[quote=“jmcamjr”]I’m a manager of a Little League “minors” team ages 8-11. Today we faced a 10 year old that pitched so fast not only was it completely unfair, our kids literally couldn’t get the bat around fast enough to hit the ball off him. This completely defeated the purpose of a “developmental” league, while posing a safety risk to our players. Player’s parents have approached me with their concerns of safety issues to the point of refusing to have their child bat against him. The other managers in the league agree that he is too good/fast to pitch in this age group, but our Majors league is full, and cannot accept another player. At least that’s what I’m told.
I didn’t clock this 10 year old, but I would guess he’s pitching 60+mph. His team of course is undefeated, and his manager has no qualms about mowing down the opposition to secure a win. Even prior to facing this apparent phenom, our team was recently plagued with batters being afraid of the ball, and we are coaching them hard to stay in the box. We had players, the younger ones, nearly in tears, terrified to face this kid. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the first Dad to tell my kid to stand in there, to take it, but this is a different matter all together.[/quote]
Wow! I’ve been there, except at the other end of the spectrum, and the age was 12, not 10. At 10, my son played Majors. He was the 1st pick in the draft, pitched three innings in the All star game, and batted 4th.
At 12, the league petitioned Williamsport to throw him out of the league for the reasons you stated. Kids who crowded the plate would get their hands fractured or broken, younger kids - mainly 10-year olds playing up to appease their parents - would duck into the ball goinf over the plate. A kid got a concussion from doing that. Williamsport’s response was that he was 12 years old, lived within the District, and did nothing wrong. The umpires swore an affidavate that the pitches that hurt the other boys were strikes, and the pitches were not wild. Williamsport ruled that he must play if he wants to.
Some compromises were reached: my son would only throw change ups. This gave some competitive balance. Our local Little League added some rules that allowed a player not to bat against him if they were scared, and that the league must provide elbow, knee and head-guard protection to any kid who asked.
Lessons learned – The kid needs to be in the Majors. My son is still haunted by his experience as a 12-year-old . . . adults rushing out to the mound swearing up and down for his removal; his friend laying on the ground from a concussion from being hit by a pitch - a pitch that was called a strike but his friend was soo scred he ducked into the pitch; three players leaving a tournament game from being hit on the hands - on strikes thrown on the inside part of the plate. He doesn’t pound the inside part of the plate anymore. If he hits someone now, all he thinks about is not hitting the next guy, and not wanting to hurt anyone.
The parent of this child needs to know the potential consequences of what goes on in a kids mind if he does accidently hurt another player. And sport psychologists to get over this are not cheap!
This child has every right to play in the Minors, and the parents need to support him. These kids don’t come often. But, just because he has the right doesn’t mean it is the best thing for him. In retrospect, I would have moved him up to 14U when he was 12. Now that he’s 14, he’s playing 16U and enjoying the game much more.
No. Don’t put the pressure on the child. Reason with the parents and explain what the child could go through if he gives a friend a concussion. I’ve been there. There’s nothing the parent can say when another child is laying on the ground, out cold, and your child is on the mound crying. It doesn’t matter if the pitch was a strike and the batter was at fault. Everyone will blame the pitcher. And the pitcher will carry the demon.