitted hat with embroidery on front and back. Players get to keep their uniform. The remaining portion of the players fee helps cover Dixie National & State fees, insurance policies, team equipment, certified umpires, field rentals to the Town of Blacksburg, and web page costs.. Corporate sponsors are accepted as a means to bridge the gap between the players fee's and actual league costs.

Sponsorships and Donations Please

As explained above, we have the need for individual and business sponsors to help completely cover our costs. We are able to provide advertising for jerseys and hats, or a banner to hang at the field.  There are a number of other creative resources available if you are interested. Please click the link on the right hand column in order to contact the BBA about sponsoring a team, or making a donation to the league. 

Please make all checks payable to the "Blacksburg Baseball Association."

Blacksburg Baseball

Blacksburg Baseball

League Office

Parental Conduct

Unfortunately, almost every league (all sports) in every town has had problems with parental behavior at one time or another. Naturally, we want to minimize any potential conflicts that may occur. The players on each team are everyone’s priority, and our behavior as role models is crucial.  Poor sportsmanship is LEARNED behavior and when young players see parents behaving poorly, they often feel it is ok for them to do so as well.

Every parent has the right to approach coaches regarding issues with their respective child. But it should go without saying that this discussion needs to occur in a professional manner. This is best accomplished in a private setting, either in person, or on the phone. Please feel free to approach coaches after practice, but wait until other players and parents have cleared the surrounding area. Your coach would be more than happy to discuss your child's progress with you. In fact, we encourage parents to solicit periodic feedback so that you will know which skills need additional reinforcement outside of scheduled practices.

However, the Blacksburg Baseball Association will not tolerate any negative parental interaction during games, such as heckling umpires or criticizing players/coaches on either team. Dixie Youth Baseball rules are very specific about who can be in/near the dugout, and we will not allow individual acts to jeopardize team goals. In addition, as a private organization, we reserve the right to ban any person who disrupts a league game or practice. Furthermore, players can also be banned as a result of parental actions.  Umpires have the ability to eject players, coaches, and fans from the game.  If ejected, you must leave the Kipps sports complex entirely.  

Your coaches are not professional baseball coaches, just VOLUNTEERS trying to help young players become the best players they can be. Please treat them with respect.

Inclement Weather

As a general rule, if there is any way we can practice or play games, we will. Canceling a practice/game is a last resort. Typical cancellation weather conditions are: Thunder/lighting, hard rain, standing water on the field, or unusually cold weather. Conversely, practices/games are not usually canceled for drizzle, cool weather, or wind.  

We will make every attempt to make an informed decision enough in advance to let each parent know whether or not to attend a game or practice.  However, there are certain times when a decision to cancel an event is made at the designated game/practice time.  As you know, Blacksburg weather patterns can be very unpredictable, but we will try the best we can to keep everyone informed.  

As a general rule, if you have not heard anything from your coach, then the respective practice or game is ON!  Forfeits often occur when players or parents assume a game has been canceled when in fact, it has not.  

Also, we may cancel some game times, but not others.  It's not unusual for either the weather to change, or we can work on the field to get it playable for a later game.

All-Stars

At the end of the Spring season (mid to late June), each Dixie Youth franchise selects all-star teams, consisting of a Dixie mandated 12 players. Each franchise may use whatever method to select its all-star teams that it deems appropriate. Each age group will field one all-star team for participation in the District 3 tournament.

The Blacksburg Baseball Association uses the following method to select its all-star teams. The selection process, within an age group, starts with each of the coaches nominating as many or as few of his players as he wishes. Typically 20-25 players are nominated within the age group. Then, an in-depth discussion of each player follows. After the discussion, a secret ballot is taken, with each coach voting for only 12 players. The votes are tallied by the league President, and the 12 players receiving the most votes make the team.

Some seasons, coaches have elected to select "alternates" while other seasons, they have not.  This aspect largely depends on where the natural break of talent lies, and what the coaches expect the all-star season to hold.  Being selected as an alternate is an honor and the BBA recognizes this person as being on the team.  However, they cannot participate in official Dixie games.

If your child does not make all-stars, he or she should not become discouraged.  Players develop at significantly different rates, and in way is there a defined pattern of early vs later success.  For example, we have seen some of the best younger players develop into marginal high school players, while some who have not made all-stars, later develop into varsity starters, and team leaders.  Please do not let your child's early age experience and success define him. 

All coaches and players on a Dixie all-star team are not permitted to participate in any other youth baseball program once all-star practices are officially allowed to start. Dixie does not permit any all-star team practices until two weeks prior to the scheduled start of the District Tournament.

The District Tournament location rotates among district members on a yearly basis. Dixie Youth’s District 3 consists of all-star teams from Patrick County, Blacksburg, Radford, Christiansburg, Pulaski County West, Pulaski County East, and Montgomery County. The winner of the District Tournament advances to the State Tournament. The winner of the Virginia State Tournament advances to the Dixie World Series. All tournaments are double elimination format.

All-star players will pay the entire cost of participation, such as uniform and travel costs.