2017 NALL Summer Big Diamond Program

Summer NALL Big Diamond (90') Program Outline

Please read this to the end for a full understanding of the programs NALL offers in the summer on the Big Diamond (90').

Summer Registration for baseball on the big (90') diamond is now open on the NALL website (click to register) for players aged 12 to 21. Your child's age for summer is the same as spring: age as of May 1st.

NOTE: Even if you didn’t play spring NALL baseball you are still eligible for any of the summer programs, including PONY and LTA Seniors.

NOTE: 12 year olds who play on a summer big diamond team are not allowed to play in 11-12 Districts by Little League rule.

The fee is $200 for players aged 12 to 16, and $250 for players aged 16 to 21 selected to the LTA Seniors team. 

Summer Tryout Schedule

EVERYONE who wants to play in the summer WILL have an appropriate team to play on: NO ONE will be left sitting at home if they want to play. But we have tryouts to help us pick the summer teams.

Summer tryouts will be held Sunday May 21st 1:00pm and Wednesday May 24th 6:00pm, both days at Grogans, 50 Baldwin St. Please arrive at the field 15 minutes before to sign in and warm up.

·  Players aged 12 to 15 wanting to play summer big diamond baseball must come to ONE of these tryouts, or present an excuse acceptable to the Board of Directors.

·  You only need to come to ONE tryout, not both.

·  If you cannot make tryouts you must contact Jeff Buxton at umparama@gmail.com or you will not be placed on a more competitive PONY team.

·  If you don’t register by May 30, you will not be placed on a competitive PONY team. Just coming to tryouts is NOT enough. If payment is an issue please contact us. We will also send a reminder email after tryouts.

·  Ages 16 and up:

o    If you played on the 16-19 Spring team for Mr. Buxton, you do not have to come to tryouts.

o    If you are 16 to 21 and wish to be considered for the LTA Seniors team, please contact Mr. Buxton at umparama@gmail.com for tryout information

2017 NALL Summer Teams

  • Suburban PONY is the most competitive division for ages 12 to 15. It starts 6/17, and playoffs end around 8/1.

  • Big Diamond Summer League (BDSL) is the next most competitive divisions for ages 12 to 16, starts 6/20 and playoffs end around 8/7 or so.

  • Lou Thomkins All-Star (LTA) Seniors is for competitive players aged 16 to 21. It starts 6/14, plays on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, and playoffs end 8/7. There is substantial travel involved.

All teams travel to surrounding towns and play both on weekdays and some weekends (usually Sunday).There are usually 3 events per week, sometimes 4.

Rosters are larger than in spring to accommodate vacations, and we often use double-rostering to help with this as well.

The exact teams will depend on the ages and skill of players available, but these are the teams possible, and who plays on them:

1.PONY-13 - most skilled 13s (and 12 year old 7th graders who choose big diamond).

2.PONY 14-15 - most skilled 14s and 15s, and 13 year old 8th graders.

3.BDSL 13-14 - next-most skilled 13s, 14s, and 12s who choose big diamond.

4.BDSL 13-15 - those 14s, 15s, and 13 year old 8th graders who don’t make PONY 14-15 or BDSL 14-16.

5.BDSL 14-16 - next most skilled 14s and 15s, and 13 year old 8th graders, and 16 year olds who don’t make LTA Seniors.

6.LTA Seniors - most skilled 16 to 21 year olds and 15 year old 10th graders.

All teams get the same quality uniforms and equipment and have the same expectations: managers will put development first and winning a very close second. Summer ball is competitive ball at all levels. All that changes is the skill of the players, and the league's playing rules.

PONY and LTA are the most competitive: only 9 or 10 players bat in the lineup at a time, and there is no guarantee of playing time.

BDSL is more like spring; everyone on the roster bats, there is free defensive substitution, and all players get substantially equal playing time. 

Double-rostering is used in the summer to help teams avoid forfeits and manage vacation times.  In 2014 we managed to have 4 teams with only 40 players and didn’t forfeit a game, thanks to some creative scheduling and rostering.

It’s not required you be rostered to more than one team, but there is no extra charge, so it's FREE extra baseball for your child to play and get better. For example, a 14 year old could be quad-rostered to BDSL 14-16, BDSL 13-14, BDSL 13-15, and PONY 14-15 if they wanted to be, and some have. 

Summer Managers and Coaches

Applications to manage or coach a summer team are now being accepted. Please email 13-19 Commissioner Jeff Buxton immediately at umparama@gmail.com if you want to be considered. Teams are picked before managers, so the level you will manage at is determined by the placement of your child.

Summer Baseball – and why it’s DIFFERENT than Spring

  • Please understand that summer baseball is a little different than spring baseball. Let me explain why, and how.
  • Yes, everyone who wants to play will have a team to play for, but in the summer we divide up the players by age and skill a little differently, and we offer different competitive levels of baseball. Our goal is each player is at an appropriate level of competition for their age and skills. We believe that's best for their development as player and a person.
  • To pick the teams, NALL has a Summer Player Selection Committee consisting of the Player Agent (Joe Monahan), the 13-19 VP (Adam Lawrence), 13-19 Commissioner (Jeff Buxton), and other carefully-selected members of the NALL Board of Directors, managers, umpires, coaches, and other independent baseball experts who know the players and their abilities.
  • The Player Selection Committee will try to announce the teams before May 30th.
  • Let’s be honest: when that announcement is made, you may be disappointed with the team the Committee chose for you. Please understand we put a great deal of time and effort into proper placement of each player. We consider all factors, not just the strength of a particular team. We consider not only the makeup of the roster and the need for players at each position, especially pitchers and catchers, but we also factor in each player’s individual developmental needs. It doesn’t do your child any good to make a higher-level team and sit on the bench all summer, or not get to pitch when he's primarily a pitcher.
  • We use all  the data we have: not just the tryouts; we use evaluations from managers, spring evaluations, evaluations from umpires, and any other objective data we can get our hands on. No decision is made lightly. All decisions are made with careful consideration for what is best for each player individually.
  • BDSL is still good baseball, and if that’s the most appropriate place for your child, make the most of it. Many BDSL players make high school teams later: 6 of the 11 Seniors on the 2011 NAHS Varsity played at least a year in BDSL. A BDSL player made Central Catholic Varsity the next spring because he was placed in BDSL. He told me straight up if he played PONY he never would have made Varsity. 
  • It is also important know managers are not picked before teams. Managers are picked when we place the player at the right level, and then we select a manager from the candidates on that team. 
  • Rest assured there is no ‘politics’ in the way the teams are selected. The player’s last name or whether their parent is on the Board of Directors has zero bearing on what team they make. Zero. We really mean that.
  •  I promise you we take that very seriously. Presidents never sit on the Committee when their kid is a candidate for a PONY or LTA team. I’ve even seen an Board Member insist someone else’s kid be picked over his for the PONY team. Dinner conversation at his house that night was probably a wee bit strained, but it was the right thing to do. Please trust that we are all trying to do the right thing for everyone.
  • In all honesty, willingness to manage or coach a summer team may affect the player selection if the player is “on the bubble”. But, remember, we pick the managers after the players. We’ve had managers choose for their kid to play at a lower level in order to give that team a well-qualified manager, and never the other way around.
  • Is it possible the player selection committee could make a mistake or two in placing a player ? Yes, because that happens; we are imperfect people working with imperfect data. Will we address these mistakes if we can ? Yes, because we have always done so in the past.


Adam Lawrence

Jeff Buxton