In spring, HVAA Travel Baseball teams compete in the Suburban Travel Baseball League, STBL. We have teams in the following age groups: 8U, 9U, 10U, 11U, and 12U teams. This league runs concurrently with the in-house program in spring. All travel players are expected to play in HVAA's in-house league as well.
This highly competitive STBL league pulls from organizations throughout the Bucks and Montgomery county area. The league also includes playoffs in early June. From there, many members of these teams compete in their respective Cal RIpken or Little League district tournaments, depending on their national affiliation. Here at HVAA, we are affiliated with Cal Ripken, so some teams may enter the Cal Ripken districts in mid-June.
The age cut-off for Travel Baseball is May 1st. For example, to play on the 8U team, you must be 8 or younger BEFORE May 1st of that year. You can, however, turn 9 AFTER May 1, and still play 8U. This example holds true for each age group. Typically, a player competes in their proper age group and will not "play up."
The Suburban Travel Baseball League (“STBL”). STBL teams must have specific boundaries that conform to the boundaries as approved by their national affiliation. No team shall be permitted to enter the STBL without specified boundaries and every organization playing in the STBL must have a National Affiliation that designates reasonable geographical boundaries for the age groups that are competing. Rostered players must reside, i.e., their permanent residence must be in, the defined territory of the organization.
If HVAA has a 13U competitive team or higher, they will play in American Legion or elsewhere as the coach deem fits.
Travel Baseball is a great program for players who want to compete at a higher level. Indoor workouts begin in January and move outdoors come spring. Only those players serious enough to make the commitment should consider trying out for a team. Travel Baseball requires a greater amount of time for both the parents and players and requires a greater financial commitment as well.
The league is committed to improving the skills of all players to their maximum capability. The league also makes the commitment to the players that they will play as long as the player/parent lives up to the expectations stated by the coaches at the beginning of the season (attending practices, proper attitude, on time for games and practices…) Playing time, and how it is distributed, is decided by the head coach. Playing time is not guaranteed to be fair and equal to all players. Travel teams participate in tournaments throughout the year as deemed fit by the coach.
In addition, circumstances occur that cannot always be anticipated from game to game. For example, games are sometimes shortened due to inclement weather, the mercy rule, or teams being short players. In these circumstances, the parents and players must understand that these situations may occur on occasion and could impact the amount of play received by each player.
Although it is the intention of the teams to play an emphasis on “winning games”, “winning at all costs” is not an organization mandate. The philosophy is to build championship-caliber players, not necessarily championship teams. The goal for each coach is player development and advancing their skills, to build confidence in order to take the field and be able to play against any team. Because of the attempts and efforts to win games, all players are not guaranteed equal playing time or playing certain positions. The coaches will assign the players’ positions and roles that are best-suited for player success and place the team in the best position to win games. Player positions and playing time will be allocated by the coach.
All players that make a team are required to play during the spring season. This season is mandatory if the player decides to play travel baseball. The season runs from approximately mid-March through mid-June. Our teams also begin winter workouts indoors at local baseball facilities. During the spring season, teams play approximately 2 games per weekend, Friday evening and Sunday afternoon. Our organization makes every effort to designate one practice day per week for each travel team. Players in the 8U – 12U teams will also be expected to participate in the in-house Cal Ripken league, as mandated by HVAA to allow for participation in the Cal Ripken District Tournament. Players may have 2 games per week, or 1 practice and 1 game per week for their in-house commitment and running concurrently to the travel baseball season.
Approximately one-half of the games are played at our home fields. Games are generally played on Friday night (6 pm) and Sunday afternoons (between 1-6 pm), from early April through mid-June.
Approximately half of the games are away. The approximate number of games played for the season depends on the age of the player and the league entered, as follows:
Additional games may be included as part of pre-season scrimmages and post-season playoffs.
Coaches may require players to arrive at least 1 hour prior to the game for proper warm-ups and game preparation.
Once a player makes the travel team, he or she cannot be removed from that team until the following year’s tryouts; however, extenuating circumstances may arise - reasons such as poor behavior on the part of the player or parent could facilitate the removal of the player, as an example. In contrast, should a shortage of players occur, the coach, with approval by the Baseball Director, is permitted to add additional players to the roster without holding a formal tryout session.
Tryouts are held in late fall, and usually in September. Tryouts are advertised on our website and communicated on social media and through email blasts. Evaluation forms will be used to assist with gauging the skills of all players, focused on the core areas of hitting, fielding, throwing, and base running, as well as specialty areas such as pitching and catching.