Overview and Age Groups
The mission of Bay State Baseball is to bring together youth all-star teams from cities and towns within Massachusetts, regardless of affiliation, for highly-competitive summer baseball and ultimately, a single champion (per age group). The teams complete for the coveted Tournament of Champions trophy.
Bay State Baseball is a program of service to youth. It strives to establish the values of teamwork, sportsmanship and fair play in a highly competitive and demanding schedule of summer baseball games for boys and girls of 'Little League' age.
Bay State Baseball is a hybrid 7-week tournament/league, divided into 4 divisions based on age level
Play typically begins late June and finishes in early-mid August. The A, B, C and D divisions are multi-round mini-tournaments in which the commissioners re-balance the competition after each round. Teams accumulate points throughout the season for the opportunity to play in the final Tournament of Champions. The final weekend of baseball is a festive occasion that usually includes skills competitions, cookouts and great baseball.
Bay State Baseball is travel baseball. Teams typically play 3-4 games per week – one home weekday, one away weekday and 1-2 weekend games (A, B, C and D divisions only). To introduce the boys and girls to tournament baseball, many weekend games are at neutral sites with upwards of 25-30 games throughout the day.
Bay State Baseball Tournament of Champions played its first formal game in 1983.
The planning for the league actually started at the end of the 1981 season when a group of six men representing five cities and towns -- Brookline, Burlington, Cambridge, Framingham and Sudbury -- who traditionally held summer tournaments and who participated in the Little League tournaments decided to combine forces. The group decided to work towards a long-range plan to accommodate players that wanted to play intense summer ball between June and August, and to accommodate parents that wanted a workable, predictable summer vacation schedule.
For two years, the men -- Dick Garber (Brookline), Don McGowan (Burlington), David Kale (Cambridge), Herb Levine (Framingham), Ralph Fusco (Framingham) and Don Soule (Sudbury) – developed standardized playing rules and guidelines regarding rosters, schedule format, pitching rules, playoff format and more. Final agreements were reached just before the 1983 spring season and the Bay State Tournament of Champions was born!
The first year, the six men were able to attract 16 Boston-area participants in the 10-12 year old Little League age group. In that inaugural season, because the rules had been drawn smartly to allow balanced competition and mid-tournament re-shuffling of schedules, 9 of the 16 teams won trophies. Quickly, the reputation of Bay State Baseball grew and more teams signed up. The organizers decided to cap the league at 32 teams.
In 1985, the league was expanded into two divisions – A and B. The teams would place their top teams in the A division and their second teams in the B division. The C division was added a year later to accommodate 10 year old players. Within 4 years, all three divisions had reached its limit of 32 teams.
In 2004, by popular demand, the 32-team per division limit was rescinded.
In 2007, to address the imbalance created in the B division, the age groups were modified to more closely match the Little League structure – the A division was for 11-12 year olds and the B division was for 10-11 year olds and the C division was for 9-10 year olds.
Bay State Baseball added a new level of play in 2011, an intermediate division for 11 and 12-year olds entitled the "50/70 Division". This division encompassed a 50-foot pitching distance, 70-foot base paths and full baseball rules. For six years we had two separate A divisions (46/60 -- 50/70). In 2017 both merged into one A Division, 50/70 only. The newly-created division has grown in each successive season following its implementation and is expected to continue that growth in the future.
In 2014, the D division was created for 9-year old players. It would play a shortened single-round schedule with patched umpires and playoffs. The new D-division was established to allow 9-year olds to represent their home communities in a travel league, and to provide a competitive, yet instructive, introduction to Bay State Baseball.